Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!

Frond and why it’s a good thing

on March 2, 2014

Many of you might have run across chefs making reference to the “frond” in the bottom of the pan when cooking. It’s one of the situations where if you look up the word you know exactly what they mean but they have to use a stupid word for it. A frond is basically the brown sticky bits in the bottom of the pan left over after you sear a piece of meat.

frond1

If you look in between the pieces of meat in the pot, you’ll see that there’s a nice brown layer on the bottom of the pot. That’s the frond. It’s pretty much all the tasty meat juices caramelized down onto the bottom of the pot. There’s a lot of good flavor in it so you want to preserve that flavor. The best way to do this is called “deglazing.”

Once you have the meat seared on all sides (over medium high heat in an oiled pot) you remove the meat and add a liquid to the hot pan. You then use a spoon to scrap the meat bits loose into the liquid. This releases all that flavor into your cooking liquid. Be careful because the pan is very hot and the liquid will steam up and boil right away. For today’s dish I used red wine.

deglazing1

Here you can see where I’ve added the red wine to the pot and scrapped the bottom with a spoon. There’s still bits of frond stuck to the pot but that will loosen up as the short ribs braise over low heat. I started with about half a bottle of red wine then added a quart of beef stock and two 15oz cans of diced tomatoes for the cooking liquid for my short ribs. The beef was seasoned with a smoked salt and black pepper before being seared. I’ve seasoned it with caramelized onions, garlic, bay leaves and herbes de province. After letting the meat simmer 4-5 hours I added some chunks of celery, carrots and mushrooms. It cooked for another hour or so then I thickened the gravy and served it over garlic mashed potatoes. It was very tasty.

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