Culinary Terms

Culinary Terms

Here you will find an in-depth description of popular culinary terms. Refer to this page if you are unsure of what a certain term means.

Culinary Terms

A La Carte: Menu in which items and beverages are priced individually

A Point: French term for cooking until the ideal degree of doneness. When referred to meat, it means medium rare.

Aerate: To incorporate air into a mixture by sifting or mixing.

Al Dente: Italian term meaning “to the tooth”. Used to describe mainly pasta that is cooked until a slight resistance when bitten into.

Albumen: Primary protein found in egg whites.

Allemande: Sauce made by adding lemon juice and liason to veloute made from veal stock.

Au gratin: Food cooked with a browned or crusted top, often made with bread crumbs, cheese and/or sauce topping and cooked under a salamander/broiler.

Au Jus: Roasted meat, poultry or game served with their natural unthickened juices.

Bain Marie: Hot water bath used to gently cook food or keep food hot. Container for holding food in a hot water bath.

Ballontine: Boneless poultry leg stuffed with forcemeat and gently roasted/braised, traditionally shaped into a ball.

Barding: Tying thin slices of fat such as pork or bacon, over meats or poultry that have little fat to help keep moist.

Baste: To moisten foods using their natural juices periodically during cooking.

Blanching: To briefly submerge in simmering water, boiling water, or fat to assist in preparation of foods. Example: Tomato concassee.

Bouquet Garni: Fresh herbs and vegetables tied into a cheesecloth bundle and used to flavor sauces, soups, stocks, stews.

Brochette: Skewered hors d’oeuvres using meats, fish, shellfish, vegetables and grilled or broiled.

China cap/Chinois: A conical shaped strainer.

Concassee: Peeled, seeded and diced tomato

Deglaze: To swirl or stir in a liquid into a hot pan to lift away caramelized food particles.

Degrease: To remove fat from the surface of a liquid such as a stock or sauce by skimming the surface.

Dredging: To coat a food item in flour or ground crumbs prior to frying or sauteing.

Dress: To trim or clean an animal for cooking

FIFO: First In First Out. Inventory management system

Fillet: Removing the side of fish intact while removing all bones.

Flambe: Food flamed by use of alcohol for flavor.

Frenching: Trimming racks of rib or poultry so the bone is cleaned and prominent.

Glace de viande: Dark, syrupy meat glaze made by reducing beef stock.

Jacquarding: The process of poking holes into the muscle of meat in order to tenderize.

Jus lie: Can be called fond lie, sauce made by thickening brown stock using corn starch or similar starch.

Larding: Inserting thin slices of fat directly into meat product to infuse moisture.

Mince: To cut into very small pieces where uniformity or shape is not important.

Mise en Place: Meaning “Everything in place”, refers to the preparation and organization of ingredients and equipment.

Nappe: A certain consistency in liquid that coats the back of a spoon.

Needling: Injecting fat or flavors into an ingredient to enhance moisture or flavor.

Oignon Brule: French for burnt onion, made by charring onion halves. Used to flavor and color stocks & sauces.

Oignon Pique: Studding an onion with a bay leaf and cloves. Used in bechamel sauce.

Parboiling: To partial cook a food in simmering/boiling water. Similar to blanching, but cooked for longer.

Parcooking: Partially cooking food by any cooking method.

Paupiette: Thin slice of meat, poultry or fish spread with savory stuffing and rolled and braised or poached.

Professional Cooking: System of cooking that appreciates the proper techniques of ingredients and knowledge.

Raft: Crust formed during production of consomme.

Remouillage: The process of reusing bones for a second stock. French meaning “rewetting”.

Render: To transform solid fat into liquid form by use of heat.

Refreshing: Submerging a hot food item in cold water to quickly stop the cooking process. Also known as an icebath.

Ricer: Sievelike tool used to force soft foods through to evenly breakup the product, such as potatoes.

Rondeau: Shallow, wide, straight-sided pot with loop handles.

Roulade: Slic eof meat, poultry or fish rolled around a stuffing.

Sachet: Containing herbs and spices used to flavor stocks, soups and sauces. Easily removable.

Sauteuse: Basic sauteing pan with sloped sides and single long handle.

Sautoir: A variation of a saute pan with straight sides and long handle.

Savoury: Spied or seasoned foods, opposed to sweet.

Scald: To heat a liquid, usually milk to just below boiling.

Sear: Brown food quickly over high heat, done as a preparatory step for further methods such as braising or roasting.

Silverskin: Tough connective tissue that surrounds certain muscles.

Staling: Known as starch retrogradation, change in moisture within starch that causes products to turn firm, drier and more crumbly.

Steep: Soaking food in a hot liquid in order to extract flavor or remove impurities.

Sweat: To cook food in a pan, usually covered, without browning over low heat to encourage flavors to be extracted from vegetables and spices.

Sweetbreads: Thymus gland of calf or lamb.

Tempering: To slowly add hot liquid to eggs while stirring vigorously to slowly bring mixture up to temperature without curdling the eggs.

Tourner: To shape vegetables while peeling. Procedure is to peel, then shape.

Truss: Tying whole poultry or meat to encourage even cooking.

Water Bath: See Bain Marie

Whetstone: A special dense, grained stone used to sharpen or hone knives.

Zushi: The seasoned rice used in preparing sushi.

 

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