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Balancing flavours


Balancing flavours
In the kitchen, we sometimes use ingredients that can be a little overwhelming in taste.

Grilled lardons, for example, are very good, they give a great taste to a lot of recipes where they are added, but you have to be objective, they're still pretty fatty!
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Last modified on: November 7th 2020

Keywords for this post:FlavorsTastesBalanceNuance
Balancing flavours
And as a result, this fatty, suave side can sometimes be a little too much, when you add these lardons to something a little busy, tone on tone, for example a tartiflette.

tartiflette


The point here is not to try and lighten things up (after all, "fat is life"), but rather to try and accompany this flavor.
You might think that discarding the cooking fat and keeping only the "dry" lardons, and/or blanching them before cooking, would reduce the taste? Yes, a little, but not that much, in fact. They'll certainly be lower in calories, but their strong taste will still be there.

So what can you do?

I suggest giving your lardons a sort of tonic accent:

  1. Grill them as you usually do (say, a small frying pan over high heat, with the lardons alone in it).
  2. Once they're toasted to your liking, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar all at once. Be careful, it will boil and release very pungent fumes (start your hood first if you haven't already).
  3. Continue cooking for about 15/20 seconds, until most of the vinegar has evaporated.
  4. Remove from heat, and use in your recipe (allow to cool if necessary).

By proceeding in this way, you'll give the grilled lardons a hint of acidity that will balance, or counterbalance, the fatty, suave, original flavour.
This delicate nuance is the perfect accompaniment to your recipe.

So, you've seen the general rule: when there's a risk of a little too much fat, compensate with a little acidity.
Another example in the same spirit: enjoy rillettes (rather fatty) with a good glass of Bourgogne aligoté (rather acidic), each revealing the other, it's a delight...

Note that it also works the other way round, which is why creams or lemon preparations, for example, are often generously creamed or buttered to soften the acidity a little.

lemon curd




In short: with things that are quite fatty in taste, think about adding a little acidity, and in the other direction, a little cream or butter to a preparation that's too acidic.

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