We all want our food to be packed with flavour. It makes a world of difference and turns food from boring to immensely satisfying. There are a few things that any cook can do to enhance a dish with out compromising the original recipe. They are incredibly simple to incorporate.
1. ADD SALT
A pinch of salt can be the difference between a gourmet meal and a mediocre dish. A little goes a long way but salt allows your palate to get depth of the flavour. Salt has gotten a bad rep over the last 30-40 or so years. Many come to believe that salt is the enemy. It is not surprising that so many people are anti salt because of the bombardment of government officials telling us over and over that salt raises our blood pressure. Due to recent studies scientist have discovered that the correlation between salt and blood pressure is completely genetic. One person will experience hypertension (high blood pressure) while another, no change what so ever based on an identical salt intake. Salt contains essential minerals and micro nutrients for our bodies to function properly. So knowing your body and how it reacts to salt is they key. Refined Sugar is the enemy, not salt.
2. USE MIREPOIX
You may have heard of the french trio of vegetables. Mirepoix is a combination of onion, carrot and celery used with a ratio of 2:1:1. Although old school, Mirepoix adds a noticeable flavour boost to most soups and sauces. Roast a chicken on a bed of mirepoix and the vegetables will perfume the meat as steam rises into the chicken. Or sauté off some to begin a base for your favourite soup recipe.
The technique of caramelization will make your dishes much more delicious. Think about a steak, would you enjoy a steak that was boiled? Probably not. What makes steaks so desirable is the caramelization that occurs when we barbecue or sear the meat. The natural sugars are browned giving the meat not only texture but much more flavour. All vegetables have the same caramelization potential, especially vegetables from the Cruciferous family. These are vegetables like cabbage, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower etc. These vegetables will develop deep brown caramelization when heat is applied with enough force. Next time you have some brussels sprouts for example, cut them in half and boil them in salted water for 4 minutes. Remove from the water and pat them dry, heat a pan on high. Add the brussels and sear until golden to dark brown. Add your favourite seasoning and enjoy!
4. SEASON WITH ACIDITY
Acid works almost like salt because you can season food with it. Acidity can brighten up and make flavours pop in a dish. A little lime juice on watermelon will bring out the sweetness, or a squeeze of lemon on fried food cuts the richness making it more palatable and lighter to eat. This is why vinaigrettes work so perfect with salad. The vinegar seasons the salad and the oil helps the vinegar coat every piece of lettuce or vegetable.
5. USE BONE BROTHS
Using bone broths are not only amazing for your health but once the bones are broken down and the nutrients start to disperse throughout the water an amino acid called Glutamate is released. If you add salt to glutamate you have sodium glutamate which is a type of MSG. MSG is a natural occurring chemical compound that adds a characteristic umami flavour to food. For you vegetarians out there, mushrooms contain high amounts of glutamate too!
6. DON'T BE AFRAID OF FAT
Fat is not only delicious but also versatile. It can add great texture to a dish as well as make food taste better. Fat helps coat the palate to hep distribute flavour on the tongue providing a wider rage of taste buds being used therefore more taste is well.. tasted! Fat is the essence of lingering taste. Adding a bit of cream to a soup can deepen the flavour, confit a duck leg to help keep it moist or gently fold butter or lard into flour to make a flakey pie crust.
If you were to combine all 5 of these tips into one single dish you are guaranteed to have a boost of flavour in there!