Culinary Dictionary: Letter A
I got this idea of starting a food dictionary while I was reading a food memoir and got to the part where the author had to truss a chicken while taking a class at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. I had no idea what trussing means. I’m a nice person. I don’t truss my chickens. Well, I have done it once or twice in the past, but most of the time I leave my chickens open armed, open legged and comfortable as they’re swimming in a pot of broth or tanning in the oven. I’ve always believed that a chicken at ease is a happier, better tasting chicken.
This is to say I immediately thought about posting weekly definitions of culinary terms on Thursdays, so our Thursdays from now on-or at least for the next couple of months-will be Terminology Thursdays, with a different letter of the alphabet each week.
I’m looking forward to enjoying our Thursdays together as we master the art of trussing, feathering, filleting, and the such-if only in theory.
A blanc: (the c is silent) A French term meaning “in white”. It identifies foods that are not browned during the cooking, but left light-colored.
Acidulated water: Water mixed with a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar used to prevent fruits and vegetables from turning brown.
Acetomel: A mixture of vinegar and honey used in the past to preserve fruits.
Aiguillette: Long, thin-as a needle(I’m exaggerating of course!)-slices of meat.
A l’anglaise: Literally “the English way” in French, refers to food that was dipped in egg, breaded then fried.
A la diable: “devil style” refers to food served with an extremely spicy sauce.
A la plancha: A Spanish technique of cooking meats on a metal plate.
A la provençale: Cooking with ingredients that are abundantly available in Provence, in the south of France, such as tomatoes, onions, garlic and olives.
A la nage: French for “in the swim” means poaching seafood in an aromatic broth.
Al forno: Italian for oven-baked.
Amuse-bouche: Also called amuse-gueule, is a bite-sized “mouth amuser” that stimulates the appetite before a meal. It is often made of thin slices of bread topped with smoked salmon, caviar or many other possible toppings.