Food Gold: Seven Tips For Instant Game Upping

Posted on May 24th, 2011 in Uncategorized by Elliot Aronow

Going to go a different route this week and provide you, our loyal readers, with a somewhat random (but nonetheless very useful) list of cooking tips I’ve picked up over the last year. The idea is to arm you with the knowledge to step up any dish you are preparing, and bring a bit more of technical edge to your cooking. We will be back next week with yet another swagged out recipe but for now, enjoy those notes from the field. And feel free to add your own in the comments!

Elliot’s 7 Tips For Game Upping

1. Don’t add any salt to vegetables you want browned until after they are carmelized/browned in the pan.  The reason is that salt draws moisture out of food to the top, and you want the surfaces of your veggies to be as dry as possible when you are browning food. Dry food = brown food = delicious.

2. Bring all meats to room temperature before cooking. Not only does this ensure the protein will cook more evenly, it also prevents the meat from getting “shocked” on the grill and contracting too quickly.

3. Always, always, always season the hell out of your pasta water. It should taste like the ocean. If you skimp on the salt, your pasta will be bland. And while you are at it, try to “reserve” a few ladles of that starchy pasta water for your sauce. It will give it a wonderful body and help emulsify everything.

4. There’s no reason you can’t combine two kinds of acids when making dressings/sauces. Champagne vinegar + lemon juice? Sure. Red wine vinegar + balsamic? Go for it. Orange juice + rice wine vinegar? Why not? Get creative, you will be surprised how many delicious combinations you can unlock.

5. Be sure to think about the relationship between the size of the food and how powerful it tastes in the raw. Raw red onions are delicious when finely diced, not so much when they are served in big chunks. Ditto for bitter herbs like parsley.

6. For slow and low roasts like pork shoulders or lamb shanks, cook your dish in a slow (200 degree) oven, instead of over a very dim burner on the stove. This creates a much more even cooking environment and allows you to control your temperature even more.

7. Don’t mess with a steak once it is on the grill. Just let it chill, then turn it over. That’s the only way to get a beautiful crust.

That’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed!

Elliot

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