Podcasts

Chablis Poached Salmon Rillette with Lemon and Tarragon

Rillettes are a great introduction into charcuterie because they're fairly easy to make and absolutely delicious. These salty-meat spreads are best described as a cross between confit and pate, and our one of my favorite ways to start a casual gathering or a multi-course tasting menu.

Traditionally, rillettes were made with pork. The tougher parts of the pig after slaughter would be cubed up, heavily salted and cured overnight, just like when making confit. The following day, the pork cubes are slowly simmered in rendered pork fat, pulverized into a paste with some of the cooking fat, placed into ramekins or glass jars and then sealed with a layer of fat across the top.

The layer of fat on top of the rillette will keep out oxygen and light, allowing it to "ripen" and cure, much like how duck confit is stored under it's own fat cap. Stored in the basement or cellar, these high calorie treats were eaten throughout the winter when fresh meat wasn't constantly available.

Now like most charcuterie techniques, rillettes live on in their many variations not out of necessity, but out of deliciousness. The traditional pork approach has given way to many modern variations that use any number of meats including rabbit, duck, chicken, game, and of course, fish.

In the video above, I demonstrate how to make a salmon rillette using white wine and butter. Because fish offers a lighter flavor and texture than pork or poultry, fish rillettes are a great way to start a light lunch or a multi-course tasting menu.

Further Resources

Reconstructed Chicken Breast Using Activa RM - (aka, Transglutaminase, Meat Glue)

In this video I demonstrate how to bind together two boneless, skinless chicken breasts using the transglutaminase enzyme. The resulting piece of meat is cohesive, easy to portion and will cook more evenly then a traditional chicken breast.

Transglutaminase, also commonly referred to as "meat glue," is a proprietary enzyme manufactured by Ajinomoto, an Japanese food additive company. The enzyme is packaged under the trade name "Activa" and comes in a few different forms, the most notable being Activa RM (which is used in this video) and Activa GS, which will be demonstrated in an upcoming video.

The major difference between RS and GS is the former is formulated for use in dry applications but deteriorates quickly at room temperature whereas the latter is more stable at room temperature but doesn't readily dissolve when it comes into contact with meat, so it is usually applied as a slurry.

Tranglutaminase is certainly an interesting s that deserves its own full length post and food science video, which is currently in the works. In the meantime, please check out the "External Links" section below for further information.

Related Content

External Resources

HERE IS A VIDEO of Chef Wylie Dufrense, who's on the leading edge of using transglutaminase in a fine dining environment, giving a lecture at Harvard on the subject:

 

For more posts just like this, check out our ongoing Kitchen Prep Video Series. You can also view our complete How To Cook Video Index.

 

Ginger Glazed Carrots with Tumeric and Fresh Thyme

In this video, I demonstrate the technique of covered saute and glazing that can be universally applied to most produce, especially root vegetables such as carrots, onions, parsnips and radishes. To demonstrate the glazing technique, we take a trip down "Classic Flavor Lane," using minced ginger, carrots and turmeric as our main flavor profiles.

The whole concept behind glazing is fairly simple; extract the vegetable's natural juices and sugars into the pan using steam (covered sauteing), add some secondary ingredients, and when the vegetables have cooked to your preferred texture, uncover the pan and reduce the juices until the glaze is formed.

The addition of butter at the beginning of the process helps to enrich the overall flavor of the dish, but will also emulsify into the glaze as it continues to reduce and thicken. If the glaze becomes too thick before the vegetables are cooked all the way through, simply add a little more liquid (in the video I use water), cover with a lid, and continue to reduce until the vegetables have reached your preferred texture.

Now because this is a technique, there really isn't an exact recipe that correlates with this video. But here is a quick approximation of the ingredients used if you would like to recreate this specific dish:

  • 2 Large Carrots, Peeled and Cut on a Bias, 1/4" Thick

  • 2" Finger of Ginger, Peeled and Minced

  • 1 Mediume Shallot, Sliced

  • 6 Ounces White Wine (or enough to cover the bottom of the saute pan)

  • 4-6 Ounces Butter

  • Pinch Sugar

  • Large Pinch of Kosher Salt

  • Pepper To Taste

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric

  • Fresh Thyme For Garnish

Total cooking time is about 20 minutes.

Related Content

For more posts just like this, check out our ongoing Cooking Techniques Video Series. You can also view our complete How To Cook Video Index.

Ginger Glazed Carrots Recipe

Heirloom Tomato Capresse - TCD

Heirloom tomatoes are a special crop that I look forward to every year. Unlike other common supermarket tomatoes that have had their flavor bred out of them (not to mention they're usually picked green and forced ripened using ethylene gas), heirlooms are true, unique strains of tomatoes that haven't been messed with. Each variety of heirloom tomato has it's own unique color, flavor and shape, just like nature intended. And did I mention that they're absolutely delicious and about to hit their peak?

That's right, heirloom tomatoes peak in August and September, and because most of the US had such a mild winter, the season promises to deliver a bumper crop.

Although there are many things you can do with an heirloom tomato, a simple caprese salad is hard to beat, especially when accompanied with a good hunk of bread and glass of chianti classico (hint: the real stuff never comes in a wicker basket!).

Further Information

 

This post is part of our ongoing Completed Dish Video Series, which shows you how to combine multiple techniques into a restaurant quality dish. For more information, you can also view our How To Cook Video Index.

 

Sauce Vierge

Sauce vierge is one of my all time favorite sauces. The word "vierge" is French for "virgin," meaning that the ingredients in a vierge are not cooked. This is the sauce that we use for our heirloom tomato caprese, which I will demonstrate in an upcoming video.

Further Information

This post is part of our ongoing Sauces & Soups Video Series. For more information, you can also view our How To Cook Video Index.

 

How to Make White Chicken Stock

In this video, I demonstrate a classic version of white chicken stock. White stocks in general are commonly used for more subtlety flavored sauces, consumes and broths. It is also the base for the French Mother Sauce Veloute.

The technique of blanching bones before making a stock is commonly used in Asian cuisine, where a lot of their recipes favor delicately flavored broths that are hard to achieve with roasted bones and mirepoix.

Related Information



This post is part of our ongoing Sauces & Soups Video Series. For more information, you can also view our How To Cook Video Index.

 

How to Cook Polenta

What is Polenta?

Polenta is coarsely ground yellow corn meal and is a staple of northern Italy. It is served as an everyday starch, either by itself with a little tomato sauce, or as a starch accompaniment to a protein (as part of an entrée). Polenta is extremely versatile and absolutely delicious, making it a must-know addition to any cooks technical repertoire.

Polenta Ratio

The basic ratio for polenta is 4 parts liquid to 1 part polenta. You can use any number of liquids to make polenta - from plain water, to chicken, veal stock or fish stock. The decision on what liquid to use should be based on what the final application of your polenta will be.

Should I Use Water or Stock When Making Polenta?

As stated above, the liquid that you decide to use to make your polenta is based solely on what the desired flavor profile of the finished dish will be. One thing to take into consideration though, is the effect your stock will have on the color of your polenta. Some darker stocks may turn your polenta a drab color and make it look a little unappetizing (even though it probably tastes great). Remember, water is the classical choice.

Although a lot of polenta is made with just water, there is a little known secret that some restaurant chefs employ to enhance the flavor. That secret is chicken base. No, not bouillon cubes, but an actual chicken “paste” that is added to the water to give it a chicken flavor. These bases are heavily salted to preserve the flavor, so when used carefully it can add great salt content and flavor to your polenta, not to mention color.

If you use regular chicken stock (and there is nothing wrong with that), once the stock is worked into the polenta it would take away some of the polenta’s vibrant yellow color because true chicken stock is not exactly golden yellow - chicken base is, however. Although the use of chicken base is not widely used and is definitely not traditional, it is something to be aware of and to possibly experiment with.

Polenta Procedure

The procedure for making polenta is fairly straightforward: Just bring the appropriate amount of liquid to a simmer, and slowly stream in your polenta at the ratio discussed above. Continue to cook over low heat for about 20-30 minutes. Most cookbooks, along with your Italian grandmother, will tell you that you have to stir your polenta almost constantly throughout the cooking process. Although this is good advice, it’s not always absolutely necessary.

In our “on demand” world, most people don’t want to stand still over a pot of simmering water, mindlessly stirring it. A decent compromise is to stir it for the first 5 minutes to ensure no major clumping, then cover it with aluminum foil. Make sure your heat is on the “low” setting, set a timer for 25 minutes, and go open a nice bottle of wine.
 

Once the 25 minutes is up, go uncover your polenta. By now, the polenta has probably settled on the bottom of the pot with a layer of your cooking liquid on top. DON'T PANIC. Gently stir the liquid back into the polenta using a wooden spoon, finish with as much butter as you dare and maybe a little touch of cream. Taste and check for final seasoning. Serve and enjoy

Polenta Serving Suggestions

Polenta makes a great dish on it’s own or you can serve it as a side dish. If you are going to serve the polenta as a stand-alone dish here are some great serving tips:

  • Finish your polenta with the cheese of your choice - freshly grated parmesan, mascarpone, and goat cheese are some favorites.

  • Stir in some fresh herbs - chopped thyme, basil, and tarragon are a good place to start.

  • A flavorful tomato sauce poured over your polenta is a nice and impressive finish.

Creamy Polenta with Tomatoes, Oregano and Olive Oil

If you will be serving your polenta with meat:

  • A nice reduction sauce goes great with polenta and is a good way to tie in the flavors of your entrée.

  • Polenta serves as a great canvas on which you can paint a wide array of flavors.

  • Taking your polenta to the next level as a side dish is as easy as stirring in some caramelized onions, sautéed wild mushrooms, truffle oil, or even freshly shaved truffle itself.

Crispy Fried Polenta Topped with Tomatoes, Basil and Fresh Mozzarella

 

For more posts just like this, check out our ongoing Cooking Techniques Video Series. You can also view our complete How To Cook Video Index.

 

How to Stuff and Cook a Frenched Chicken Leg

In a previous video, I demonstrated how to remove the thigh bone of a chicken hindquarter and while "Frenching" down the leg bone, which results in a semi boneless leg that you can then stuff. In this video, we'll go through a simple stuffing process and I'll demonstrate two different ways to actually cook the finished product.

Further Information

For more posts just like this, check out our ongoing Kitchen Prep Video Series. You can also view our complete How To Cook Video Index.

Stuffed Chicken Leg and Thigh

French and Debone a Chicken Leg & Thigh

This video will demonstrate how to take a hind quarter, remove the thigh bone and then "French" the leg bone. What results is a semi-boneless chicken leg and thigh that can then be stuffed with any number of delicious fillings and force meats. For part two of this video, which demonstrates the stuffing and cooking process, click here.

Further Information

This post is part of our ongoing Culinary Knife Skills Video Series, which teaches you a wide array of knife skills used in professional kitchens. For more information, you can also view our How To Cook Video Index.

 

How to Debone a Chicken Leg and Thigh

In this video, we go over how to debone a chicken leg and thigh. Once deboned, the leg and thigh can be cooked flat, rolled into a roulade or even stuffed.

Further Information

This post is part of our ongoing Culinary Knife Skills Video Series, which teaches you a wide array of knife skills used in professional kitchens. For more information, you can also view our How To Cook Video Index.