Cooking Techniques Dictionary: Chapter 1

Over the next few months we’ll be releasing a series of blogs identifying and explaining some of the cooking terms you are likely to encounter as you grow as a chef. From basic terms like ‘Bake‘ to more advanced terms like ‘Chiffonade‘, this list will help you improve your skills in the kitchen and follow recipes more closely. If there is a term you’d like us to define, let us know in the comments below!

Basic

Bake: To cook food in an oven, surrounded with dry heat; called roasting when applied to meat or poultry.

Blend: To thoroughly combine two or more ingredients, either by hand, with a whisk or spoon, or with a mixer.

Bone: To remove bones from poultry, meat, or fish.

Core: To remove the seeds or tough woody centers from fruits and vegetables.

Dollop: A spoonful of soft food such as whipped cream or mashed potatoes.

Grease: To rub the interior surface of a cooking dish or pan with shortening, oil, or butter to prevent food from sticking to it.

Knead: To blend dough together with hands or in a mixer to form a pliable mass.

Sauté or Panfry: To cook food in a small amount of fat or oil over relatively high heat.

Steam: To cook food on a rack or in a steamer set over boiling or simmering water in a covered pan.

Stir-fry: To quickly cook small pieces of food over high heat, stirring constantly.

 

Intermediate

Brown: To cook over high heat, usually on top of the stove, to brown food.

Dot: To scatter butter in bits over food.

Fillet: To cut the bones from a piece of fish.

Julienne: To cut into long, thin strips, matchstick-like in shape.

Purée: To mash or grind food until completely smooth, usually in a food processor, blender, sieve, or food mill.

Sear: To brown the surface of meat by quick-cooking over high heat to seal in the meat’s juices.

 

Advanced

Al Dente: Pasta cooked until just firm. “To the tooth,” in Italian.

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

Chiffonade: A preparation of finely sliced or shredded leafy vegetables or herbs.

Deglaze: To loosen brown bits from a pan by adding a liquid, then heating while stirring and scraping the pan.

Essence: A sauce made from a concentrated vegetable juice.

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

Macerate: To soak in a flavored liquid; usually refers to fruit.

Parboil: To partially cook by boiling. Usually done to prepare food for final cooking by another method.

Truss: To tie whole poultry with string or skewers so it will hold its shape during cooking.

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