There’s just something different about dining out – the food seems to taste better, the flavors are deeper and the presentation is more visually pleasing. But you can save yourself some money eating out each week by learning how to create a restaurant-quality plate all by yourself. A classic cooking course can set you up with the skills you’ll need to whip up a professional grade meal from the comfort of your own kitchen. In the meantime, keep all of these expert cooking tips in mind to fill your dinner table with delicious and memorable cuisine:
Add fat to your vegetables
You would think that adding fat to your vegetables completely takes away the purpose of eating healthy altogether. However, veggies only absorb a small amount of the fat, but a whole lot of flavor. This may even help your kids to eat their vegetables! Infusing fat into your veggies is easy – just combine aromatics and fat into a saucepan and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Then add the vegetables of your choice and simmer for another 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the veggies. When you’re done, strain the excess liquid, which can then be used for more vegetables.
One ingredient, multiple flavors
Don’t have many ingredients on-hand for dinner? No problem. Chefs often create an entire dish with just a few items because they know how to repurpose them to change the texture and flavor. For instance, you can roast carrots for a strong, smoky flavor, serve them raw to add some extra crunch, or and pickle for a more tart taste.
Char your citrus fruits
Most of the time, charring an ingredient won’t do much in the way of flavor for your overall dish. But when it comes to cooking citrus, charring may actually be preferred. According to “Chopped” chef Amanda Freitag, charring can really bring out the sweetness of oranges and lemons while drowning out the acidity. Cooked citrus fruits can contribute a robust flavor to roast chicken, vinaigrettes and grilled fish.
Use the right tools
Choose your pans wisely when it comes to cooking steak. A cast-iron skillet is going to retain heat better than any other pan and will give your cut of meat that perfect carmelization on the outside. Fish should also be cooked on a heavy cast-iron skillet that’s coated with oil to get that sought-after golden brown, crispy skin. To get that crunchy texture, press on the filet with a flexible spatula until the fish flattens out.