Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Everybody's Favorite Food Group

Yes, people, I'm talking about the Fried food group! Today was dry heat cooking--sauteing, grilling, pan frying, paneeing, and deep frying! Several of us agreed that this was our favorite class so far...

We started with Chef demoing how to pan fry whole trout, head and tail still attached. Some people were a little squeed out by that, but it's all in the presentation, baby! He dredged them in some seasoned flour and threw them in a saute pan with a little butter. We had this discussion about putting the presentation side of an item down first to get the best color/crust/grill marks, etc. While the trout were frying, he made up 3 butter sauces: meuniere (lemon and parsley), beurre noisette (brown butter), and beurre noir (black butter). The favorite by far was the meuniere.

Then, we moved on the deep frying of things: onion rings, mushrooms, zucchini, yucca chips, and french fries. We learned that the key to good fries was to first blanch them in the oil, say at about 250 degrees, which would cook them evenly throughout. Then, you jack the temp up and fry them again to get the brown crispy goodness that we sooooo love. Try it--it works!

We then went to the grilling of things--steak and chicken. We got a lesson in grill markings and what Chef expects our meat to look like when we grill it. Picture a clock...lay the steak down in the 11:00/4:00 position to make the first sear marks. Then, after you get the first marks, pick up the steak, still on the same side down and put it in the 1:00/7:00 position. You get a nice crosshatching effect. (My steak had sort of a bald spot in one area...not quite sure how that happened.) We also grilled a chicken supreme, which is the breast fillet and wing. It sort of had a little handle made by the wing. I'm guessing we get to fabricate in a later class.

The $64,000 question for today is what is the difference between pan frying and paneeing something? It all depends on how high up the fat comes on the product when frying it. If you are pan frying, the fat should come about 1/3 up the side of the piece of whatever; paneeing has the fat coming up 2/3s of the way. He paneed some pork tenderloin sliced that had been breaded with panko crumbs for us. See why this has been our favorite class so far?

I did get my grilled chicken and my sauteed chicken done just right; my grilled steak was a little over cooked, but I had to use a frozen one to start with, because we ran out of steaks before it got to be my turn...this is what I get for coming at the end of the alphabet.

The one thing that would have made today's class session better would have been some beer, for what goes better with fried things than beer things? (burp!)

1 comment:

Belinda said...

What fun! We catch our own trout from the many rivers here, but I won't touch them to cook them until Alex has *thoroughly* cleaned them, and that means heads and tails are bye-bye! And even then, I can hardly stand to eat them because of the little tiny bones. Whoever came up with that, "Oh, they're so small and soft they're not even noticable" business is TOUCHED in the HEAD. For my taste, as far as fish goes, if I can't have it in steak or fillet form, I don't want it.

So, gotta ask...fried chicken? Are you of the flash-fry then turn, lower heat, cover, and slow-cook school, like we do here?

I think my favorite dishes are the ones that are cooked on the stovetop and then the dripping deglazed for sauce. I should weigh 400 pounds.

Why is it called "dry heat" cooking?