by Jay Kitterman, consultant, LLCC Culinary Institute
When you dine out and see a food item that you are not familiar with, are you too embarrassed to ask your server what it is? Carol assumes that because I work at the Lincoln Land Community College Culinary Program that I know all. I must admit, often I do not know and attribute it to my “senior moments.” For today’s article I have selected items from some of our local restaurant menus and provide a short glossary. Feel free to use it as a quiz for your favorite dining partner.
Amuse-bouche (ah-mooz-boosh) Single, bite-sized appetizer to prepare you for the meal, normally served according to the chef’s selection and not ordered from a menu by you. French for “mouth amuser.” Normally complimentary.
Artisan A type of food that is not mass produced, but handmade, and includes cheese and bread making, charcuterie and other foods that may involve a fermentation process. Artisan food may be developed during a long period of time.
Arugula is a leafy green herb of the mustard family. Known also as rocket, Italian cress, roquette, and rucola, it has elongated dark green leaves. In the ground, the plant resembles a loose lettuce with long, slender leaves. This herb is related to both the radish and watercress, and the flavor of the leaves is similarly hot and peppery. Native to the Mediterranean region, arugula has been grown as a vegetable since the Roman era. The Romans ate the leaves, used the seeds to flavor oil, and made aphrodisiac and medicinal compounds from the plant. Arugula is very low in calories and is a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, calcium and magnesium.
Bisque (bisk) Popular at this time of the year, bisque is a smooth, creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin. It can be made from lobster, langoustine, crab, shrimp or crayfish. One of my favorites is tomato bisque.
Carpaccio (kahr-pah-choh) Thinly sliced raw meat, pork or fish. Usually served as an appetizer.
Brushetta (broo-skedə) Toasted Italian bread drenched in olive oil and served typically with garlic or tomatoes
Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains stracciatella (variety of gelato) and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. It is also defined by some sources as an outer shell of mozzarella filled with butter or a mixture of butter and sugar.
Calamari (kälə-märē) favorite of my son and granddaughters. It is often served as an appetizer. True calamari is squid. Calamari is Italian for squid. Since calamari seems to sound more palatable than squid, you most often see squid recipes listed as calamari on restaurant menus.
Ceviche (suy-vee-chey) A seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of Latin America. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime.
Confit (kɒnfi/, French pronunciation: [kɔ̃fi]) comes from the French word confire which means “to preserve, any type of food that is cooked slowly over a long period of time as a method of preservation.”
Confit as a cooking term describes when food is cooked in grease, oil or sugar water (syrup) at a lower temperature, as opposed to deep frying. While deep frying typically takes place at temperatures of 160–230 °C (325–450 °F), confit preparations are done at a much lower temperature, such as an oil temperature of around 90 °C (200 °F), sometimes even cooler.
Crème fraiche (krem-fresh) is a type of thick cream made from heavy cream with the addition of buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt. It is widely used in France, where the cream is unpasteurized and contains the “friendly” bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. Since it does not curdle when boiled, it is the ideal thickener for many sauces and soups. Vegetables (particularly potatoes) benefit from a dollop of it. It is also delicious on fresh fruit, cakes, cobblers and puddings.
Crudo (kru-do) A dish of raw fish or seafood, typically dressed with oil, citrus and seasonings.
Em papilote (ahn pa-peeyawt) A method of cooking in a folded parcel, usually parchment paper or in my case much easier to seal with aluminum foil.
Harissa (hah-ree-suh) A North African spoide mixture containing chilli, cumin, garlic, coriander and olive oil.
Heirloom plant species are vegetables, flowers and fruits grown from seeds that are passed down from generation to generation, Generally, an heirloom vegetable is a variety that is at least 50 years old and grown from seeds passed down through several generations of growers. Open-pollination (the seeds produce their own offspring plants) is the hallmark of most heirlooms, unlike hybrid veggies and fruits, which are born out of a merger of two different species.
Hummus is an Arabic dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas or other beans, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is popular in the Middle East and in Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe. Hummus has become very popular and the other day at Schnucks there were over a dozen varieties.
Panna cotta (pahn-nah-kot-tah) A cold Italian custard, often served with fruit sauce or caramel syrup.
Pancetta (panˈt͡ʃetːta]) is an Italian bacon made of pork belly meat that is salt cured and spiced with black pepper and sometimes other spices. Pancetta in Italy is often consumed raw.
Pavlova (pav-luh-vuh) A dessert consisting of a meringue base or shell filled with whipped cream and fruit.
Pho (fuh) A type of Vietnamese soup, typically made from beef stock and spices to which noodles and thinly sliced beef or chicken are added.
Quinoa (KEEN-wah) While quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain (similar to regular white rice, brown rice and other grains such as wheat and barley), it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley.
Risotto (riz-oh-toe) is a northern Italian rice dish cooked in a broth to a creamy consistency. The broth can be derived from meat, fish or vegetables. Many types of risotto contain butter, wine and onion. It is one of the most common ways of cooking rice in Italy.
Romesco (ru-mesku) A term from Spanish (especially Catalan) cookery: a sauce of red peppers, nuts, garlic and other ingredients.
Tartare (tahr-tahr) food item served raw. Typically steak tartare is a meat dish made from raw ground meat. It is often served with onions, capers and seasonings, sometimes with a raw egg yolk, and often on rye bread.
The past month has been very exciting for our culinary community. Two new chef-owned restaurants opened in in Springfield. We are strong supporters of the “buy local” program and encourage you to support all of the independent dining establishments in Springfield.
May this Thanksgiving bring warmth and peace to your home this holiday season and remember to always praise the cook.
One of our favorite restaurants is the Columbia Restaurant located at St. Armand’s Circle in Sarasota, Florida. They have kindly provided me the following recipe.
Pompano en Papillot
¼ pound butter
1 ¾ pounds fresh Pompano fillet
2 ½ cups shrimp, Crabmeat Artichoke Mix (see recipe below)
Parchment paper (4 pieces, approximately 11″ × 17″ pieces)
Melt butter. Cut the pompano into 8 equal fillets and season with Columbia Seasoning*. Working one sheet at a time, brush half of the parchment paper with melted butter and place seasoned fillet on top. Layer approximately ¾ cup of shrimp, crabmeat and artichoke mix on top of the fillet. Place second fillet on mix and top with 2 tablespoons of butter. Fold paper over (corner to corner), crimp edges to form half circle, and close pouch. Once all four pouches have been formed, place on a baking sheet and cook in a 400° oven for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Once the fish is cooked through, remove from the baking sheet and place on individual plates. Use a sharp knife to cut pouches open.