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French Cooking Terms

Gourmet Food Dictionary

These French cooking terms might come in handy. The French love to talk about food and they have many wonderful words to do just that. Maybe you would like to join in the discussion or maybe you need help reading a French recipe or a French menu.

Here is a short dictionary of some French cooking terms to get you started.
Affiné - Refers to a product that has been aged in order to more fully develop its taste. Can refer to cheese, wine, foie gras and more.

Baveuse - Refers to an omelet whose center is still slightly liquid. (Literally something that is drooling, but that 's not too appetizing, is it?)

Blanc de Cuisson - A liquid made from water, flour and lemon juice used to keep foods from oxydizing and losing their color while cooking.

Blanchir - Placing something in boiling water for just a few minutes before removing it and placing it in cold water. This procedure allows vegetables to keep their colors and helps make tomatoes and fruits easy to peel.

Braiser -Cook something slowly, with just a little liquid and a lid on it.

Brider -Hold together a chicken or other meat with string or skewers while it is cooking.

Brunir - Cook a food just until it's surface is caramelized - does not necessarily mean that the food is cooked through.

Brunoise - Vegetables cut into very little pieces.

Chaud-Froid - Something that has been cooked but is served cold in gelatin.

Chemiser - Literally to put a shirt on. Use wax paper to keep foods from sticking to baking pans, etc.

Chiffonade - Herbs or salad leaves that have been rolled and very finely chopped.

Clouter - Clouter an onion mieans to stick cloves in it.

Confit - Meat or poultry that has been cooked and conserved in its own fat. Can also refer to fruits conserved in a sugar syrup.

Court-Bouillon - Liquid made from water, herbs, and either vinegar, lemon juice, or wine and used to cook fish.

Déglacer - To dissolve cooking juices attached to the sides of a pot or pan with a little hot liquid to create a sauce or the start of a sauce.

Depouiller - Add a cold liquid to a hot liquid in order to get the fat to rise to the top so it can be skimmed off.

Ecailler - To open an oyster, clam or mussel or to remove the scales from a fish.

Ecumer - Remove the fat and/or foam formed on the surface of a liquid using a ladle.

Emulsion - A liquid that has droplets of fat evenly distributed throughout. Mayonnaise is an emulsion.

Faisander - Hang game meat in a cool, dark and airy location so that it begins to decompose. This is done to add flavor to the meat.

Farce - Stuffing or dressing.

Flamber - To ignite alcohol that has been poured over a preparation. The alcohol burns and leaves just its flavor.

Frémir - To keep a liquid just below the boiling point.

Glace de Cuisne - Reduced meat stock.

Glacer - To decorate a cake or other pastry with a smooth and shiny layer of icing.

Julienne - Vegetables cut in very slender slices, smaller than matchsticks.

Liaison - The thickening of a sauce, perhaps with cream or corn starch, at the end of cooking.

Luter - To seal a cooking dish with dough made from flour and water.

Macédoine - Mixture of finely diced fruits and vegetables.

Macérer - To soak a food in a liquid (particularly alcohol) so that it takes on a new flavor.

Mijoter - To cook something slowly on the stovetop with the lid on.

Moudre - To grind, in particular spices and coffee.

Napper - To cover a dish with sauce.

Paner - To cover a food with flour, beaten egg, and/or bread crumbs.

Parmentier - Refers to recipes that include potatoes.

Poêler - Cook something in butter or oil with the lid on.

Rectifier - To correct the seasonings of a dish before serving.

Roux - Mixture of flour and butter or other fat used to thicken sauces and soups.

Sabler - To cut butter or another fat into flour until it is pebbly.

Sauter - To cook something in fat on high heat.

Tamiser - To sift flour or other powders.

Come back and visit my French cooking terms page often, I will be adding more French cooking terms as I encounter them in my culinary adventure in France.

Learn more about French cooking.

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