The latest edition of The Bon Appétit Cookbook is available, improving readability and adding new recipes. This excerpt covers a variety of cooking tips, from making breadcrumbs and loosening poultry skin to removing lobster tail meat and deveining shrimp.
When our recipes call for fresh breadcrumbs, we mean soft, moist crumbs made from fresh bread. Tear bread (with crusts, unless the recipe specifies "crust-less") into pieces and grind in batches in a processor fitted with a metal blade to a fine or coarse texture. To make dry breadcrumbs, cut fresh bread into cubes and spread them on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F until dry but not colored, about 15 minutes. Cool, then grind in processor to crumbs.
TIP: If using packaged breadcrumbs, we recommend panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), which are unseasoned.
This method is terrific when you don't have time to let beans soak overnight. Put the beans in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover by three inches. Do not cover. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue simmering for two minutes. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for two hours. Drain.
Many recipes require that poultry skin be loosened in order to create a space in which to place herb sprigs, or to spread a flavored butter or marinade. To do this, find an area on the side of the breast where the skin can be lifted easily to create a space. Slide two to three fingertips between the chicken breast skin and meat and move from side to side to loosen (the skin stretches easily, but be careful to move slowly to prevent tears).
Carefully pull off the shrimp legs. Beginning at the wide end, peel off the entire shell. If the recipe calls for the tails to be left intact, firmly grasp the tail before beginning to remove the shell (this will ensure that the tail stays attached). Holding the shrimp between the thumb and index finger, use a small sharp knife to make a shallow slit along the center back of the shrimp to expose the vein. Place the shrimp under running water and pull out the vein.
Lobster cooking instructions often suggest cutting straight down the middle of the lobster; we use a different technique that enables you to remove the tail in one piece. Place the lobster tail on a work surface, shell side down. Using kitchen scissors and starting at the wide end, cut all the way down one side to the end of the tail. Repeat on the oppo site side. Pull back the membrane to free the tail meat.Pull out the tail meat in one piece. The tail can now be sliced into medallions.
The Bon Appétit Cookbook
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created November 2006
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