If you've ever read a recipe and were unfamiliar with a term or technique mentioned in it, get "The Basics" by award-winning author Filip Verheyden. Every technique in this pocket-size manual, no matter how elementary, is illustrated with a photograph.

To Bard

Barding is a classic French culinary technique that involves covering or wrapping food -- usually with something fatty -- in order to keep it moist and add flavor.

- Used on lean foods, such as poultry, fish, meat, and vegetables.

- Bacon is often used to cover the food.

Classic Pairings: chicken breast (bard with bacon), pork loin (bard with pancetta), fish (bard with caul fat)

To Lard

Larding involves studding or inserting flavoring into something to be cooked.

- You can lard with almost anything, including strips of bacon, spices, and garlic.

- The flavors penetrate during cooking.

Classic Pairings: beef (lard with garlic and rosemary), onion (lard with cloves and add to stock), hedgehog potatoes (lard with fresh bay leaves), rosemary skewers (lard with chicken kebabs)

To Dry Marinate

Dry marinating involves placing aromatic flavorings -- such as herbs and spices -- on and around an ingredient, which is then weighted and refrigerated.

- Weighting ensures penetration.

- The flavorings used contain salt, which draws out moisture.

Use This Technique With: gravlax (salt, sugar, pepper, fresh dill) and salmon

To Wet Marinate

Wet marinating produces juicy, flavorful results.

- This technique is often used with tough cuts of meat.

- The marinade can include red wine, vegetables, herbs, or spices.

- Marinating time can range from two hours to one day.

Use This Technique With: short ribs (marinate in red wine, carrots, celery, onions, and fresh thyme)

To Infuse

Infusing is the process of macerating aromatic flavorings in a hot liquid.

- Liquids are usually brought to a boil before infusing.

Use This Technique With: water (infuse with lemongrass, fresh chiles, cilantro roots, fresh ginger, or kaffir lime leaves)

To Dry

Drying involves removing all the moisture from food.

- Food must be sliced very thin, placed on a baking sheet, and kept in a low oven with the door ajar.

Use This Technique With: prosciutto, pears, and apples

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