Tag Archives: chicken parmesan

Deconstructed v Non Deconstructed plating

One of the more interesting trends in food over the last decade or so (possibly longer), is the idea of a deconstructed meal.  In short, it involves taking all the resident components of a dish, say a chicken parmesan, and leaving one or more components separated.  In an effort to keep pushing boundaries, many top chefs began moving components of a meal from an aggregated whole, to separate components on the same, or even different plates.

Here’s an example of such a meal from the great people at The Seasonlist (www.TheSeasonalist.com/the-italian-job)

Chicken Parmesan with Lemon Fettuccini & Asparagus

And now, here’s a more traditional version we did late last year.

chicken parm

You’ll note the plating in the second pic generally incorporates all the items typically seen in a classic chicken parm dish appropriately.  Both meals plate up quite well.  The deconstructed meal also gives the host/chef an opportunity to draw equal attention to both key components of a classic chicken parm:  the chicken, and the accompanying pasta.

Here’s a clever one for a classic down south experience – the shrimp seafood boil.  First the constructed, and then the deconstructed version.


deconstructed shrimp boil

That first pic came from the lovely and skilled Kathy Marker over at “Hungry Again” (www.Hungry-Again.com/low-country-shrimp-boil).  Tell you what – I want an invitation to her next party!  I’ll say the same thing about the second pic, which comes to us from the equally lovely “DC Ladies.”  You can get a ton of great ideas at their site http://www.TheDCLadies.com with pics of this specific dish at the following link:  http://www.thedcladies.com/2013/05/20/deconstructed-shrimp-boil-skewers/

Done hors d’oeuvre style, it’s a nifty spin on the original deep south classic.  Of course, done THIS way, you can also adjust for the spiciness of the dish, in case you have guests with different heat tolerances, especially young kids. This dish also tends to adhere to a common serving point with food, in that the content of a well plated dish will have three like items plated.

Going to share one last deconstructed dish before calling it a day.  Serving up a classic spinach and sausage lasagna here from “Deliciously Declassified” (http://deliciouslydeclassified.com/2012/05/30/spinach-and-sausage-lasagna/).


Sometimes, a dish with this much color and ‘oomph’ just needs to sit by itself on a plate.  Also it’s done in the classic style of a full meal serving.

Going for hors d’oeuvre sizing once more, we have this version from “Glow Kitchen” (http://www.glowkitchen.com/2012/08/deconstructed-lasagna-hors-doeuvres/).

deconstructed lasagna

All of us that do quality home cooking should use some of these images as inspiration to play with your food…before plating it. 



Chicken Parmesan, Pesto Pasta, & Panna Cotta



Welcome back everyone, and Happy Friday! 

Today is another home cooked meal, and clearly with the holidays in full swing, it was time for some indulgent cooking.  What we have today on our menu is some homemade chicken parmesan served with basic pesto pasta (linguini, I think) and followed up with a great looking vanilla panna cotta.

The chicken parm recipe is one off the Food network site.  So it’s straight forward and full of flavor.  The pesto pasta?  Store bought pesto sauce (GASP!), thinned with a little of that great olive oil I have on hand (Ojai Olive Oil).  My GF and I don’t always have that extra time to whip up the side (pesto) completely from scratch, despite it being only a handful of ingredients.  We take the occasional short cut, and that’s totally cool!

Now, plating can be very simple and straight forward as seen in the pic below.  It’s colorful food, and the plate is filled with a delicious meal, and I’m sure it’s quite tasty.  But I think the presentation lacked a little something


So the GF and I decided to break out the biscuit cutter again.  We used it for the pasta.  The chicken was cut in thick slices, at a slight angle.  I wouldn’t call it “on the bias” just yet.  Our chicken crust was deliberately thinner than the recipe called for, as our goal was to keep the meal as light as possible while keeping to the spirit of the meal.  That’s why a bias cut wasn’t the best play. 

In the middle of the plate, we set up the biscuit cutter, and lay in some fantastic tasting pesto pasta.  Then we carefully fanned out the chicken across the pasta.  Throw in some chopped parsley for garnish, and you’re set. 

Our pic shows both an individual plate and a family-style plating with some mixed greens to finish soaking up the oil from the chicken.  The cherry tomatoes lent a ton of color to the plate, and served as an easy way to make the plate “pop.”

Dessert today features a homemade panna cotta, which I’ve shown before in another neat presentation.  I’ve wanted to show one of my versions of plating the dessert, but I think it’s best to start with one from the GF.  I made the panna cotta the day before from a basic interweb recipe, and you can see the vanilla bean flecks in the image below.


I took a couple of ramekins over to the GF’s place as she was having one of her college girlfriends over for a few days of sightseeing.  Thought it would be a good way to score some points with some of her friends.  ALWAYS a good idea, fellas!

She threw in a few berries, and a bit of contrast with the tiny mint leaf.  It’s gorgeous!  She wins!

The next pic is my own plating of a panna cotta.  If you’re going to do something like THIS, be sure to cover the panna cotta with some plastic wrap on the glass. This is a delicate dessert that can pick up flavors and odors from your fridge.  As soon as you’re poured it, get it cooling, and cover it so it remains a funk-free zone!

When I was ready to plate, I added some berries, and threw in a thin wedge of a peach for a little extra color.   It was definitely a delicious idea!


Thanks for stopping by to read!