Friday, February 22, 2013

What is Al Dente? & What is a Cold Water Bath?

1 What is Al Dente?
In cooking, al dente describes pasta and (less commonly) rice or beans that have

been cooked so as to be firm but not hard.
"Al dente" also describes vegetables that are cooked to the "tender crisp" phase.
The term is also occasionally used in cooking vegetables, such as green beans or brussels sprouts.
The term "al dente" comes from Italian and means "to the tooth"
or "to the bite", referring to the need to chew the pasta due to its firmness.
Al dente refers to the desired texture of cooked pasta in Italian cooking. It literally means "to the tooth". When the pasta is cooked al dente, there should be a slight resistance in the center when the pasta is chewed.
Learning to cook to the al dente stage needs practice.
The difference between under cooked or over cooked and al dente is a matter of seconds which requires keeping a close watch on them.
When having drained the pasta in a colander and wish to prevent them from sticking, toss it with a tablespoon of oil.

2 What is a Cold Water Bath?
A cold water bath is a cooking technique that immediately arrests the process of whatever you are cooking by directly immersing it in cold or even ice water. 

The simplest cold water bath is to pour cold water on foods like pasta while it still sits in the colander.
This can help keep your pasta al dente for recipes like pasta salad. Placing food in cold water is also common when you’re blanching, or lightly cooking, vegetables for use as 

a side and in salads.
The reason chefs employ a cold water bath is because food that is heated will continue to cook slightly, even after it is removed from the heat.

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