Recently, I emailed a friend who, like most of us, has spent more time cooking at home in the past two years than in his entire life. Thanks to several meal kit offerings and a bunch of YouTube tutorials, cooking skills improved dramatically (from “eating every night to actually holding a knife”, as he put it) but he emailed me this question the day before: “Hey! Why do it? restaurant meal always better than what I make at home? I feel like there must be some simple trick that I’m missing. ”
“That’s why restaurant food tastes better than home food,” he continued. “Of course, almost everything has butter in it because butter makes everything taste better. Yes, that’s the chef’s secret. It makes the sauce, it gives the restaurant that shiny and emulsified consistency. sauce that we love, and you know it’s a classic.”
I sent the same video from MAD 2012, a symposium organized by René Redzepi, in which David Chang discuss the (mostly racist) defamation of MSG and the “umami” flavor you taste in many restaurant dishes, even those found in fine dining restaurants high end, often comes from it.
So more butter, more MSG – what else? “How often do you think about the texture of your food?” I ask. “Uh… almost never,” my friend replied. “Well, let’s change that in the new year,” I wrote.
I think the idea of texture contrast is a seemingly second nature; Say you’re planning a dinner party, you might say, “Oh, hey, I need some crunch” if you’re serving meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
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But food-level importance didn’t really stick with me until a few years ago. I’m at a small Italian restaurant in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of DC and ordering agnolotti stuffed with ricotta with mint pesto.
The food is very nice. The pasta is chewy, the ricotta is deliciously fresh and the pesto has a frozen allium punch that I’ve tried many times to recreate at home. What really pushed it ahead, however, were the toasted and salted pistachios, which topped the pasta dish. With them in the mix, all the other elements seem to shine through much more and the interplay between the soft and crispy pieces is superb.
I’ve been making pasta all the time at home and think I’ve done it “right”, seriously making sure I keep my pasta intact and save the water for a slick sauce. However, when I think back to my favorite restaurant noodles, there’s one thing in common: It’s crunchier.
The best bucatini I’ve ever had was topped with rabbit ragù and freshly toasted pieces of bread. One of my favorites aglio e olio has a coarser ground, but is just as crispy as breadcrumbs. The restaurant dishes that I choose come with either pine nuts or pumpkin seeds or, as in the case of that angelotti, crushed pistachios.
Once you start looking for textural contrast on the menu, it’s everywhere – from salad with crispy chickpeas to tomato soup with cornbread toast. There are chocolate cakes with crispy cocoa nibs and sandwiches that are toasted until crisp and then stacked with a layer of kettle crumbs.
All of this to say, if you want to take your home cooking to the next level to the next level, start stocking your pantry with simple items you can afford. Grab to add some texture to your life. Here are some suggestions to help you get going:
- Panko bread: Toast and season these to add to pasta dishes or vegetable gravy
- Nuts: Top cereal bowls, stews and curries with peanuts or cashews; Season to taste and toast some pecans or walnuts to coat the ice cream.
- Mixture of seeds and spices: All things bagel condiments add a bit of beauty to everything from butter to eggs, as well as dukka or duqqa, Duqqa, an Egyptian condiment consisting of a mixture of herbs, spices, and spices. seeds and spices.
- Tortilla Strip: Add these to taco salads, tortilla soups, or chilis.
- Mashed Potatoes: Toss these in potato salad for some welcome crunch, use them as a topping on casseroles (I swear, it’s delicious) or as a topping on a side sandwich.
- Chickpeas or peas: Search the snack aisle of your supermarket for crispy chickpeas or wasabi beans. This is an ideal side dish for salads or cereal bowls.
- Green onions and pickled vegetables: Check your fridge for some crunchy veggies or alliums – like pickled vegetables, kimchi, giardiniera or scallions – and use them to complete your daily meal.
Some of our favorite shortcut recipes:
https://www.salon.com/2022/01/01/make-2022-the-year-you-experiment-with-texture-in-your-home-kitchen/ Want to instantly improve your meals by 2022? Reach for some crunchy, delicious, and crunchy ingredients