This little dragon was carved by Morganna last night in the kitchen at Salaam, before our rush of customers came in for dinner. She started playing with her paring knife and a spinach leaf, and ended up essentially tooling it as one would do leather, in order to put the three-dimensional veins on the wings, although she admitted that when she first started working with the spinach, she didn’t have the dragon in mind.
Now, the truth is, I have never seen anyone tool spinach leaves. I am not saying that no one has ever made a garnish from tooled spinach leaves–I just have never seen it done before. And I think it was pretty cool, especially considering that Morganna swears up and down that she doesn’t have patience to make fiddly things like carved garnishes and isn’t into it. (Mind you, she makes tomato lotus blossoms all the time for garnishes at Salaam, and last night asked for me to show her how to make tomato roses, but she doesn’t consider making those to be particularly fiddly.)
For someone who isn’t into doing fiddly stuff, the spinach leaves are pretty fantastic.
After the first spinach leaf was done, she did another, and then decided to carve the dragon out of two thin diagonal slices of seeded cucumber. A paper-thin slice of red bell pepper became the flames and the eye (she cut a hole in the dragon’s face for the eye, and then the pepper showed through when she laid the bell pepper under it.)
A pair of chive leaves made the dragon’s horns, and completed the little carving.
I think it would make a beautiful presentation on a big square black platter with sushi on it–like a dragon roll, perhaps? Of course, we don’t do sushi at Salaam, so I am trying to figure out a context where we could use a pretty vegetable carving like this on one of our platters.
Maybe my readers can come up with an idea?
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