Saturday, January 08, 2005

Back to Basics

Two traditional preparation techniques for roasted foods that are naturally lean are barding (tying thin sheets of fatback, bacon, or caul fat around a food) and larding (inserting small strips of fatback into a food). The extra fat helps keep the meat tender and juicy. Venison, wild boar, game birds, and certain cuts of beef or lamb may be candidates for barding or larding.

Variations using different products are also employed to add flavor to roasted foods. For example, a roast, rather than being larded with fatback, may be studded with slivers of garlic. The garlic will not have the same tenderizing effect as the fatback, but it will add plenty of flavor.

Today, with increased concern over the amount of fat in diets, every trace of visible fat or skin is often removed in an effort to reduce fat, even though the amount of fat releasted from skin or fat layers as foods roast does not penetrate far into the meat. Fat and skin provide some protection from the drying effects of an oven without dramatically changing the amount of fat, and foods stripped of their natural protection of fat or skin can become dry and lose flavor. If roasts are drastically trimmed, an alternative "skin" should be added in the form of a coating or crust made from such ingredients as seasoned dried potato flakes, rice flakes, corn flakes, cornmeal, or finely ground dried mushrooms. Or the fat or skin may be left in place during roasting and removed just before serving.
The Professional Chef, 7th Edition
by The Culinary Institute of America

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