When cooking, it’s amazing how the smallest details can transform a dish from good to outstanding. On Tuesday we joined Chef Jamie Bissonnette (Toro Boston & NYC, Coppa) at the BCAE for a class on Tapas, and while we learned plenty about cooking the dishes he had lined up for us, we were equally impressed by the small but powerful tips he shared throughout the class. Here are a few of our favorite little tricks we learned…
1. Use a rubber bowl scraper to transfer ingredients
When you chop something finely on a cutting board, most people will use their knife to transfer the ingredients from board to bowl. Jamie explains that this will actually dull your knife over time. Instead, keep a rubber bowl scraper handy when you need to transfer your ingredients. Your knives will stay sharper for longer, and your wallet will thank you.
2. Season from up high
Ever eaten a dish that was unevenly seasoned? That's about to change. Jamie recommends adding salt and other seasonings from up high, ensuring that the entire surface of the dish is evenly seasoned. If you need to sweep up excess salt from the kitchen counter and floor when you’re done, that means you’re doing it right, says Jamie.
3. Chive hack
Chopping chives into small, even pieces can be a challenge for even the most skilled home cook. Thankfully Jamie taught the class a quick fix when it came time to add the chives to his fall veggie paella. Simply wrap a folded paper towel around the bunch and use it to help keep the chives together as you chop.
4. Get creative with your leftovers.
When the class arrived, there was bountiful spread of vegetables, meat, fish, and seasonings spread out on the counter. Were we really going to use all those ingredients? Yes, of course. Jamie has a knack for using leftover ingredients from one dish to create an entirely new dish. Leftover jamon and bleu cheese from your stuffed dates? Put it in between the leftover baguette from your pan con tomate and you have a delicious sandwich. Leftover Tuna after you’ve made crudo? Chop those pieces up and transform them into a tartare.
5. Prep ahead of time
When you’re entertaining a large group of people, the last thing you want to do is spend the whole night in the kitchen. Jamie recommends prepping anything and everything you can ahead of time. That way when your friends arrive you can whip up your dishes in a few minutes and spend the rest of your evening enjoying a few glasses of wine.
Now that you’ve learned a few of Jamie Bissonnette’s tricks, we want to hear from you! Do you have a favorite ‘kitchen hack’? Which of these tips are you eager to try? Let us know in the comments, or on Facebook or Twitter.