To remove bones from a fish, so that only the flesh remains. The process depends on the type of fish. Though similar, it is different for flat fish, like a flounder, or round fish, like a trout. The best way to learn how is to purchase a cookbook with details or watch the cooking shows. If in doubt, your seafood monger will do it for you.


To gently separate into small pieces, usually with a fork or your fingers. Most commonly refers to cooked fish which, because of its texture, flakes easily.


To flame foods by dousing in some form of potable alcohol and setting alight.


To coat in flour


To make decorative indentations around the edge of pastries, vegetables or fruit.


To gently mix two or more ingredients together, where one is usually heavier than the other, in order to combine but preserve the texture of each. For example, to combine whipped cream or beaten egg whites with a heavy batter without deflating. First, stir a little of the whipped product into the batter to lighten it. Then add the remainder. Cut through the center with a rubber spatula, move across the bottom of the bowl towards the side, and gently bring up some of the heavy mixture. Continue, turning the bowl slightly each time, until combined. It is acceptable to leave a few streaks of egg whites when beating them into a batter.

Fricassee To cook by braising; usually applied to fowl or rabbit


To cook and brown food in a specified amount fat, usually done very quickly so that a minimal amount of the fat is absorbed into the food.



To enhance finished foods with flavor or visual appeal by using other edible products on the plate. The most common are herbs, but there are many other possibilities including, but not limited to, fruits, small vegetables and edible flowers.


The process of dipping or brushing, usually with a sugar-based liquid, to give flavor and a shiny finish to foods, such as roasted or grilled meats, fried pastries or baked goods.


To rub foods, such as cheeses, vegetables, citrus skins, spices or chocolate, against a grater. Alternately, you can use a processor or mixer blade. Size of grate is dependent upon recipe and/or taste.

Grill To cook food on a grill over hot coals or other heat source. The intense heat creates a crust on the surface of the food which seals in the juices.


To process foods finely in a grinder, processor or with 2 knives (in a drum roll fashion). Some examples are ground beef for hamburgers or ground pork for sausage, but there are preparations other than meats. The advantage of grinding your own is that you can control the texture (from fine to coarse), fat, seasonings and, if it is a concern, bacteria that can form in excessively or improperly handled processed foods. By the same token, be certain you know how to handle the foods safely while grinding.



To Leave fresh meat, especially game, to dry or become tender.


To create an emulsion by reducing all the particles to the same size. The fat globules are broken down mechanically until they are evenly distributed throughout the liquid.


Infuse To steep an aromatic ingredient in hot liquid until the flavor has been extracted and absorbed by the liquid. Teas are infusions. Milk or cream can also be infused with flavor before being used in custards or sauces.


Joint To cut meat and poultry into large pieces at the joints using a very sharp knife.

Julienne To cut vegetables, fruits, or cheeses into thin strips.



The process of working a dough to activate the gluten, which is the protein in flour that makes the dough cohesive. To knead by hand, place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Using the heel of the hand, press down on the dough in a forward motion. Then fold the dough over and press again. Continue the process until the dough is very smooth and elastic. For most recipes, it will take about 10 minutes. Alternately, the dough may be kneaded in a processor or heavy-duty standing mixer with a dough hook.

Knock Down or Punch Down or Knock Back

To punch or knead the air out of risen dough so that is resumes the volume it had before rising.



The process of thickening a sauce, soup, or stew. This is a mixture of cream and egg yolks that is used to thicken soups and sauces. Egg yolks must be tempered with hot liquid before adding to the liquid in order to prevent curdling. This process is also referred to as a "binder."


To insert strips of fat (lardons) or bacon into a dry cut of meat using a utensil called a larding needle. Larding makes the cooked meat more succulent and tender.


To add an ingredient, such as yeast, baking powder or baking soda, that adds gas to a dough or batter, causing it to expand, or rise, and lighten the texture of the finished product.


To cover the bottom and sides of a cassoulet, mold or terrine with a thin layer of bacon, pork fat, flavorings or pastry. Cake pans are frequently lined with parchment paper to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan after baking.


To slice onions into thin wedges. Sometimes refers to the inclusion of onions as a feature of a dish.