All the best chefs in the world have their own unique style of doing things. From dicing an onion to roasting potatoes and making a popular sauce, there are always little nuances and tricks which set the pros aside from us amateurs. However, long before these masters found their own style, they were learning some of those basic techniques which are essential for countless dishes. Here are some of the big ones every cook should know:
Blanching Vegetables: This is a method of cooking veggies quickly in boiling water, then plunging them into ice cold water to halt the cooking process and lock in all that vibrant color. The trick to good blanching is using a lot of salty water in the first boiling pot. Use about one cup. If it smells like the ocean, that’s great. Don’t worry – it won’t taste like that!
To blanch, say, one pound of green beans to serve four, prepare a bowl of ice water, keep it near your cooker, and then bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add beans to the boiling water in small batches and cook them for three to four minutes. Then, using a slotted spoon, transfer them to the ice water bowl until all the beans are thoroughly cooked and cooled. Drain the beans, glaze with a little butter and olive oil, and dig in.
Sear a Steak: This is a method that happens in restaurants every day, all over the world. There’s a good reason for this, so try to bring it into your kitchen! If you know that your steak cooking game is a little below-par, you should start practicing using high heat under a pan. The pros sear their steaks in a heavy, scorching hot skillet over a high flame.
To serve two, you’ll need to start with about a pound of skirt steak. Slice it into sizes of your choice and cook them two at a time. Once they’re looking done, leave them for around 15 minutes to let the juices really soak through the meat. Then, slice the pieces again, this time against the grain, and serve in a good pan sauce. Searing may call for a good steak knife if your steaks have been coming out nearly black so far, so check out some reviews on a blog like Cut it Fine.
Dice an Onion: This is one of the basic steps in so many different recipes, so make sure you’re not stumped by it! After peeling the onion, halve it through the root and set the two halves flat-side down on a chopping board. Then, keeping the root end intact, make a series of cuts parallel to the root, roughly a quarter of an inch apart. After this, hold it by the root end, turn it ninety degrees, and make another series of cuts cross-hatching the cuts that you already made. You may not get it right the first time, but stick at it and soon you’ll be able to get those perfect little cubes on demand!
What is your favorite meal to cook at home? What are some of your cooking pro tips? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah
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