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Chef Flavor Secret: How to Use “Fond”

Chef Flavor Secret: How to Use “Fond”

Highlights
    • START WITH STEAK. Create and learn how to use fond by Pan-Frying a Steak.
    • BEYOND PAN SAUCE. Use most any liquid to deglaze—beer, stock, fruit juices, vinegar or brandy. Then add additional liquid to braise meat or create the base of a soul-warming soup.
    • GET RICH. Stirring a few pats of cold butter into a warm pan sauce at the very end of cooking adds an extra-special note.

Wait, don’t wash that pan! See that sticky stuff left on the bottom after browning meat, seafood or vegetables? It has a name—it’s called “fond” and it’s a cook’s best friend. If you know how to use it, you can add deeper flavor and dimension to your cooking with a simple deglaze. It takes only seconds to do and is worth every one.

WHAT IS FOND (PRONOUNCED “FAHN”)?

Look closely at those small roasted bits stuck to the bottom of your pan. Consider those concentrated flavor bombs left when amino acids and sugars in your food are exposed to high heat upon searing, sautéing or roasting. In other words, fond is produced by a tasty chemical process called the “Maillard reaction.” This is slightly different from caramelizing, though it looks and tastes similar.

HOW DO I MAKE FOND?

Start with a stainless-steel sauté pan that’s a suitable size for the meat or vegetables you plan to cook (not too small, not too big), such as the REVERE® COPPER CONFIDENCE CORE™ 3-QT STAINLESS STEEL SAUTÉ PAN. Turn your burner to medium-high heat and let the pan come to that temperature. Add a bit of oil—olive, grapeseed, canola or any oil with a high smoke point. Once hot, add your steak, peppers or whatever you’re searing or sautéing. Make sure ingredients are dry (blot with a paper towel); otherwise, they won’t reach the temperature they need to brown. Add seasonings and let cook for a few minutes until browning is achieved before flipping over.

ARE YOU SURE IT’S NOT BURNT?

Leave those browned bits on the burner for too long or cook your ingredients at too high a temperature and, yes, you can burn them. A little char is fine, but too much adds bitterness. This is where the nose test comes in handy. If it has that burnt smell, scrape out your pan with a wooden spoon and give it a thorough washing before using again. Fond can be very dark brown, but its aroma should be toasty, roasty and rich. Smell that and you know you’ve got the good stuff.

NOW WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?

With all these complex flavors at your fingertips, you now have the makings of an excellent pan sauce. Remove your ingredients, pour off any excess fat and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic for additional flavor; sauté until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add 1/2 cup of white or red wine. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan vigorously with a wooden spoon the moment you add the liquid so it all melds together. This is called “deglazing.” Next, add about 1 cup of water or the broth of your choosing. Gently simmer until sauce reduces. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over your dish and taste the magic. Fond-tastic!

YOUR TURN: What other classic cooking techniques have you puzzled? Share in the comments below so we can help! #revereware

 

Highlights
    • START WITH STEAK. Create and learn how to use fond by Pan-Frying a Steak.
    • BEYOND PAN SAUCE. Use most any liquid to deglaze—beer, stock, fruit juices, vinegar or brandy. Then add additional liquid to braise meat or create the base of a soul-warming soup.
    • GET RICH. Stirring a few pats of cold butter into a warm pan sauce at the very end of cooking adds an extra-special note.