Five Foodie Facts Worth Knowing
5. From Grill to Broiler –As a Manhattan dweller I’m always disappointed I can’t grill a good steak on a hot summer’s night, but I’ve started taking serious advantage of my broiler. Think of the broiler as an inverted grill – steaks, pork, or chicken will take about 10 minutes to cook, and of course you can always use the broiler to get a nice little crust on just about anything. But beware, don't ever leave a broiler unattended or prepare for a serious singe.
4. Salting Your Food – If you are a fan of Top Chef, Iron Chef, The Taste like myself (what’s up reality TV!), you will be familiar with how often the judges criticize the contestants for a lack of seasoning. Salt really does enhance flavors, but the trick is to learn the appropriate time to salt. For example if you add salt to vegetables before throwing them in the pan, the sodium will draw out the water from the vegetables and the veggies will steam. If you want a good caramelization on your vegetables, leave salting until the end.
As for meat, apparently there is a debate amongst chefs on the proper timing of salting meat (of course this also depends on the type of meat) but after a little bit of research and a lot of taste-testing, I believe that a whole chicken should get a sprinkle of kosher salt and should sit in the fridge for about 24 hours before roasting. As for steaks, allow your meat to get to room temperature and salt right before throwing on the heat.
3. Vinegar Enhances Flavors – Mr. Wylie Dufresne of wd-50 says, “Misting a scallop, a piece of fish, or even a salad really helps brighten and balance all the flavors.” I’ve never tried this trick but I’m eager to try it out. Just make sure you don’t over-mist…
2. Cooking with Steel - If you’re cooking a thick piece of meat and find you are struggling to cook the inside without burning the exterior, puncture the meat with a stainless steel rod or nail. The steel acts as a heat conductor and will draw the heat inside.
1. Perfect Pasta Every Time – I’m sure you’ve been told to cook your pasta al dente (“to the bite”) but a tip to ensure you don’t overcook the pasta is to remove the pasta about a minute before the box indicates. Once you add your noodles in with your sauce, the sauce will finish the cooking process. But wait; don’t throw out all that starchy water!
Water down your pasta sauce using a little bit of that pasta water– the starch in the water creates a creamier flavor. This is a trick I’ve known since 12, and I swear it’s what makes my pasta dishes so successful (it’s also what makes Babbo’s pasta so successful according to Bill Buford’s Heat). Ah, the secret to having a mom in the pasta industry.