cooking
terms
glossary

cooking terms glossary

The Art of Cookery - Traditional italian recipes & wines from florentine and tuscan cookingItalian Food RecipesTraditional Florentine, Tuscan and Italian Recipes & Wines


Glossary of cooking terms GLOSSARY OF COOKING TERMS

Al dente
Firm the bite. Pasta especially should never be overcooked and "gluey".
Antipasti
A light entrée eaten before the first course as an appetizer. They are very adaptable and, with increased quantities, may be eaten as a main course, generally for lunch.
Aubergine (G.B.)
Eggplant.
Au gratin
A dish topped with breadcrumbs or grated cheese, cooked in the oven and/or finished off under the grill until golden brown and toasted.
Bain marie
Melting or cooking very gently by placing the ingredients in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering hot water.
Baste
Moisten meat by pouring its own gravy or fat over.
Blanch
Peeling by dropping into boiling water for a few seconds to loosen the skin.
Bouquet garni
A bunch of assorted herbs tied together and put into a stew, casserole or roast.
Braise
Cooking slowly in liquid with onions, herbs, etc.
Bread
There is a great variety of Italian bread with many local variations. Generally Tuscan bread is "country" style - a large, round loaf and unsalted. Casalingo literally means "homemade" and is the term used for a typical, Tuscan unsalted loaf. Salato is salted bread, spongier and lighter. Nero means brown (usually wholemeal) bread. Stale bread is a frequent ingredient in Tuscan recipes, soaked in milk or water and then squeezed dry.
Courgettes (G.B.)
Zucchini.
Crostini
A slice of unsalted bread, topped with a variety of ingredients, from liver paste to chopped tomatoes, or boiled and sautéed green vegetables.
Decant
Pour off by gently inclining the bottle without disturbing the sediment.
Fillet
A very tender, boneless piece of meat, or also fish.
Finocchiona
Cold, cured pork, typically Tuscan and rather spicy, flacoured with fennel seeds.
Fontina
Cheese from the Val d'Aosta, semi-soft, with a mild and slightly nutty flavour.
Frittata
Omlette, but denser than the whisked, French version; it is always served whole and round or cut into pieces. In Florence it is often made with spinach and used as a sandwich filling.
Funghi porcini
One of the most delicious mushrooms, used fresh in the autumn and dried (soak for a couple of hours in cold water before using) the rest of the year. Their texture is smooth and silky and their flavour quite strong and distinctive. A genuine speciality and treat.
Garnish
Decorate a dish for presentation at the table.
Hang
Leave fresh meat, especially game, to dry or become tender.
Julienne
Fine, matchstick-sized pieces of chopped vegetables.
Line
Cover the inside of a dish, bowl or mould with paper, pastry, gelatine etc.
Parboil
Cook partially to soften in boiling water before proceeding to cook in another manner.
Pecorino
Cheese made with sheep's milk, ranging from the soft, fresh (young) kind to the more mature, harder, crumbly kind.
Peperoncino
Chili pepper. In general the dried pods of the chili are used, crushed, in cooking.
Pinzimonio
A dish consisting of assorted, fresh, uncooked vegetables, chopped into bite-sized pieces. Each person has a small, individual bowl in which he mixes oil, salt and pepper to his own preference. He then dips his vegetables into the bowl to flavour.
Purèe
Mashed and creamed vegetables, or cooked fruit.
Purslane:
A small, round-leafed, herb-like plant used in salads.
Radicchio
A form of chicory or endive. It may be green or red and is eaten in salads, or grilled, baked, or used in risottos. Sharp- flavoured.
Rare
Meat, grilled, fried or roast leaving the meat red and tender on the inside.
Reduce
Simmer a sauce or gravy until it partially evaporates.
Ribbons
Indicates the consistency of a sauce or cream when it leaves a thick, smooth trail on the surface as it falls from the spoon.
Roulade
A round "parcel" of meat or fish, stuffed and rolled up.
Rucola
Rocket. A deliciously peppery salad plant.
Schiacciata
A flat bread, marked with dimples on the surface and baked with oil and salt sprinkled on top.
Sformato
A kind of savoury pudding, not unlike the filling used in a quiche.
Skim
Remove the excess fat which forms on the surface of a liquid or sauce.
Soften
Fry gently until transparent and no longer crisp.
Soprassata
Assorted cuts of pork, minced, chopped, dressed and flavoured in various ways, then "pressed" into a large sausage form. Served as a cold cut meat.
Spinach, turnip greens, Swiss chard
Most greengrocers sell these vegetables ready-prepared, boiled, then rolled and pressed into smallish balls.
Stew
Cook slowly, simmering with liquid in a covered casserole.
Stock
Liquid from stewed meats, cooked vegetables etc. used as a basis of soups, casserole, stews.
Whisk
Beat rapidly until smooth and frothy.



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