Creme fraiche is a naturally thickened cream with a tart and tangy flavor. Since heavy cream is pasteurized in the United States, it lacks the bacteria needed to produce creme fraiche. This can be remedied by combining 2 tbsp buttermilk per 1 cup heavy cream (if you can find 40% butterfat, that is even better) in a covered glass container and letting it sit in a warm place for 24 hours. Stir well and refrigerate.
A small dice is a 1/4 inch square. To obtain a small dice with irregular shaped vegetables, square them off a bit first to obtain a more stable cutting surface. Then make the 1/4 inch batonnet or thick matchstick shaped cut. Then line these up and cut into 1/4 inch squares.
A fish stock, or fumet, can be the basis for a myriad of soups and sauces, and is an essential ingredient for poaching fish. Usually fish carcasses are available from the butcher for little or nothing. Unlike other stocks, fish stock only requires cooking for one hour, any more and it would taste a bit too fishy. Also, avoid oily fish such as salmon and tuna. Be sure to remove all blood line and gills from the fish before using them for stock. It’s easiest to remove the gills, which are bright red and behind flaps on either side of the head, with a pair of sharp kitchen shears.
Yield 2 1/2 quarts
3 tbsp olive oil
6 pounds fish carcasses
3 small leeks white part only or 1 onion, medium dice
2 stalks celery, medium dice
2 carrots, peeled and medium dice
zest of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bottle dry white wine
3 tomatoes, chopped
1. Heat at least a 10 quart stock pot over medium heat.
2. Add olive oil, then add leeks, celery and carrot. Saute vegetables until they have a light color, about 10 minutes.
3. Deglaze pan with white wine. Add 4 quarts water and remaining ingredients.
4. Bring to a boil, but then turn down to a slow simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the top, for 30 minutes.
5. Strain through a fine chinois(china cap) and simmer again for 30 minutes.
Bouquet garni literally means “garnished bouquet” and is a classic French seasoning of parsley, thyme bay leaf and peppercorns. To make a bouquet garni, tie 3 sprigs of parsley, 2 sprigs of thyme, 1 bay leaf and 3-5 peppercorns in a 6 inch square of cheesecloth with butchers twine. If no cheesecloth or twine is available, you can use a coffee filter and unflavored unwaxed dental floss.
Roux-Roux is a mixture of flour and fat that is used to thicken soups and sauces. Roux is the French word for “red”, and originally referred to flour that had been cooked long enough to change color. A roux is made up of equal parts fat and flour by volume and its type sepends on how long it has been cooked. A white roux has only been cooked long enough to combine well, and a golden roux will take on a wheat color. A brown roux takes much longer and is a dark brown, toasted-hazelnut color. It is important when making a roux to use a thick-bottomed saucepan or saute pan with good heat distribution qualities, otherwise the starch granules in the roux may cook too quickly. When this happens, the roux loses much of its thickening ability, as the starch cells become unable to absorb substantial amounts of liquid. For this reason, the darker the roux, the less thickening ability it has, and the more you need. The predecessor of roux is a beurre manie, which is softened butter kneaded with flour. All roux-based sauces must be cooked until the cereal quality of the flour is no longer apparent.
Chiffonade in French literally means “made of rags”, and refers to a cut mainly used on leafy greens, such as basil, spinach and sorrel. The leaves are layered on top of one another and then rolled together and sliced as thinly as possible.
1 pound – chickens
1 to 1 1/8 pound -heavy chickens
1 1/4 pound -quarters
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pound -selects
2 pounds -dueces
2 to 2 1/4 pound – heavy selects
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pound – small jumbos
over 2 1/2 to 4 pound – jumbos
Drawn butter is different from clarified butter is a hot emulsion of the whey proteins and milk fat. The emulsion is stabilized by the liason of flour.
1/3 cup butter
11/2 cups hot water
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Melt one-half the butter, add flour with seasonings, and pour on gradually hot water. Boil five minutes, and add remaining butter in small pieces.
To understand beurre monte, you must first understand the composition of butter. Butter is an emulsification of 80% milk fat, 18% water and 2% milk solids. Heating butter above 160 degrees will cause it to “break” or separate into its different parts. A beurre monte is a way of keeping melted butter in an emulsified state between 180 and 190 degrees, which is sufficient to poach meats or vegetables. To make a beurre monte, bring a tablespoon of water to a boil in a saucepan. Bring the heat down to moderate and whisk in chunks of cold butter, one or two at a time. Once the emulsion is started, more butter may be whisked in faster. Hold beurre monte between 160 and 190 for poaching, and don’t boil or it will break.
Butter is an emulsion of milk solids, milk fat and water. When butter is heated, this emulsion breaks and the parts separate. When the temperature reaches 212F, or the boiling point of the water, the water begins to evaporate. The foam that rises to the top is comprised of the protein solids and salts. The foam is skimmed off and what is left is the milk fat. If the foam were left on, it would start to brown and would eventually burn after becoming buerre noisette, or brown butter, and then buerre noir, or black butter. Clarified butter is often used for sauteing because it does not sizzle and pop like whole butter, nor does it burn at a higher temperature. Many chefs also use clarified butter in hollandaise sauce and its derivatives, because the resulting sauce is more stable and holds its emulsification through a longer range of temperatures.
The process of adding liquid to a hot pan in order to collect the bits of food that stick to the pan during cooking. The liquid used to deglaze a pan may be stock, wine or even vinegar. The two most common types of cooking that would use deglazing are roasting and sautéing. The sauce that this produces is usually either a reduction sauce or a gravy.