Pro Cooking Techniques That Anyone Can Pull Off
There are some people who can cook just about anything if they have the right cookbook on hand or the right recipe to follow — and then there are other cooks who can simply walk into the kitchen, take a look at the ingredients that they have on hand, and think up (and execute) a delicious home-cooked meal. Regardless of which type of cook you are, your ability to make a meal from scratch relies on a repertoire of solid cooking techniques and knife skills. While most of those techniques are the necessary basics (like chopping, roasting, frying, and sautéing) it also helps to have a few more advanced cooking skills in your culinary arsenal.
Though some of the more advanced cooking techniques may sound fancy or inaccessible, you’ll be surprised to find out that they’re not really as difficult (or as complicated) as they seem. Even French techniques like chiffonade, for example, can be remarkably simple: just stack, roll, and slice leafy greens to produce long, thin ribbons perfect for salads and garnishes.
If you’ve got a good handle on the most basic skills in the kitchen (and you can bake, boil, fry, and grill foods like a pro), then it may be time to move on to some more advanced techniques. Learning how to flambé chicken or sweat vegetables, for example, can add a tremendous amount of flavor to dishes, and new knife skills (like cutting suprêmes from citrus fruits) will allow you to plate your food in a way that is elegant, refined, and professional-looking.
We’ve rounded up eight techniques that are perfect for cooks of any skill level who are ready to learn something new. Though these techniques are frequently used by the pros, they’re easy for anyone to pull off.
This cooking technique involves two simple steps. Just boil the fruit or vegetable that you want to blanch and then dip it in ice water to stop the cooking. This technique is perfect for softening produce slightly without eliminating its bright, vibrant color.
Braising is a technique that’s often applied to meats to tenderize them and intensify their flavors. Start by browning the meat over relatively high heat. Then, when it is colored on all sides, remove it from the pot, sauté a flavorful mirepoix, add a little liquid (and scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan), and then return the meat to the pan and let it cook, partially submerged, in the liquid.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.