須知(2) 天性

依食物天性來做,事半功倍,食材不好,反之天性,名廚來也沒用。豬、雞、魚、鴨、筍、火腿都各有好壞天性,看袁枚怎麼說?雖然現在大家都在超市買,確實也無法在食材來源處細挑,但仍可做為珍貴的參考。

豬宜皮薄,英國Scotland著名烤豬店 Oink Scottish Hog Roast的豬皮夠不夠薄呢?

(原文)

凡物各有先天,如人各有資稟。人性下愚,雖孔、孟教之,無益也;物性不良,雖易牙烹之,亦無味也。指其大略︰豬宜皮薄,不可腥臊;雞宜騸嫩,不可老稚;鯽魚以扁身白肚為佳,烏背者,必倔強於盤中;鰻魚以湖溪游泳為貴,江生者,必槎枒其骨節;穀餵之鴨,其膘肥而白色;壅土之筍,其節少而甘鮮;同一火腿也,而好醜判若天淵;同一台也,而美惡分為冰炭。其他雜物,可以類推。大抵一席佳餚,司廚之功居其六,買辦之功居其四。

Human beings are born with individual traits, just as every food has its natural qualities and uses. The great teachers, such as Confucius and Mencius, can’t turn a dim-witted student into a scholar, and neither can an inferior ingredient be made great, even one handled by the greatest chefs in history.

Some Examples:

Pig skin should be thin, so there is no unpleasant raw meaty smell

Use chicken at the right maturity. Too old or too young may render the chicken not as tender.

Choose the carps with flat bodies and white bellies. Black-backed ones are undesirable. 

Choose the eels from the lakes and streams. Those from the river tend to have more bones that could be a hassle.  

Grain-fed ducks are pleasantly plump, fat and white.

The bamboo shoots sprouting from enriched soil have smoother appearances,  and taste fresher and sweeter.  

Fine ham and mediocre ones look as different as the sky and a deep canyon.

The quality of dried fish filet could be as different as ice and blazed coals. 

Overall, a great feast owes 60% of its success to the chef, and 40% to the ingredient buyer.

此文有一冷僻字,下為百度百科的解釋:
鲞,是一个汉字,拼音是xiǎng ,本义为剖开晾干的鱼,后泛指成片的腌腊食品。

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