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ChilliWorld Recipe Center - Food Preparation Terms
 
Au gratin
A topping of cheese and/or bread crumbs or a sauce over food that is browned under a broiler or baked in the oven.
 
Bais-slice
Refers to cutting meat or vegetables at a 45 degree angle. Often used for oriental recipes.
 
Blanch
Blanching is the act of dipping food in boiling water for a minute or so, then dipping immediately in cold water and draining. This procedure loosens skins on nuts such as almonds, or in fruits such as tomatoes and peaches, after which skins can be easily slipped off. Also, it destroys enzymes, and sets the color in vegetables to be frozen.
 
Bordelaise
A brown sauce served with red meats, made with red wine, shallots, beef broth and flour.
 
Butterfly
Shell prawns. Cut down center where the vein is found. Pull out vein and lay shrimp out flat. Stuff and pull tail back over. An essential process if you're using the larger beasts.
 
Clarify
To clarify butter simply melt it slowly in a pan then let it sit to separate. Skim off the foam that rises to the top, and gently pour the butter off of the milk solids, which will have settled to the bottom. You should get about about 6oz. of clarified butter when starting with 8oz. of butter. Clarified butter has two great advantages; it has a much higher higher smoke point, so you can cook with it at higher temperatures without it browning and burning and, secondly, it will keep longer in the refrigerator without going rancid.
 
Consommé
A clear strong flavored soup, made from well seasoned stock. Traditional test for a chef.
 
Dredge
To dredge is to coat with flour or fine bread crumbs by sprinkling or by rolling the food in them. Chilliflakes and spice rubs are often combined with the flour or breadcrumbs to make for instantly spiced flavours.
 
Escallop
Escallop is to bake food, usually a mixture with white sauce and topping of crumbs or crumbs and cheese, in a baking dish or casserole. The term originates from the practice of preparing food in this way and baking in a scallop shell.
 
Julienne
To cut foodstuffs, most frequently, vegetables, fruit or cheese into match stick shape and size, for perfection should be 1/8-inch-thick by 1 to 2-inches long (they are measured for your 3 stars!). Julienne of vegetables (carrot or red pepper) is often used as a garnish.
 
Larding
Inserting strips of fat into pieces of meat, so that the braised meat stays moist and juicy. Has declined in popularity in recent years but it remains a fact that fat often adds to the final flavour of a dish and aids cooking.
 
Purée
To make a thick smooth sauce out of solid foods. Traditionally by rubbing through a sieve or colander, more often by using a food processor or blender.
 
Render
To melt down solid fats to get a liquid oil.
 
Roux
A roux is the paste of melted fat and flour which is the basis of all cream sauces and gravies. It's an easy way to make a great sauce from those pan juices. Simply melt some butter, add roughly an equal amount of flour, shirring vigorously over a low heat. If black specks appear it has burned and you'll have to redo it over a lower heat. Once thickened you can add to your pan to make the sauce.
 
Scald
To scald is to either 1) to bring just to the simmering point, as milk, or; 2) to pour boiling water over, as in cleaning a pan.
 
Score
To make narrow slits or cuts in the outer surface of food with a sharp knife. This might be for decorative purposes only but more often is to allow seasonings to penetrate or even for the insertion of other ingredients such as slivers or whole cloves of garlic.
 
Shucking
Opening an oyster shell, don't even attempt it without a proper oyster knife and protect the other hand with a towel. Slip the knife between the top and bottom shell, twist the knife to break the hinge then slide the blade around the inside edge of the shell, prising the top and bottom shells apart. It's not as difficult as you might think but then again I'm nowhere near doing 24 oysters in under three minutes like these guys.
 
Zest
The outer portion of typically a citrus fruit, orange, lemon or lime. The zest is rich in fruit oils and often used as a seasoning or flavoring. It's best to use a zester, fruit peeler or grater, don't use the white part below the zest as this will be really bitter.
 
 
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