Ever wondered why it is so hard to replicate those restaurant flavours at home? The sexy meat sauces, the crispy fish skin with a moist interior, and the pillowy gnocchi are all things that we home cooks covet. Restaraunts have the time to make the fuss, they have ingredients which are hard for us to get, and there is no hesitation on using fat to make things richer.
Yes, lets talk about fat. They use a lot of fat. No really, a lot of fat and different fats too. If you didn’t realize the word “confit” means to cook something submerged in duck fat, pay attention to the next menu you read as you may see duck confit, but you may also see confit onions, confit potatoes and confit lamb. Order it, it’s delicious.
Almost all pan sauces are finished with a touch of cold butter. Butter helps to mellow out the richness of a sauce and also make it shiny and attractive. Plus when you are searing or sauteing food you need enough oil for the food not to stick, restaurants aren’t shy about adding the oil. Try this yourself, you can always drain off the oil after you have finished sauteing something.
One of the main differences between you and a professional cook is time. Some fine dining restaurants that are only open for dinner start working on that dinner at 11am, and there are several people preparing for that. They can prepare sauces, starches, and almost everything partially ahead of time and still have it taste amazing. Oh and they can do it at least ten times faster then you can.
Last but not least is their ingredients. Now of course you can, for the most part, acquire the same ingredients that a restaurant can, but not all. Fresh lobster mushrooms, trout roe, ostrich, and sea asparagus aren’t available in the local grocery store. At least not mine. Plus certain ingredients, like high end cuts of beef, never make it to the consumer market and are purchased way earlier in the supply chain by restaurants.
So here is my advice, buy yourself some butter, give yourself an hour and make an amazing home cooked meal – it may not be just like eating out, but it was made with love. Plus, you can eat it in your underwear if you want to. What do you think?