Even as someone who is unfamiliar with cooking, you can take your food’s taste to new heights with the small yet impactful tricks that we talk about here.
If you’re new to cooking, you might start by learning simple recipes you find in books or online and following them to a T. Still, recipes may just give you general steps for food preparation without providing you with pointers that will take your cooking to the next level. We’ve collected a few subtle tricks that will make your food taste better; best of all, you can easily try these dishes out. They may seem inconsequential, but these changes have the ability to enhance your dishes more noticeably than you might imagine at first.
Salt as You Go
For some reason, people often wait to salt their food when it is just about finished or once they serve it at the table. This is certainly a valid way to top off dishes, but you can use salt to greater effect by adding in small amounts of it while you are cooking. When it has more time to absorb into the ingredients while they are cooking, it will heighten their flavors while moving into the background. Your food will taste more vivid without having salt overpower it (so long as you use the salt in moderation). For instance, as you’re cooling one ingredient separately before combining it with the rest of the dish, you could salt it.
Use In-Season Ingredients
Freshness is a characteristic of food that we too often dismiss because of modern refrigeration and preservatives. When you eat food that is fresh, however, you can quickly spot the difference it has when compared to food that has been frozen or transported long distances. Therefore, instead of sticking to the same recipes year-round, include more powerful and delicious flavors by using in-season ingredients. Vegetables and fruit that are in-season in your area can come from local sources and will have a freshness that boosts their taste beyond what you would get when they have been flown in from far away.
Season Your Butter
Like salt, butter helps to enrich the flavors of other ingredients. You may use a lot of it in your dishes, but too much can be unhealthy. A trick that will make your food taste better while also making it a bit healthier is to season your butter. By mixing in herbs and other ingredients, such as garlic, lemon zest, parsley, and thyme, you can increase the impact and depth that your butter contributes to a dish overall. Since it is tastier, you won’t need to use as much of it in your recipes either. Season your butter by warming it in a saucepan until you see it foaming, adding your selected herbs and spices, straining it to remove those herb and spice chunks, then re-solidifying it in the fridge.
Cut Meat Against the Grain
This tip doesn’t focus on the cooking itself, but rather on the way you serve meat. Meat is made of animal muscles’ fibers that are attached like strings clumped together. They’re meant to handle the strain of movement lengthwise, so if you cut them WITH the grain—that is, in the same direction that the fibers are running—the meat will feel tough to chew. It’s important to slice meat against the grain because this will break up the fibers before you put the meat in your mouth. It will be much softer from the first bite when you have cut it this way.
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