Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Demystifying Menus
by D.G. Stern          

I have put together the following to provide guidance and support for those who like to dine out but are intimidated by menus. The goal is to translate, simplify and describe dishes, terms and ingredients. Enjoy!!

Aioli (Spanish) is a garlic flavored mayonnaise which is used with fish, meats and vegetables.

Allenmande (French) is one of the four mother sauces (espagnolebéchemal and velouté) and is made with velouté sauce (see below) but is thickened with egg yolks, heavy cream, and seasoned with lemon juice

Amandine (French) means garnished with slivered almonds often misspelled as ‘almondine’.

Anglaise is food that has been poached or boiled.

Aspic is a savory jelly made from clarified meat, fish or vegetable stock.

Beef with Béarnaise Sauce
Béarnaise (French) is a sauce made from a reduction of wine, vinegar, tarragon, shallots, egg yolks and butter.

Bechemal (French) is one of the four (allenmandeespagnole  and velouté) mother sauces and is made with a white roux, milk, optional veal broth, onions, thyme, butter, pepper, nutmeg, and salt.

Berbere (North African) is a bland of red pepper, garlic, coriander and cardamom.

Beurre blanc (white butter-French) is a sauce made from wine, vinegar, butter and a shallot reduction.

Beurre Noisette (brown butter-French) is butter heated until it turns slightly brown.

Blintz (Yiddish) is a tender, very thin pancake rolled with a filling, usually sweet.

Bolognese (Italian) is a thick meat or vegetable sauce.

Bordelaise (French) is a sauce made from red or white wine, brown stock, bone marrow, shallots, parsley and herbs.

Bourride (French) is a fish soup with garlic, onions, orange, saffron and egg yolks.

Broccoli Rabe or Rabe are bitter leafy greens related to cabbage and turnips.

Brioche is a rich butter, egg and yeast bread.

Brunoise (French) are finely diced or shredded vegetables cooked slowly in butter.

Canard (French) is duck.

Caponata (Italian) is a combination of egg plant, onions, tomatoes, anchovies, olives, pine nuts, capers and vinegar, cooked together in olive oil.

Cavatelli (Italian) is short, narrow, ripple-edged shell pasta.

Champignon (French) is a small, button mushroom.

Chanterelle is a trumpet-shaped wild mushroom with a nutty flavor and chewy texture.

Char is a pinkish fish related to both salmon and trout.

Charlotte is a chilled dessert made by lining a dish with pound cake (sponge cake or lady fingers) then filling with layers of custard and fruit.

Châteaubriand describes the preparation method for a larger cut of beef, usually serving two.

Cherrystones are medium size clams, usually served raw on the half shell. Littlenecks are smaller, also served on the half shell.

Chervil is a mild flavored member of the parsley family having an anise taste. Cilantro (leaves of Coriander plant) is known as Chinese parsley and has a citrus taste. Parsley varieties also include curly leaf and Italian (flat leaf).

Chèvre (French) is a pure white goat milk cheese with a tart flavor.

Chiffinade are thin strips of vegetables (usually sorrel and lettuce) that are sautéed or used raw as a garnish.

Chitterlings (English) or Chittlins (American) are pig intestines simmered until tender that are added to soup or most frequently used as sausage casings.

Chorizo (Portuguese) is a highly seasoned, coarsely ground pork sausage flavored with garlic, chili powder and other spices.

Confit (French) is preserved meat, usually duck, goose or pork.

Coq au Vin (French) is a dish made with chicken, mushrooms, onions, bacon or salt pork and herbs and cooked in red wine.

Coquille St. Jacques
Coquilles St. Jacques (French) are scallops served in a creamy white sauce, topped with bread crumbs and browned under a broiler.

Crème (French) is cream.

Creme Fraiche (French) is a rich cream with a slightly nutty flavor and smooth texture which is ideal for thickening sauces, soups or as a topping.

Coulis (French) is a thick puree or sauce.

Daikon (Japanese) is a large Asian radish with a sweet, fresh flavor.

Daube (French) is a classic dish made with beef, red wine, vegetables and seasonings which is braised for hours.

Demi-glace or glaze (French) is a rich brown sauce made with beef stock, espagnole (see below) and Madeira or Sherry which is reduced to a thick glaze.

Dim Sum
Dim Sum (Chinese) describes a variety of small portioned dishes including steamed or fired dumplings, shrimp balls and Chinese pastries.

Duxelles (French) is a mixture of finely chopped mushrooms, shallots and herbs cooked into a thick paste and are used to flavor soups and sauces.

Edamame (Japanese) are fresh soy beans.

Espagnole (French) is one of the four mother sauces (allenmandebéchemal and velouté) that are the basis of sauce-making in classic French cooking and is made with a very dark brown roux, to which veal stock along with browned bones, pieces of beefvegetables, and various seasonings are added. The sauce is reduced. Tomato paste or pureed tomatoes are added towards the end of the process.

Fillet is a boneless piece of meat or fish.

Flageolet (French) are tiny, tender kidney beans.

Peach Raspberry Blueberry Flambe
Flambé (French) is the method of presenting food sprinkled with liquor and then ignited.

Flan is a pastry tart with either a sweet (custard or fruit) or savory (vegetable or meat) filling.

Formaggio (Italian) is cheese.

Foie gras is cooked goose liver, usually served chilled with toast points.

Framboise (French) is raspberry.

Fricassee is meat or chicken sautéed in butter and then stewed with vegetables.

Fromage (French) is cheese.

Galette (French) is a round, flat crusty cake.

Ganache (French) is a rich, chocolate icing made with semi-sweet chocolate and whipping (heavy) cream.

Gazpacho (Spanish) is a cold soup most often made with tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, onions, celery, cucumber, garlic, olive oil and vinegar.

Glacé (French) means glazed or frozen.

Gnocchi (Italian) are potato dumplings that are boiled and served with Parmesan cheese or a savory sauce.

Gravlax (Swedish) is raw, thin sliced salmon cured in a salt, sugar and dill mixture, usually served on dark bread with capers and chopped onions. Similar to lox (Yiddish).

Haricot vert (French) is green string bean.

hearts of palm
Hearts of palm is a vegetable with thin white stalks and taste like artichoke.

Heirloom means naturally pollinated, not hybridized and can be used in conjunction with vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Hollandaise is a creamy sauce made with egg yolks, butter and lemon juice.

Homard (French) is lobster.

Hummus (Middle Eastern) is a sauce made with ground chick peas, garlic, lemon, sesame seeds and olive oil.

Julienne (also called matchstick) means food (usually vegetables) cut into thin strips.

Jus or au jus (French) is the juice from meat, fruit or vegetables.

Kobe beef is from cattle raised in Japan, fed beer and massaged with sake.

Kombu (Japanese) is long, dark seaweed that is sundried and folded.

Lemon grass is a long, thick grass leaf with a lemony flavor used as a flavoring in Asian foods.

Lyonaise is a sauce made with stock, wine and sautéed onions and is most often associated with a potato dish.

Marinère (French) is shellfish prepared with wine and herbs.

Mascarpone (Italian) is a very creamy, almost buttery, mild cheese.

oysters mignonette
Mignonette (French) is a mixture of shallots, wine and vinegar and typically is served with oysters.

Mille-feuille (French) means one thousand leaves and refers to puff pastry layered with filling.

Mirepoix (French) is a combination of onions, carrots, celery and herbs sautéed in butter.

Miso (Japanese) is bean paste.

Mole (Mexican) is a rich sauce of cooked onions, garlic, chili peppers and sometime unsweetened chocolate (mole negro).

Mousseline (French) is any sauce to which whipped cream or beaten egg whites is blended.

Meunière (French) means “miller’s wife’ and refers to a style of cooking where food is seasoned, dusted with flour and sautéed in butter.

Nage is a method of preparing and serving fish and shellfish in a broth.

Salad Niçoise 
Niçoise (French) means in the style of Nice. A salad niçoise includes olives, anchovies, tuna, onions, hard boiled eggs and tomatoes.

Noisette (French) is a small, round piece of tender meat from a rib or loin of lamb, veal or pork and flavored with hazelnuts.

Orzo (Italian) is tiny pasta shaped like flat rice.

Osso Bucco (Italian) is veal shank cooked with olive oil, stock, white wine, onions, gremolata (lemon peel, garlic and parsley) and sometimes tomatoes and served with risotto (see below).

Paella (Spanish) is a seasoned dish of rice, fish, shellfish and vegetables.

Paillard is a veal scallop or slice of meat, thinly pounded and quickly grilled or sautéed.

Pain Perdu (French) is French toast

Pavé (French) is a square or rectangular dessert consisting of several layers of sponge cake filled with butter cream or other filling and coated with frosting.

Pavlova (Russian) is a baked meringue topped with whipped cream and fruit. A fruit sauce, sometimes liquor based, in drizzled over the dish.

Pancetta (Italian) is flavorful, cured bacon.

Panzanella (Italian) is a salad consisting of onions, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, vinegar, seasonings and chunks of bread.

Pappardelle (Italian) are wide noodles (fettucine) with wavy sides.

Piccata (Italian) is veal or chicken cooked in lemon, capers, parsley, wine and pan drippings.

Polenta (Italian) is a cornmeal (yellow flour)mixture that can be cut and fried.

Poivre or au poivre (French) is pepper.

Pommes Frites (French) are French fries.

Ponzu (Japanese) is a sauce made with lemon juice or rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin and/or sake, kombo (see above) and dried bonito flakes.

Pot-au-feu (French) is beef stew, “made from scratch” using local ingredients.

Puttanesca (Italian) is a spicy, somewhat salty sauce made with tomatoes, onions, capers, garlic, black olives and oregano cooked in olive oil.

Radicchio (Italian) is a red-leafed salad green.

Ragoût (French) or Ragû (Italian) is a thick, rich, well seasoned (beef, poultry or fish) stew.

Ratatouille (French) is a vegetable stew originating in Nice combining eggplant, tomatoes, onions, peppers and seasonings.

Reduction is a liquid that has been boiled until thickened.

Rissolé  (French) are small potato balls (croquette) browned in butter until crisp.

Risotto (Italian) is rice made by combining hot stock with rice sautéed in butter.

Romesco (Spanish) is a sauce made with red bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil and almonds or hazelnuts and used with fish.

Rösti (German/Swiss) is a dish of fried grated potatoes.

Rouille (French) is a reddish sauce made with chili peppers, garlic, onions, olive oil and bread crumbs.

Roulade (French) is a thin slice of meat or fish rolled around a filling.

Roux (French) is a cooked mixture of wheat flour and clarified butter, used to thicken sauces.

Sabayon or Zabaglione (Italian) is an airy custard made with egg yolks, wine and sugar.

Salmi (Italian) is a flavorful, wine based roasted game stew. Similar to ragû.

Saltimbocca (Italian) is veal or chicken and prosciutto sautéed in butter and white wine.

Sashimi (Japanese) is sliced raw fish served with shredded daikon (see above), ginger root, wasabi (green horse radish) and soy sauce.

Satay (Thai) is cubed and skewered meat, poultry or fish served with a peanut sauce.

Scaloppine (Italian) is a thin medallion of meat (usually veal), dusted in flour and sautéed.

Serrano (Mexican) is a small, hot chili pepper.

Seviche  or Ceviche (Peruvian) is raw fish or shellfish marinated in citrus (usually lime) juice.

Shiitake (East Asian) is a large, meaty mushroom.

Sofrito (Spanish) or Sofritto (Italian) is a mixture of celery, onions, peppers, garlic and herbs sautéed in olive oil.

Lemon Sorbet
Sorbet (French) is sherbet.

Spaetzle (German) is a dish of tiny noodles or dumplings made with flour, eggs, water or milk, salt and sometimes nutmeg.

Squab (Swedish) is a young, tender land-bound domesticated pigeon.

Steamers are steamed clams, served with clear broth or melted butter.

Sweetbreads are the thymus gland of young cattle, pigs or lamb.

Tabbouleh (Middle Eastern) is a dish consisting of bulghur wheat mixed with chopped tomatoes, onions, parsley, mint, olive oil and lemon juice.

Tagiarini are long, thin, ribbon-like noodles.

Tahini (Middle Eastern) is ground sesame seed paste and olive oil.

Tapas (Spanish) are appetizers (small portions) and are sometimes, in combination, eaten as a meal.

Tapenade (French) is a paste of olives, capers, anchovies, olive oil and seasonings.

Tartare in finely chopped or coarsely ground raw beef seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs.

Tarte Tatin (French) is an upside-down apple tart.

Tempura (Japanese) are vegetables or fish tipped in batter and deep fried.

Beef Teriyaki
Teriyaki (Japanese) is a dish describing beef or chicken that has been marinated in soy sauce, sake, sugar, ginger and seasonings before being grilled, broiled or fried.

Terrine  (French) is an earthenware container often used for pates.

Truffle is a fungus that grows underground near the roots of trees, which have a unique taste coveted by chefs and gourmets.

Vacherin (French) is a dessert of crisp meringue rings stacked onto a base of meringue and filled with ice, sorbet or assorted fruits.

Veloute sauce (French) is one of the four mother sauces (espagnoleallenmande and béchemalé) and is made with stock, flour and butter.

Verjus is the sour liquid from unripened fruit.

Welsh rabbit or rarebit (English) is made with melted cheddar cheese mixed with beer, ale or milk and served on toast points.