Culinary Terminology


Culinary Terminology

Alfredo:  A rich white sauce made with cream, parmesan, salt and pepper.  Some variations include flour, garlic or egg yolks.

Almondine:  In French, amandine, with almonds.

Bearnaise Sauce:  Classical French sauce prepared with egg yolk and butter, flavored with tarragon, shallot and vinegar.

Beurre Blanc:  White butter sauce with a base of reduced wine, lemon, vinegar, shallots, herbs and peppercorns.

Bordelaise Sauce:  A reduction of veal stock with bone marrow, red wine, parsley and herbs.

Caramelize:  The browning of sugars to achieve attractive appearance and enhanced flavor.  Heat acts upon the sugar in vegetables and the protein in flour or meats.  Browning of protein is also referred to as the “Maillard Effect”.

Chutney:  Traditionally a chunky mango jam of Indian origin.  Currently applied to a wide range of preserves accompanying meat or fish, usually tart and spicy.

Cous Cous:  Starch preparation derived from semolina of African and Middle Eastern origins, recently adapted to modern cuisine.

Demiglaze:  Often referred to as “demi”.  Fortified veal stock and veal sauce that has been reduced by ½ its volume, can be used as the base for many other sauces.

En Croute:  In crust, wrapped in or topped with pastry.

En Papillote:  Baked in parchment paper, excellent preparation for fish.

Florentine:  “In the style of Florence”.  Traditionally, this signifies a preparation using spinach and a mornay (cheese) sauce.

Francaise:  Breading an item in flour, then egg and parmesan.

Gnocchi:  Potato pasta.  Poached, then sautéed.

Hunter or Chasseur:  Brown sauce with carrot, shallot, mushroom, tomatoes and herbs.

Lyonnaise:  “Of Lyon, France”.  Refers to potatoes with onions.

Marinara:  Lightly cooked meatless tomato sauce with basil.

Marsala:  Made with Marsala wine, veal stock, cream and mushrooms.

Mediterranean:  A presentation involving olives, onions, peppers; basically items used and found in Mediterranean countries.

Moutarde:  French for “mustard”; involves a sauce of one or more mustard flavors.

Oscar:  A presentation of meat involving crabmeat, asparagus and hollandaise.

Pesto:  Italian for “pounded”; an uncooked sauce including basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan or pecorino cheese and olive oil.

Piccata:  Preparation including lemon, capers and vermouth.

Polenta:  Northern Italian dish of boiled cornmeal which can then be baked, cut into shapes and sautéed.  Can also be served creamy.

Primavera:  Italian for “Spring”; Pasta and vegetables in tomato or white sauce.

Provencal:  A chunky tomato sauce with onions, olives and aromatic herbs.

Ragout:  A thick “stew” of meat, seafood, poultry or vegetables.  Typically reduced with stock, the gelatin in the stock thickens the ragout as it slowly reduces.

Reduction:  A liquid that has been slowly boiled down to increase flavor.

Sauce Dianne:  Veal stock, shallots, cognac, parsley and Dijon mustard.

Scallopine:  A medallion of meat, typically veal, that has been pounded then dredged in flour and sautéed.  

Spaetzle:  Traditional German dish of tiny dumplings that are poached and typically sautéed or added to soup.

Stock:  The extracted flavors and essence of any meat or vegetable, strained and reduced, used as a base for many different types of soups and sauces.

Sous Vide:  French for “under vacuum”, sous vide is a food packaging technique in which ingredients are vacuum packed and cooked in a water bath before chilling.