"Serve immediately"

82
17
Joined Jul 27, 2014
Over the last number of years I've read thousands of recipes, but have never figured out the purpose of adding these two words to the end.

Does anyone have insight on this? Thanks.
 

phatch

Moderator
Staff member
9,655
1,134
Joined Mar 29, 2002
The flavor is at it's peak. Don't miss it. This is especially true for stir fry dishes from the wok so you can enjoy the wok hei.
 
2,529
809
Joined Feb 8, 2009
I think if you compare a dish like Shrimp Scampi and Lasagna. One will say to serve right for the pan to the plate to the person. This dish will not get better as it stands and cooks longer or holding. Lasagna will be a dish that say's to let stand a bit before serving. This dish baked as a whole lasagna needs to cool a bit before slicing and have it stay together......That would be my take on the reason. In other dishes the food your cooking is at its best quality when cooked to the right temperature of doneness. Because some foods will continue to cook and raise in temp these foods should be served at the point of doneness or Serve immediately.......ChefBillyB
 
4,280
1,167
Joined Dec 18, 2010
Do an experiment. Cook a dish that says “serve immediately” but hold it for 30 or more minutes before eating. You’ll figure it out fast! But that said... some folks like leftovers so it may or may not be a good test. :)
 
1,341
865
Joined Mar 1, 2017
The takeaway here is not all dishes are necessarily "serve immediately" type dishes.

Steaks and roasts, for instance, should be held to let rest for a time depending on the size and thickness. Letting the meat rest prevents the meat from spilling its juices which could have significant benefits in both flavor and texture.

On the other hand, there are those dishes that usually taste better the next day. Some soups, certain sauces, especially tomato based soups and sauces, usually taste better the next day for two reasons: 1) the flavors have had a chance to "marry"; and 2) oxidation. I always made my pasta sauce at least a day in advance for precisely these reasons.

Like brianshaw brianshaw said, experiment with various dishes and see how the difference in holding vs "serve immediately" has on them.

Good luck. :)
 
82
17
Joined Jul 27, 2014
Thansk for the comments.

I see the rationale, but don't think it applies for most of the dishes where the admonition is written. Not only that, but for many dishes in which it would seem to make sense, e.g. in the case of stir fried food, the direction is left out. I cannot recall specific instances of Chinese stir fry recipes in which it is stated 'serve immediately', but suppose I could check.
 
452
203
Joined Oct 1, 2006
Hi aplomb,

I take your questioning of recipes as a step forward in your cooking. I guess that statement calls for an example...

Lets say you feel very confident about cooking boneless, skinless Chicken breast, for example, and you know how to make it juicy, and tasty every time! As you read a recipe, that uses Chicken breast, you think, "That doesn't sound right..." but you proceed to follow the directions, because you have never tried that recipe before. It turns out dry and you feel upset because you know how to make Chicken breasts that aren't dry!

Blindly following recipe directions ended for me decades ago. I'm a technique guy that will prepare the Chix using the method I know will give me the optimal piece of chicken and just incorporate the flavors from the recipe. I'm not well versed in Tunisian cooking but, if I were doing a Tunisian recipe for Chicken...

Anytime you make a food item that you think is about as perfect as it gets, remember what you did and replace the directions in a recipe with your confident knowledge.

It is a thought process that worked well for me and made cooking a lot more enjoyable. IMHO...
 
82
17
Joined Jul 27, 2014
Hi aplomb,

I take your questioning of recipes as a step forward in your cooking. I guess that statement calls for an example...

Lets say you feel very confident about cooking boneless, skinless Chicken breast, for example, and you know how to make it juicy, and tasty every time! As you read a recipe, that uses Chicken breast, you think, "That doesn't sound right..." but you proceed to follow the directions, because you have never tried that recipe before. It turns out dry and you feel upset because you know how to make Chicken breasts that aren't dry!

Blindly following recipe directions ended for me decades ago. I'm a technique guy that will prepare the Chix using the method I know will give me the optimal piece of chicken and just incorporate the flavors from the recipe. I'm not well versed in Tunisian cooking but, if I were doing a Tunisian recipe for Chicken...

Anytime you make a food item that you think is about as perfect as it gets, remember what you did and replace the directions in a recipe with your confident knowledge.

It is a thought process that worked well for me and made cooking a lot more enjoyable. IMHO...

Excellent observations and comments, thank you. Depending on experience, of course, I made it a practice of always precisely following a new recipe, but don't do it any more. I've also come to critically reviewing the style and structure of recipes (what this thread is about), as well as substance (what your comment is about). I also make useful notations to the recipe, when portions called for, against better judgment, don't make sense.

Lastly, even after giving the benefit of the doubt for something I have never made before, will occasionally read a recipe and conclude, "I don't want to eat that!" LOL

And as Jacque Pepin has been known to say, you will adapt/change a recipe to your liking and "make it your own."
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom