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Jan 8, 2008 07:43 AM

Prudhomme's "New" Fry/Saute Method

Watching Chef Paul Prudhomme making jambalaya on his PBS show the other day,

he said he is using a new technique for prepping some ingredients. Instead of adding oil to the pan, he is putting a little oil to coat the individual ingredients, then putting in dry fry pan, letting the oil on the ingredient cook it.

For example, preparing jambalaya, he coated the diced andouille and tasso with a little oil, then heated that in a dry skillet before he added the trinity (can't recall if he "treated" the onions, celery and bell pepper pieces similarly).

In cooking a chicken dish, he put oil on the chicken, rubbed it in well, rubbed in the spice mixture, then added the pieces so-coated into the dry skillet.

He says typically the oil in a frying/sauteing situation will overheat in areas where it is not directly in contact with the food (i.e., open areas on skillet), thus changing the flavor detrimentally.

I respect him as a chef, and think this makes good sense for many situations. What do you think?

BTW, he is charming with his stories of growing up and cooking, and his food is delicious, on this PBS program. WHAT a relief from FN!!! The outtakes at the end are really sweet and bring a smile. Bravo, Chef Paul!

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  1. I made oven-baked chicken chicken wings where the wings were breaded, but coated with melted butter first. It tasted great, but I doubt it was any healthier than frying them.

    1. You beat me to it! I was going to share this, but just haven't had a chance yet! I saw him last Sat. on PBS making stews, and he put the oil in the onions, explaining the overheating you mentioned, added them to the skillet, and then added the green peppers and the celery. He did not have oil in them. Another thing I thought was interesting, and maybe everyone else already does this, but instead of making a roux, I guess since it was a stew, he browned flour and then when the liquids came to a boil he whisked the flour in. That was the thickening. It was very informative to me. I'm going to start doing that when I make a stew. I really enjoy his shows!

      8 Replies
      1. re: danhole

        The "oil-less" roux, or pre-browned flour, is an old South Louisiana trick. I brown 5 pounds of flour at a time and keep it on hand for making instant roux or even low-fat versions. I've been doing this since I had small children who always seemed to need attention just at the wrong time causing me to burn the roux for dinner.
        You can cut down the amount of fat in virtually any Cajun dish by sautéing the Trinity in the least amount of fat possible and then adding the pre-browned flour. Been doing this for years.
        For how to make Oil-less roux

        1. re: MakingSense

          Great, great tip! I'm printing this out an it's going directly into my copy of "Louisana Kitchen." Thank you.

          1. re: MakingSense

            I have done this before. I pull some out a little early for blonde rouxs.
            Never thought to make a bunch at one time for future use. Great tip- thanks for sharing!!

            1. re: MakingSense

              making sense, thanks for that great link. lots of nice recipes and ideas.

              re the oil-less roux, do you need to use the 15" cast iron skillet? will a heavy dutch oven do? or does the flour need to be more exposed on the sides than a dutch oven would allow?

              i presume a cookie sheet pan would not suffice because it is too light?

              1. re: alkapal

                I use a half sheet pan in the oven at 400 degrees. It takes awhile and I stir it periodically with a wide spatula. This is not a question of the contact between the flour and the cast iron - everything in the oven is at the same temperature. The flour is toasting until it reaches the right stage of brown. I take some out every now and then, mix it into a little oil to check the color. I like a mahogany colored roux - the house standard, so to speak. I can always brown it further in the oil if I want a darker roux - but I get there quicker.
                Sure is nice to have the pre-browned flour on hand. Shelf-stable. Keeps a long time so it's worth making a big batch.

                Folse really has some nice recipes on that site, doesn't he?

                1. re: MakingSense

                  makingsense, thanks for the tips. several folse recipes were duly bookmarked! he had a nice little pecan ginger butter for veggies. i could taste it in my mind!

              2. re: MakingSense

                MakingSense, I figured you knew all about this. As a matter of fact, I thought of you as I was watching his show! Thanks for all the follow up info.

                1. re: MakingSense

                  This is a wonderful thread, I love the idea of making roux in advance!

                  I have several homestyle cook, cookbooks, from the South. mostly Louisianna & Mississippi that I have cooked out of for years. All of them have great tips like this. Those smart Southern cooks!~~I also own a couple of nicer books with lots of old Southern Recipes, wonderful pictures of their tables set up with the food, and flowers..sideboards...oops... back to reality!~
                  All of them are some of my favorite cookbooks.I love the pies and cold desserts, the side dishes, and of course my favorite protien, shrimp.

                  Thank you MakingSense for posting a link that I know I'll refer to over and over again!

              3. I didn't see that. How did he brown the flour? In the oven? At what temp? And then, how did he use it to make a "dark-brown" roux for something like Crawfish Etouffee?

                2 Replies
                1. re: dhedges53

                  Prudhomme browned his flour in a non stick skillet on the stove top. He put a thin layer to cover the bottom of it and then kept stirring it (not constantly though) until it got to the color he wanted. He said to take it out a bit before you got to the right color, because it would keep cooking. And when he took it off the fire, he put the flour on a plate, so it wouldn't keep cooking too much.

                  1. re: danhole

                    You can't judge the color of the roux from the dry flour. I keep a plate with some oil ready when I'm making dry roux, take a little bit out to test and mix it in at the edge of the plate. It darkens up right away. When it hits the right color, I pull it out of the oven or off the stove.
                    This works like toasting spices in a dry skillet. You're just toasting the flour to get the raw taste out of it and to brown it. It thickens just the same. I do it to a medium and if I want a darker roux, I can cook it more with oil when I make whatever dish I'm using it for later.

                2. It does make sense to anyone who has done some high heat pan frying, say a steak, and have noticed the acrid smell of burnt fat on the sides of the pan which aren't in contact with the steak. Although when I'm pan frying vegetables or sausages I typically dont have much extra space in a pan where the oil would burn, so i'm not sure how much this would affect me at this point. I can see the benefit if I did use a pan much bigger than necessary though.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ESNY

                    What kind of oil are you using that smelled when not in contact with food. Make sure your oil has a high enough smoke point to do the job well.