It`s useful to know some basic terms if you`re trying to follow a recipe in a cookbook, but they can be confusing. Here are the ones you need to know:
Au jus – To serve with the natural juices or gravy.
Blanch – To immerse fruits or nuts in boiling water to remove skins or make easy to peel; also, to dip fruits and vegetables in boiling water in preparation for canning, freezing or drying.
Braise – To brown meat or vegetables in small quantity of hot fat, then to cook slowly in small amount of liquid either in the oven or on top of the stove. Braising is an ideal way to prepare less-tender cuts of meat, firm fleshed fish and vegetables
Butterfly – To split a food such as shrimp, boneless lamb leg or pork chop, horizontally in half, cutting almost but not all the way through, then opening (like a book) to form a butterfly shape. Butterflying exposes more surface area so the food cooks evenly and more quickly.
Caramelize – To melt sugar slowly over very low heat until sugar is liquid, deep amber in color and caramel flavored.
Clarify – To clear a liquid, such as consomme, by adding slightly beaten egg white and egg shells; the beaten egg coagulates in the hot liquid and the particles which cause cloudiness adhere to it. The mixture is then strained.
Coddle – To cook slowly and gently in water just below the boiling point. Eggs are frequently coddled.
Dice – To cut food into small cubes of uniform size and shape, usually about 1/4 inch in size.
Flambe – To sprinkle with brandy or liqueur and ignite and serve flaming.
Glace – To coat with a thin sugar syrup cooked to the crack stage.
Julienne – Food cut into very thin strips.
Parboil – To boil until partially cooked.
Puree – To force vegetables, fruits and other foods through a fine sieve, food mill or ricer or blend in an electric blender or food processor to remove skins, seeds and so forth, and to produce a fine-textured substance.
Reconstitute – A procedure used for preparing dried foods, whereby the product is soaked in fresh water for a time.
Roux – A blend of flour and oil or butter used to thicken sauces and gravies. The fat and flour are mixed together in equal amounts over heat. If a white roux is desired, the melting and blending are done over low heat for a few minutes. If a brown roux is desired, the flour is cooked in the fat to the desired degree of brown.
Saute – To fry lightly until golden and tender in a small amount of hot fat on top of range, turning frequently. From the French word that means “to jump.”
Score – To cut narrow grooves or gashes part way through fat, in meats before cooking.; e.g., in steaks to prevent curling, or to cut diamond-shaped gashes through fat in ham just before glazing.
Sear – To cook at a very high temperature, either on top of range or in oven, for a short time in order to quickly form a brown crust on the outer surface of meat.
Simmer – To cook in a liquid that is kept just below the boiling point; bubbles form slowly and break below the surface.
Steep – To allow food, such as tea, to stand in hot liquid to extract flavor and/or color.
Sweat – To saute over low heat with a lid on. This method causes steam and expedites the cooking time.
Temper – To heat food gently before adding it to a hot mixture so it does not separate or curdle. Often eggs are tempered by mixing with a little hot liquid to raise their temperature before they are stirred into a hot sauce or soup.
Toss – To tumble ingredients lightly with a lifting motion, as in a salad.
Whip – To rapidly beat eggs, heavy cream, etc., in order to incorporate air and expand volume.
Whisk - To beat ingredients (such cream, eggs, salad dressings, sauces) with a fork or the looped wire utensil called a whisk so as to mix or blend, or incorporate air.
Zest – To remove the colored peel of a citrus fruit. Use a grater, zester or vegetable peeler to remove the outermost part, avoiding the bitter white pith underneath. The peel itself is often referred to as zest.Print or share this recipe using the icons above!