Assiette is a dish that showcases a particular ingredient or food product that has been prepared in different ways. The origin of the term assiette is taken from French, where it simply refers to a plate of food.
The purpose of an assiette is to present the diversity of textures, flavours, aromas, and appearances of one particular product. An assiette dish also demonstrates the creativity of a chef by allowing them to prepare the same food item in various ways.
Another way the term assiette is used in the culinary world is to refer to a type of ‘tasting plate’. For example, this could be a chef showcasing small versions of their best desserts of hor d’oeuvres.
What are some examples of an assiette?
An assiette will usually showcase the same ingredient or food product used in different ways. For example, you could take an apple and prepare it in various ways: as an ice cream, a baked apple, apple jelly, apple mouse, applesauce, or fried apple chips. The idea is to demonstrate the versatility of the ingredient being used as well as the creativity of the chef.
Assiette of strawberies
Another example is an assiette of strawberries. This one is taken from Chef Matthew Tomkinson, who uses strawberries to create a multi-elemental and dynamic dish. This strawberry assiette incorporates:
- Strawberry powder used to make a meringue,
- Strawberry jelly,
- Marshmallows made from strawberry puree,
- A macaroon made from strawberries,
- Strawberry conserve, and
- A light balsamic vinegar ice cream (this one with no strawberries!)
An assiette is also used to showcase the versatile ways you can cook and serve meats. With meats, an assiette can refer to using different parts of the same animal, each prepared using a different method. For example, assiette of lamb or assiette of chicken. This type of assiette of meat can be a fantastic way to showcase the versatility of secondary cuts of meat that are less popular.
Assiette of chicken
This assiette of chicken recipe, prepared by Michael Weldon, doesn’t use different chicken dishes but simply highlights the different parts of a chicken. To make the chicken assiette, he roasts chicken breasts, fries chicken thighs, and grills chicken skin. These different elements of the chicken are then combined together into a dish that highlights the different ways chicken can be used. Each element of the dish showcases the different flavours of chicken.
Assiette of pig’s head
For a more traditional savoury assiette, take a look at this assiette of pig’s head by Chef Justin North from Becasse. The recipe is made up of several tasty morsels, each demonstrating a different part of the pig’s head. Consider it a journey through the ingredient of pig’s head. This assiette of pig’s head uses the pig’s ear, cut into strips, battered, and fried. The pig’s tongue and ballottine of pig’s head are both gently caramelised. The dish is garnished with pear and savoy cabbage puree and a pork jus made from pig’s cheek. The end result is an assiette that features the pig’s tongue, cheek, ear, and ballottine of pig’s head.
Other types of assiette dishes
An assiette doesn’t always have to use the one ingredient in different ways. It can also refer to a plate of similar ingredients. For example an assiette of shellfish or an assiette of crudités. Here, the term is simply referring to a plate that combines various ingredients that fall under the same umbrella of food products.