Enhance the flavor and presentation of soups with a garnish. Edible and appetizing garnishes provide color, texture and flavor, and can transform any soup into a gourmet delight. Depending on the type of soup, you can decorate it with a variety of simple and exotic garnishes.
Cut wafer-thin slices of vegetables such as cucumber, tomato or onion. Place a few sprigs of herbs such as mint, basil, parsley or coriander over the cut slice. Set this garnish in the center of a bowl of thick, pureed or cream soup such as carrot, tomato and celery. Thick soups can handle the weight of heavier garnishes.
Set aside a few vegetables and roast while preparing pureed vegetable soup. Garnish the soup with the roasted vegetables. Roasted vegetables accentuate the flavor of the soup and provide a contrast to the texture. You can also provide a texture contrast with a chickpea garnish. Roast 1 tsp. of boiled chickpeas for 5 minutes in the oven, or until they attain a crunchy texture. Sprinkle in the center of a creamy pureed soup.
Layer your garnishes to add more flavor and color. Place dried apple chips over a bread crouton. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. fresh chives or dill over it. Set atop a bowl of sweet vegetable or root vegetable soups.
Create a white-colored design over a carrot or tomato soup by drizzling some heavy cream. Top with a thin toasted bread slice or a fried dumpling.
Use light garnishes for thin soups. Cut extremely thin and long strips of chives and set finely shredded herbs over them. Place in a bowl of thin soup such as clear chicken or vegetable soup. Peel cucumbers, beets and carrots to create colorful, delicate ribbons or cigar-shaped garnishes.
Use fried savories to garnish clear soups. Lightly fry or bake tortilla strips, Chinese noodles or bread squares and sprinkle over clear soups.
Lightly toast a few sheets of seaweed such as nori in the oven for 2 minutes. Crush and sprinkle over clear vegetable or meat soup for a crunchy and flavorful accent.
Create artistic garnish designs by arranging finely sliced vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and radish in the shape of flowers or other designs.
Avoid including too many different colors or items in your garnish. This can draw the focus away from your soup.