Bechamel sauce

We often become discouraged when in new culinary recipes we find terms that we do not understand and sometimes give up trying a new recipe. Often simple meals have complicated names that make us not even want to read the recipe, although we would definitely get it if we tried.

So, here are ten basic culinary terms you should know.

1. Emulsion

This is a mixture of two liquids that normally would not be mixed. For example, a temporary emulsion is a vinaigrette sauce (oil and vinegar) or a permanent one is mayonnaise (yolk and oil).

2. Tartar

It chopped raw meat and seasoned really well. There are several kinds of tartar: salmon, chicken, tuna or beef. Basically, with the right seasoning, you can easily pull of a quality meal, served in the finest restaurants.

3. Bouillon

This is a kind of soup usually made from beef boiling in water with spices. Think of a soup stock, but one more sophisticated.

4. Foam

This terms is more common in molecular restaurants. It is made from natural flavors in the blender (juice, herbs) and a flavor-free gel. The role of this foam is to bring the flavor to dishes.

5. Deconstructed

It’s a fancy way of saying that all the ingredients of a normal preparation are taken separately and arranged completely different, so as to surprise you.

6. Bain marie

This is a procedure by boiling or heating food by steaming it, but also a way of preparing creams for cakes or individual preparations that cannot come in contact with direct flame. There are special pots bain -marie, but the easiest is to take a large bowl, fill it halfway with water and on top of it put another pot, but smaller in which we add the ingredients that must be cooked or heated. The water in the large pot starts to boil and the steam generated from it will warm the ingredients in the small bowl. Bain marie is very useful for melting chocolate or cheese fondue.

7. Bechamel

This is one of the famous sauces in the world and certainly the most famous white sauce, in competition with mayonnaise, of course. Bechamel always has as ingredients butter, flour and milk and is usually seasoned with salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Waht may vary from a bechamel sauce to another, depending on chef’s choice, is the sauce consistency, and that’s directly proportional with the amount of flour in the sauce. Easy alternatives to bechamel sauce are those with cream and cheese, mainly used for souffl├ęs and Quiche Lorraine.

8. Al dente

This is a term that refers exclusively to the boiling pasta and is of course a term of Italian origin. On most Italian pasta packages, we will see that there are 2 indicated times for boiling, one referring to the normal boiling until the pasta is soft and the other boiling is al dente, meaning that the pasta is soft on the outside but still a little hard in the inside, so they do not melt in the mouth, but one can bite it.

9. Croutons

These are part of those simple ingredients, but with fancy names, so you may have thought twice of what soup with croutons means. Croutons are not just a simple bread, but dry bread bits, with melted butter and herbs, then baked in the oven or fried in olive oil.

10. Poached

This terms refers to eggs and it is a healthier alternative to sunny side up eggs. Using a mixture of water, salt and white wine vinegar brought to the boil, crack one egg at the time and wait for it to boil. Season to taste.