How do chefs get their meat so perfectly juicy and their pasta cooked to a turn? They get taught these 10 cooking tricks in culinary school – and now you can learn their secrets too!
1. How to get Juicy Meat Every Time
If you’ve had chicken or pork chops in a restaurant, you may have wondered how the chefs keep them moist and juicy. They brine the meat – it’s not just for turkeys. Soaking the meat in cold, salted water infuses it with a rich flavor and juicy texture before it’s even cooked.
2. How to Get the Perfect Steak
Do you take your meat out of the refrigerator and put it straight on the grill? That’s not how the chefs do it. They take the steak out and let it sit for an hour or so at room temperature before cooking it. Having the meat at room temperature before you start cooking means it will cook more evenly.
3. Learn to Season Properly
One of the first things students in culinary school learn is to be generous with the salt. Without it, food tastes bland. If you’re worried about over-salting your food, then season with salt continuously through the cooking process, tasting as you go, rather than salting heavily at the beginning or end of cooking.
4. Sugar can Make a Great Seasoning
Chefs learn that a few pinches of sugar in a dish with tomatoes can make all the difference. The sugar helps counteract the natural sourness of cooked tomatoes, and makes a sauce rich and flavorful.
5. How to Make a Perfect Burger Patty
Do your homemade burger patties puff up in the middle when you cook them? Try this chef’s trick: toss the patty down hard on your chopping board to force the air bubbles out of it. Then, press an indent into the center of the patty. This will create a nice, even burger that won’t bubble when you cook it.
6. How to Make a Clear Broth
Making a clear and tasty chicken broth involves a lot of patience, but it’s worth it. Cook your chicken meat and bones in just enough water to cover them, for at least three hours. Keep the heat low, and skim off any frothy scum that floats to the top. Don’t add the vegetables straight away, but wait until the chicken has simmered for an hour or two hours before adding them. If you want a super-clear broth, strain the liquid through cheesecloth at the end of cooking.
7. Make Good Use of Olive Oil
This liquid gold can be used in pasta dishes, pizzas, fish and meat dishes to provide a kick of flavor, and add a silky finish. Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil, and add a dollop to your cooking. Olive oil from different countries will have a different taste – Greek olive oil has a distinct taste, as does Italian. Experiment with a variety of oils.
8. How to Cook Perfectly Crusted Fish
You need heat to create that gorgeous crust on your fish. High temperatures will give you that sear that you’re looking for. Don’t overcrowd the pan, either. That will bring the temperature down and stop the fish from getting that golden crust.
9. Don’t Cook Meat or Fish With Nonstick Pans
If you’re cooking anything you may want a crust on, like meat or fish, ditch the nonstick pan. The nonstick coating acts as a barrier between the food and the heat, which prevents it from getting that golden crustiness. Keep your nonstick pan for making pancakes, eggs, or French toast.
10. Making the Tastiest Pasta
To get restaurant quality, beautifully flavored pasta, follow this tip. Before the pasta is fully cooked, transfer it to the sauce for the last couple of minutes of cooking. This helps the pasta absorb the flavor, and makes the sauce cling to it better. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the leftover pasta water until it reaches a smooth and silky texture.