Culinary Terms

A B C D E F G H J K L M N P R S T V W Z

A

Abats
Offal - the entrails and internal organs of a butchered animal other than muscles or bones.
Aioli
[French] a cold egg and oil emulsion with olive oil and garlic.
Antipasto
Italian for snacks served before a meal – an assortment of cold appetizer.
Aspic
A clear jelly typically made of stock and gelatin and used as a glaze or garnish or to make a mold of meat, fish, or vegetables.
Assiette
French for Plate.
Aubergine
French for Eggplant.

B

Bain-marie
The French term for the cooking technique we call a water bath . It consists of placing a container (baking pan, bowl, soufflé dish, etc.) of food in a large, shallow pan of warm water, which surrounds the food with gentle heat. The food may be cooked in this manner either in an oven or on top of a range. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces and mousses without breaking or curdling them. It can also be used to keep cooked foods warm.
Beignets
A fried pastry which is a cross between a cruller & doughnut without the hole, a square shaped confection served hot and liberally sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Black Pudding
Black sausage made from seasoned pig blood, fat, oatmeal and a range of different seasonings
Bulgogi
A popular Korean beef dish. It is made from thinly sliced marinated steak that is cut into thin strips before cooking.

C

Canapé
A small, prepared and usually decorative appetizer, often able to be eaten in one bite.
Cantelope
Italian for Rock melon.
Carpaccio
Italian for "thin shavings". Very thin slices of raw beef or fish.
Ceviche
Raw seafood marinated or "cooked" in a citrus mixture.
Châteaubriand
A double-thick, tender center cut of beef tenderloin, sometimes stuffed with seasonings before grilling.
Chiffonade
Leafy vegetables or herbs cut into fine shreds; often used as a garnish.
Chorizo
A spicy, coarse textured pork sausage.
Confit
Meat, such as duck, that has been salted, then cooked and preserved in its own fat.
Consommé
A clear soup, served hot or as a cold jelly.
Coulis
A thick puree of vegetables or fruit.
Courgette
French for Zucchini.
Couscous
A granular pasta originating in North Africa, usually made from semolina.
Couscous
small, spherical bits of semolina dough that are rolled, dampened and coated with a finer wheat flour; a staple of the North African diet.

D

Dégustation
French term for any kind of tasting — cheese, wine, etc. (Dégustation menu: Tasting menu).
Daikon
A white radish from Japan, having a long root that is eaten raw, pickled, or cooked.
Demi-glace
"Half-glaze." A mixture of equal proportions of brown stock & brown sauce that has been reduced by half. One of the grand sauces.
Demi-tasse
The French term for a small coffee cup not exceeding 3 fl.oz (50ml).

E

Etouffé
French for Smothered. A cooking method similar to braising in which items are cooked with little or no added liquid in a pan with a tight-fitting lid.

F

Fattoush
A salad made from moistened toasted bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, mint, and other ingredients.
Fritto Misto
An Italian mixed fried platter, similar to the Japanese tempura platter. A mixture of vegetables, meat, and/or fish are dipped in a light batter and quickly deep fried to prevent a saturation of grease into the food.

G

Gazpacho
A chilled soup made with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, and herbs.
Granita
A granular dessert ice with a sugar-syrup base, usually flavored with fruit purée, coffee, or wine.

H

Horiatiki
This is your basic Greek salad, familiar to many. Horiatiki means village-style.
Horissa
A spicy North African sauce made from chili peppers, garlic, cumin, and other seasonings.
Hors d’œuvre
Appetizers

J

Jullienne
Vegetables or other items cut into thin strips; 1/8-inch square x 1 to 2 inches is standard.
Jus
French for juice. Jus refers to the unthickened juices from roasted meat.

K

Keftedes
Fried Greek meatballs. Usually made of veal, lamb, beef, or a combination of the three along with onion, garlic, bread, mint, parsley and red wine.

L

Lardon
Small strips of pork belly used to enhance flavour and/or garnish dishes.

M

Macedoine
Hot or cold mixed diced fruits or vegetables.
Mascarpone
A soft Italian cheese that is a delicately flavored tripple cream cheese. Often used in the same fashion as whipped cream, it is an important ingredient in Tiramisu.
Millefeuille
The literal French translation is, "a thousand leaves"; flaky pastry the Middle East introduced into European cuisine.

N

Nori
Thin sheets of dried seaweed.

P

Paella
A Spanish rice dish originating in the town of Valencia. There is no exact recipe. The only ingredients that are necessary for paella are rice, tomatoes, and saffron. Other ingredients are chicken, chorizo, mussels, squid, peppers, and beans. More elaborate preparations may include shrimp, lobster, or duck.
Paillards
A slice of veal, chicken, or beef that is pounded until very thin and cooked quickly.
Pancetta
Italian bacon that has been cured in salt and spices and then air-dried.
Parmigiano Reggiano
A very good quality Italian Parmesan Cheese.
Pavé
A square-shaped, aspic-coated mousse made of meat, fish or poultry, usually served cold. It can also be made with a sweet mousse.
Plat du jour
Dish of the day.
Polenta
A mush made from cornmeal. It can be eaten hot or allowed to cool and set. It is then sliced.
Praline
A sweet made of almonds and sugar.
Proscuitto
The Italian word for ham, usually referring to the raw cured hams of Parma.

R

Ragoût
[French] A thick rich stew.
Ragu
[Italian] Meat and tomato sauce. Typically served with pasta.
Raison d’être
[French] literally meaning "reason to be" – Signature dish.
Rillete
[French] A smooth paste made from pork or poultry meat cooked in lard.
Rissoler
To fry meat until brown
Rosti
Finely grated potato, pan fried.
Rump cap
A cut of meat prepared from a rump by removal of the cap muscle along the natural seam.

S

Sabayon
A light, frothy mixture made by beating egg yolks with water or other liquid over gentle heat.
Salmorigio
Calabrese and Sicilian condiment of olive oil, salt, garlic, oregano, parsley and lemon, often used as an easy sauce for seafood.
Sauté
To cook quickly in a pan until the food is browned.
Semifreddo
Italian for "half cold", Unchurned ice cream made of egg yolk and cream.
Sommelier
A French term used to describe the wine steward in a restaurant.
Sous Vide
French for "under vacuum". This is a method of cooking that is intended to maintain the integrity of ingredients by heating them for an extended period of time at relatively low temperatures. Food is cooked, in some cases for well over 24 hours, in airtight plastic bags placed in hot water that is well below boiling point.
Spatchcock
"A guinea hen" (chicken).
Sumac
Cherry red spice used for its sour taste, is often mixed with Za'atar.
Sushi
Rice rolled with vegetables, fish, or pickles, then wrapped in nori and sliced into rounds.
Sweetbreads
The thymus glands of veal, young beef, lamb and pork.

T

Tagine
A stew of tender mutton cooked with onions, prunes, and nuts. Often decorated with hardboiled eggs and eaten with bread.
Tamarind
Also known as Indian date. Tamarind pulp concentrate is popular as a flavoring in East Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. It's used to season full-flavored foods such as chutneys & curries.
Tapas
Spanish for appetizer.
Tataki
Grilled on the surface, then sliced – eg seared red beef.
Tatin
A famous French upside-down TART made by covering the bottom of a shallow baking dish with butter and sugar, then fruit and finally a pastry crust. While baking, the sugar and butter create a delicious CARAMEL that becomes the topping when the tart is inverted onto a serving plate.
Tempura
A Japanese method of cooking vegetables and shellfish. They are coated with a light cornstarch batter and deep-fried.
Tuile
Thin almond biscuit.
Tumbet
A ratatouille-type dish made with eggplant, zucchini, onions, tomatoes & potatoes.

V

Vacherin
A crisp, sweet meringue shell used as a serving vessel for fruit and ice cream.
Velouté
A sauce of chicken, veal or seafood stock thickened with white roux; one of the grand sauces.
Vièrge
French literally meaning virgin. (Sauce vièrge typically refers to extra vergin olive oil).
Vigneron
Is a French word that translates as "winegrower".
Vincotto
A rich fruit vinegar glaze made with cooked pressed grapes.

W

Wagyu
A breed of cattle genetically predisposed to intense marbling, and produces a high percentage of oleaginous, unsaturated fat. In its most famous form, Wagyu beef is known as Kobe Beef when it is raised in the Kobe prefecture of Japan.
Wakame
A brown seaweed native to the coasts of China, Japan, and Korea, having a short stipe and pinnately divided blades, extensively used in Asian cooking.
Wasabi
Hot Japanese horseradish.

Z

Za’atar
A Middle-Eastern spice blend based on Syrian Hyssop, which grows wild in the region. It's character is reminiscent of marjoram, thyme or oregano, though it is not quite as pungent as oregano.
Zabaglione
A dessert consisting of egg yolks, sugar, and wine or liqueur beaten until thick.

Chef's Recipes