Vocabulary

In my reading of the cookbooks, I came across terms/methods which LOOKED familiar but didn’t really make sense to me. So, I resolved to look them up! These are taken from CIA’s Culinary Boot Camp.

Basket method
A method for deep frying in which the food is placed in fryer baskets, which are then immersed in the fat. The preferred deep-frying method for breaded items and many small items such as french fries.

Blanch
To cook an item briefly in boiling water or hot fat before finishing or storing it. Blanched food is usually cooled, or “shocked”, immediately after cooking in an ice-water bath.

Braise
A cooking method in which the main item, usually meat, is seared in fat, then simmered in stock or another liquid in a covered vessel. The cooking liquid is then reduced and used as the basis of a sauce.

Broil
To cook by means of a radiant heat source placed above the food.

Caramelize
To cook an item until the sugars in it brown. The temperature range in which sugar caramelises is 320 F to 360F.

Parboil
To rapidly boil a food (usually a vegetable) to minimise cooking time and retain colour and texture. An item is never parboiled longer than 7 minutes. Parboiled vegetables are usually shocked in ice water and held to be finished before service.

Poach
To cook gently in simmering liquid that is 160F to 185F. Shallow poaching is gentle cooking in a shallow pan of simmering liquid. The liquid is often reduced and used for the sauce. Deep poaching is gentle cooking in which food is completely submerged.

Saute
To cook quickly in a small amount of fat in a pan on top of the stove.

Sear
To brown the surface of food in fat over high heat before finishing by another method (e.g. braising or roasting) in order to add flavour.

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