Chef Trick: Season Dishes from Above

published Mar 1, 2012
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Watch practically any cooking show for long enough and you will eventually see a shot of the chef tossing a big pinch of seasoning into the pan with a wave-like flourish. While the performance and drama aren’t strictly required, there are some very good reasons for spicing and seasoning dishes from just above the pan.

First of all, let me clarify: you don’t need to stand on a chair to sprinkle spices from on high. A foot or so above the cooking surface will do it. You can use your fingers or a measuring scoop, whichever you feel most comfortable with.

As you add the seasonings from this height, they disperse over the dish and cover the food more evenly than if you just dropped a scoop in the middle. This also means that you don’t need to stir the dish as much to spread the seasonings, which in turn means that there’s less risk of damaging delicate meats and vegetables.

Sprinkling from above is also helpful when learning to season dishes without recipes. You can see how much spice is settling over the surface and draw conclusions about how well-seasoned any given bite of the dish will be.

Do you ever use this chef’s trick?