Garde Manger (gard mawn zhay) is the culinary station responsible for cold foods. Classical garde manger focuses on the preparation of specialty foods, which are sometimes presented on a platter. As simple as this sound this job is quite complex because food is cooked and served cold. Cooks need to be aware of proper sanitation and storage because once the food is cold it will not be reheated to kill microorganisms. They also need to understand the dynamics of seasoning because food taste different when it’s eaten cold. Examples of these cold foods are charcuterie products, pates, and terrines.
Charcuterie is the art of preparing and selling cured or smoked pork products. Historically these methods were used as a way to preserve meat. Due to the invention of the refrigerator this method is primarily used to add flavour rather than preserving them.
Other methods of food preservation are;
Fermentation; sauerkraut, cheese
Drying; sun-dried tomatoes, dried plums
Pickling: Pickles, Peppers
Today charcuterie may refer to items that are found on a charcuterie board, which isn’t confined to pork products.
(Retrieved from My Food Trail )
One of the main ingredients for these products is forcemeat, which is a mixture of seasoned meat used as stuffing or filling.
There are 3 basic types of forcemeat:
Straight: Seasoned ground meat that typically goes into a sausage. The grind is usually finer than what you would find in ground meat.
A subcategory is Country Style, which is a corse grind and primarily made from pork fat and liver.
Gratin: A portion or all meat is partially cooked and cooled before its ground. Cooking removes some of the binding qualities so a panade (starch based binder) is added. Panade also adds moisture.
Mousseline: White meat (poultry, veal, or seafood) pureed and combined with cream and eggs.
Pate and terrine are both baked forcemeats containing one or more garnishes*. The significant difference is how they are baked. Terrine is baked in a terrine mold while pates are baked in a crust. There are also pates that aren’t baked so the term is used rather loosely.
*Garnish: Adds body, flavour, elevates appearance and adds nutritional value. It usually consist of meats or other foods cut into dice, strips or other shapes.
Galantine is forcemeat wrapped in the skin of its product. It is often rolled up to create a sausage shape to create rounds when sliced. The main cooking method is poaching or roasted. A finished galantine is often glazed with aspic*.
(Retrieved From Prunier)
Rillette is another cold food but it doesn’t consist of forcemeat. Rillete is a dish made of pork cooked slowly until its tender, then shredded and mixed in its own fat, seasoned and packed into crocks or terrines. It can be described as a cold pork confit because it’s stored in its own fat as a method of preserving.
(Retrieved From CooksNapeEatLove)
*Aspic is a clarified stock that solidifies when cold due to the introduction of gelatin. It’s sometimes used as a binder or garnish but the main significance in cold food preparation is that it:
- Protects food from drying out.
- Improves appearance (adds shine)
- Adds flavour
For this assignment I was instructed to do an experiment with both powdered and sheet gelatin in order to analyze their setting strength.
My finding is as follows:
|7 g + 250 mL water· Wobbly/Firm: I didn’t mix the powder thoroughly so the bottom was firm with the top wobbly.||5 pc + 250 mL water· Firm: I was able to slice shapes.|
|7 g + 500 mL water· Wobbly: Able to hold the shape of the spoon.||5 pc + 500 mL water· Firm/Wobbly: Not as firm as the 250 mL but there was some resistance.|
|7 g + 750 mL water· Watery: It kept spreading on the towel.||5 pc + 750 mL water· Wobbly: Not as watery as the powdered but I had to use a spoon to scoop.|
After sitting at room temperature for an hour the sheets held up the same appearance but the powdered gelatin became watery (almost soup-like).
Gisslen, Wayne. Professional Coooking for Canadian Chefs, 8th ed. New York: Hoboken, 2015. Print