Contributed by Stephan Essex
Everyone who loves to cook wants their food to be full of flavor. If you’re a foodie, you know there’s a difference between a tasty meal and one that’s packed full of flavor. However, even if you know the difference, you might still struggle to get those levels of flavor into your food. Or perhaps you’re only just starting to take cooking seriously. You’re not sure how to lift up your food and make it magical. If you want to improve your cooking, there are some fundamental things you should do. Lock flavor into your food by ensuring you take the essential steps in this article.
Research the Best Cooking Times and Methods
Everything edible should be cooked in different ways and for different lengths of time. You won’t always want the same results from the same type of food, of course. Sometimes you will want carrots to be crunchy and sweet, while other times you will want them soft and savory. But there are still do’s and don’ts in cooking, no matter what you cook or how you cook it. For example, it’s very easy to make spinach taste awful by overcooking it. Some cuts of beef need to be cooked quickly for the best results, while others should be cooked low and slow.
Seal Before Cooking
One of the best ways to lock in flavor is to literally shut it in. There are several ways you can wrap up your food to stop all those valuable juices and nutrients escaping. One of the methods you can use is cooking something “en papillote”. This technique of wrapping your food in paper, or sometimes foil, allows it to cook itself in the steam it releases. The flavors can’t escape and will all be there when you open the package. A more recent method is cooking things sous vide. This involves using a vacuum sealer to seal food in a plastic bag and cook it in a water bath. You can control the temperature of the water to get it just right for whatever you cook.
Learn to Use Herbs and Spices
You probably follow lots of recipes that tell you to use herbs and spices. But how comfortable are you with using them on your own? Do you ever throw in some extra or cut back, or do you follow the recipe to the letter? Being able to taste your food and decide what it needs to flavor it is essential. You should get to know different herbs and spices and the what you can pair them with.
Don’t Be Afraid of the “Bad” Things
There are lots of things we’re told we shouldn’t eat. But removing substances like fat, salt, and alcohol from dishes alters the flavor. Sometimes we need these things to make our food taste good. As long as you have them in moderation, it’s usually fine to include them in your diet. Focus on limiting them and not on cutting them out completely.
Knowing a few simple tips and tricks can put more flavor into your food. However, it will also come with practice, so keep experimenting.