This article originally appeared as part of the story Gather & Garnish in the March 2019 issue.
Just about anything looks and tastes better with a garnish—even a made-from-scratch soup that’s pulled out of the freezer for the kids. Personal chef Alyssa Shultis frequently uses toppings to elevate a dish on the fly.
Shultis always has almonds, walnuts and pepitas in the cabinet, and they’re easy to pull out and toast up on a whim. Almonds add smoky depth and crunch to entrees or soups—just slice, drizzle with olive oil and flaky sea salt, and toast. Keep an eye on them, though, because they’ll burn quickly!
Chop ’em and use ’em fresh. Herbs brighten up the flavor and add a layer of color to salads, sauces, soups or any entrée. Shultis especially loves cilantro, basil and mint—and has been known to keep a plant or two on a windowsill or in her garden to chop up last-minute.
“I love a freshly-shaved hard cheese that is surprising and atypical,” says Shultis, “like a buttery Comte or smoky gouda.”
Shultis often gravitates toward healthier, gluten-free recipes—but sometimes she’ll take home a beautiful loaf of sourdough, seeded multigrain or rye bread to make a quick, crunchy side—or to butter, crumble and toast as a topping.
Maldon sea salt
Whether it’s giving a little extra depth to the top of a decadent chocolate dessert or amping up a savory dish, “I put it on anything and everything,” Shultis says.