15 Cooking Tricks From Professional Chefs
Professional chefs keep all their cooking tricks a secret, sharing them only with their students. However, we managed to find out some drops of cooking wisdom.
1. The perfect steak
Don’t fry a piece of meat that you’ve just taken out of the fridge. Leave it for an hour or 2 before cooking to let it come up to room temperature. Now you’ll fry the meat evenly and get a great meal, regardless of how you like your steak done. If you want a beautiful brown crust on your steak, get rid of all the moisture in the meat before frying.
2. The juiciest meat
It takes time to fry chicken or pork properly, and you can dry them out very easily. To avoid this, many European chefs use a simple trick: they put the meat in a brine. It’s very easy to make a good brine: take 3 cups of water, and add ¼ cup of salt and ¼ cup of sugar. Pour the brine onto your meat so that the liquid covers it, and put the bowl in a fridge.
The time of brining depends on the thickness of the chops you have — approximately 1 hour for 1 kg of meat. Don’t leave it for more than 8 hours or less than half an hour. If you cook chicken wings, the brining time should be based on an average weight of 1 wing. Don’t forget to pat the chops dry before cooking.
3. Flavoring spices
To extract natural flavors and enhance the taste of the black pepper or cumin in your dish, toss them in a pan over medium heat, toasting them until they’re fragrant. After that, you can use a mortar and pestle to grind your spices. You can substitute ground black pepper with black peppercorns and crack the seeds. When you add it to your dish, you’ll get a much better aroma and flavor.
4. Light and airy dough
If you want to cook the perfect dough, follow this simple rule: take the butter and eggs out of the fridge the night before to let them come up to room temperature. You’ll thank us later.
5. Fish with a delicate crust
If you want to fry fish on a grill, spread some mayonnaise on it to get a tasty delicate crust. Take a pastry brush, dip the tip in the sauce, and lightly apply mayo to the fish. Add some salt, and then grill it. We guarantee you’ll get a perfect golden crust.
Use the minimum amount of spices on your fish. It’s better to use salt. When the fish is done, spritz it with lemon juice for the best result.
6. Cooking steak without oil
Alain Ducasse, one of the most famous chefs in the world, revealed his secret for cooking a great steak. The steak is placed on its edge because it renders the fat. Now you’re able to cook the steak in beef fat, plus it creates an appetizing crust on the edges. Thus you don’t need to use oil while cooking. It’s as simple as that.
7. Creamy mashed potatoes
Before turning boiled potatoes into mashed ones, you need to dry them properly. Just place them in a clean heated frying pan, and keep them there until the remains of water dry out. Don’t let the heat fry them. When the potatoes are dry, you’ll get the best creamy mashed potatoes.
A little secret: to avoid hot milk splashing you when you make mashed potatoes, smash some of them in a pan, and then add the milk.
8. Excellent cream soup
Right before you start cooking vegetable cream soup, fry all vegetables separately with olive oil. Then add some water or a broth. Frying will caramelize the sugar in the vegetables and enhance their flavor. The dish will be exquisite and tasty. The same trick can be applied to a vegetable stew.
9. The best pancakes
Regardless of the recipe you follow, always add 2 tablespoons of sour cream to the mix. This trick suits all kinds of pancakes well, and they turn out to be very tasty, fluffy, and free of cracks.
10. Sugar is not for sweetness
Sugar can be as good a seasoning as salt. Add a bit of sugar to a dish with pickled or fresh tomatoes or a tomato paste — the sugar will reduce their natural sourness and make any meal taste better.
11. The most difficult one: perfectly fried eggs
The 3 components of perfectly fried eggs are a thick-walled frying pan, butter, and minimum heat. Heat up the frying pan, and add 1/2 tablespoon of butter. It has to melt slowly, not reach a sizzle. Break the eggs, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add salt, and enjoy perfectly fried eggs.
12. Clear broth
A clear broth is the main component in many soups, sauces, and other dishes. To make a crystal clear broth, you need to cook a chicken on a low heat without a cover for at least 3 hours. Don’t let it boil, and remove the suds as they appear. After cooking it for 1.5 hours, you can add parsley, celery, carrots, and onions.
When cooking a beef or a lamb broth, you might want to roast root vegetables before adding them to your soup. Just cut them into halves, and put them in a heated frying pan without oil. Fry until a dark brown crust appears, and then add them to the broth. This trick will make the taste of your dish very rich.
13. Crispy bread сrust
If you bake at home, you might have faced difficulties with your crust: it’s either too pale or too thick. You can solve this problem quite easily by putting a bowl of water into your oven when you bake. The steam will do the magic, and you’ll get a good crispy bread crust.
14. Cook onions correctly
Use a medium heat for frying, and add both cooking oil and butter to the heated frying pan. Cut the onions, and fry them with some salt. The salt does 3 good things: it gets rid of the unpleasant onion smell, helps them cook quicker, and caramelizes to add a sweet flavor. You should only use butter for frying onions. If you want to avoid them darkening, use melted butter instead.
15. Don’t be afraid of garlic
Not only vampires are afraid of garlic! Its smell can ruin a business meeting or a romantic dinner. If you still love to eat it but don’t want to frighten away your date, don’t add garlic to the dish. Instead, you can apply some garlic juice to the plate. Thus you’ll avoid the unpleasant smell and enjoy your favorite flavor.
Bonus: Say no to nonstick pans!
Have you ever noticed that it’s quite hard to cook something with a crispy crust on a nonstick frying pan? The reason is the nonstick coating. Use this type of pan only for frying eggs and pancakes. But if you want your meat or fish to have a golden crust, buy a new frying pan without a nonstick coating. You’ll feel the difference.