Essential French cooking terms

French cooking terms (M-Q)

Macédoine

A salad of small pieces of mixed vegetables or fruit.

Marmite

French word for a covered earthenware container for soup. The soup is both cooked and served in it. Not to be confused with the product Marmite!

Mesclum

A mix of lettuce leaves and herbs.

Mirepoix

A mixture of braising vegetables, usually celery, carrots and onions.

Mise en place

Mise en place is translates as “putting in place”, as in getting all your preparation in place – tasks like washing mussels, peeling and preparing vegetables or weighing out some of the ingredients in advance.

Moulè-â-manqué

A cake tin that is wider at the base than at the top and only about 2cm or 1inch in depth.

Napper

To coat, mask or cover with something.

Noisette

The word literally means ” hazelnuts “, but can also refer to something being nut brown in colour. For example, beurre noisette is butter browned over heat until it becomes a nut brown color. It can also refer to boneless rack of lamb that is rolled, tied and cut into rounds.

Nouvelle Cuisine

A term that refers to the style of cooking that features lighter dishes with lighter sauces and very fresh ingredients.

Panade

A very thick mixture usually made from a combination of flour, butter, and milk that is used as a base for dishes such as soufflés and fish cakes.

Papillote

Papillote is a wrapping of parchment paper around fish or meat used for cooking. The paper is used to retain moisture.

Parisienne

Refers to potatoes molded into balls with a melon scoop, and fried or roasted.

Pâte

A basic mixture or paste – often refers to uncooked dough, or pastry.

Pâté

A paste made of liver, pork or game.

Paysanne

Vegetables cut into thin slices.

Pâtisserie

A sweet or pastry, it also refers to a cake shop.

Persillade

A mixture of chopped garlic, shallots, parsley – sometimes breadcrumbs are added too.

Piquer

To insert fat, such as bacon into meat or poultry.

Portefeuille

A French term describing dishes in which the food is stuffed, folded, or placed in layers. Common preparations of this type are omelets, gratins, or stuffed chicken breast.

Poussin

A young chicken.

Quadrillage

To sear the crosshatched grill lines onto food.

Quenelle

Quenelle is a minced fish or meat mixture that is formed into small shapes and then poached. It also refers to the shape that the minced mixture is made into.

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