Cooking methods in the Culinary Arts world are divided into two categories: Dry Heat Cooking and Moist Heat Cooking. Last week’s class was all about Dry Cooking Methods – such as roasting, broiling, grilling, deep-frying or sautéing.
Dry heat cooking refers to any cooking technique where the heat is transferred to the food without using any moisture.
Baking or roasting in an oven is a dry heat method because it uses hot air to conduct the heat. Roasted foods should develop a rich roasted aroma and they should have a well-developed color.
Pan-searing or sautéing a piece of steak is considered dry heat cooking because the heat shift takes place through the hot metal of the pan. When you sauté something, it’s very important that you use a very hot pan. Be sure to also let the small amount of fat that you use get hot as well. You will develop a nice degree of browning on whatever you are pan-searing or sautéing.
Grilling and broiling rely on the heat being conducted through the air from an open flame. It is necessary that the food be very close to the heat source when you are grilling or broiling. Also be sure to flip the piece of meat so that it cooks evenly on both sides.
Since Deep-Frying involves putting food in hot, liquid fat, you would probably think that this is a Moist Cooking method and not a Dry Cooking method. But it is indeed a Dry Cooking method. Due to the high temperature involved and the high heat conduction of oil, the food cooks very quickly. The hot oil heats the water within the food, steaming it from the inside. Items that are deep fried are generally battered (other than potatoes or poultry with the skin still on) before being immersed in the oil.
The dish that I cooked in class was Pork Medallions with a Dijon Mustard Butter. This was absolutely phenomenal. I used a grill pan to cook the pork in, and let me tell you how it tasted like it was straight off the grill. I got some great grill marks on the meat and then finished it in the oven. The Dijon Mustard Butter was the perfect addition. There are so many different things you can do with this dish. Play around with the butter ingredients and you can create some awesome flavors.
We also made Banana Fritters in class. We coated some cut up bananas in a batter and then deep fried them in peanut oil. These little things were so delicious. They would be so good dipped in a caramel rum sauce – Mmmmm.