Cooking Naked

by Michelle

My Dad asked me a great question. “Why do you try to change the flavour of whatever you are cooking”. I didn’t understand what he meant so he explained. “When you cook fish, you add herbs or lemon…why? Don’t you like the flavour of the fish”?

I tried to convince him that different flavours act to enhance whatever it is that you are cooking. I spoke about classic herb and meat combinations. He was having none of it. He said, “if you can cook and you have fresh ‘whatever’ you should be able to make it taste delicious… naked”.

He’s right.

I think a lot of cooks hide behind marinades and heavy sauces to mask, either, poor technique or an inferior main ingredient. You see this constantly in restaurants. It is only high-end restaurants, with proficient chefs, that offer grilled meat or fish ‘a la naked’.

From a cooking perspective or from an eating perspective, it is fun to try different combinations of flavours . However, when I think about how often I either prepare or order  ‘naked’ food I have to admit – rarely. I have always been attracted to new flavours and combinations. I can make a sauce out of anything but can I prepare a piece of flesh naked and have it taste delicious.

I was at Costco and noticed that they had milk-fed veal chops. I know…not exactly your run-of-the-mill cut…anyway, if I was going to test myself, I was going to do it in style!

The chops were about ten ounces each and an inch and a half thick… They begged for nothing. I seasoned them and put them on a really hot grill for 6 minutes per side. We like our veal medium-rare to the medium side. I plated and served them…naked.

I was actually nervous when Ralph took his first bite. “OMG” was all that he said. They were delicious!

I chose a superior cut to test drive but, it has inspired me to experiment with other foods in their ‘au natural’ state.

Thanks for reading.