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Term Pronounciation Definition
pezzoccheri [peht-tsoh-CHAY-ree] Thick buckwheat noodles. See also  PASTA.
pfeffernüesse [FEHF-fuhr-noos] Traditionally served at Christmastime, pfeffernüesse  (German for "peppernuts") are very popular in many European countries. Scandinavians call the cookies pepperkaker  in Norway, pepparnotter  in Sweden and pebernodder  in Denmark. These tiny ball-shaped cookies are full of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and the ingredient for which they're named — black pepper.
pheasant [FEH-suhnt] A medium-sized GAME BIRD, originally from Asia but now found in Europe and North America. As with many birds, the male has a more brilliant plumage than the female and is larger, weighing 2 1/2 to 5 pounds compared to the female's 3-pound average. The female's flesh is plumper, juicier and more tender. Very young cocks and hens may be roasted as is but older pheasants should be BARDED or cooked with moist heat because their flesh is lean and dry. Farm-raised pheasants do not have the same flavor as the wild birds. Pheasants are sometimes found dressed and frozen in specialty meat markets, usually by special order.
Philadelphia cheese steak see  CHEESE STEAK
Philadelphia pepper pot see  PEPPER POT
phyllo [FEE-loh] Literally translated, the Greek word phyllo  means "leaf." Culinarily, it refers to tissue-thin layers of pastry dough used in various Greek and Near Eastern sweet and savory preparations, the best known being BAKLAVA and SPANAKOPITA. Phyllo (also spelled filo ) is very similar to STRUDEL dough. Packaged fresh and frozen phyllo dough is readily available — the former in Greek markets, the latter in supermarkets. Unopened, phyllo can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month. Once opened, use within 2 to 3 days. Frozen phyllo can be stored for up to 1 year. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Refreezing phyllo will make it brittle.
physalis [fih-ZAL-ihs] see  CAPE GOOSEBERRY
picadillo [pee-kah-DEE-yoh] This dish, a favorite in many Spanish-speaking countries, consists of ground pork and beef or veal plus tomatoes, garlic, onions and whatever else the regional version dictates. In Cuba it's served with rice and black beans. In Mexico, picadillo is used as a stuffing for various dishes.
piccalilli [PIHK-uh-lih-lee] A highly seasoned pickled vegetable relish. The vegetables used vary from recipe to recipe and can include tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, zucchini, cucumber, cauliflower, beans, etc.
piccata [pih-KAH-tuh] see  VEAL PICCATA
pickerel [PIHK-uh-ruhl] see  PIKE
pickle n.  Food that has been preserved in a seasoned brine or vinegar mixture. Among the more popular foods used for pickling are cucumbers, pearl onions, cauliflower, baby corn, watermelon rind, pig's feet and herring. Pickles can be sour, sweet, hot or variously flavored, such as with DILL for the popular dill pickle. pickle v.  To preserve food in a vinegar mixture or brine.
pickled cheese see  FETA CHEESE
pickled cucumber see  TEA MELON
pickled herring see  HERRING
pickling spices A spice blend used in mixtures to PICKLE various foods, as well as to season certain dishes. The blend can differ greatly according to the manufacturer, and the ingredients (usually whole or in coarse pieces) can include allspice, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mustard seeds and peppercorns. Prepackaged pickling spice mixes are sold in most supermarkets.
picnic ham Not really a true ham (which comes from the pig's back leg), the picnic ham is taken from the upper part of the foreleg and includes a portion of the shoulder. This cut is also more accurately referred to as the picnic shoulder  or pork shoulder.  The picnic ham is smoked, which gives it a very hamlike flavor. It often has the bone removed. Though it's slightly tougher (requiring longer cooking) and has more waste because of the bone structure, picnic ham is a good, inexpensive substitute for regular ham. See also  HAM.
picnic shoulder see  PICNIC HAM
pico de gallo [PEE-koh day GI-yoh] Spanish for "rooster's beak," pico de gallo  is a relish made of finely chopped ingredients like JÍCAMA, oranges, onions, bell peppers, jalapeño peppers and cucumbers, along with various seasonings. This condiment was so named because it was once purportedly eaten with the thumb and finger, an action that resembles a rooster's pecking beak.
pie A sweet or savory dish made with a crust and filling (such as fruit, pudding, meat or vegetable). Pies can have bottom crusts only, or top and bottom crusts or, as with DEEP-DISH pies, only a top crust. Sweet pies are generally served as dessert and savory pies as the main course or appetizer. Crusts can be made of a variety of mixtures including short crust pastry, PUFF PASTRY, cookie crumbs, MERINGUE and even, as with SHEPHERD'S PIE, mashed potatoes. See also  TART.
pie plant; pieplant see  RHUBARB
pie weights Small pelletlike metal or ceramic weights used when baking an unfilled pie or tart crust to keep it from shrinking. The weights (from 1 to 2 cups) are poured into a foil-lined unbaked pie crust. The shell is then partially baked, the foil and weights lifted out, and then the baking is finished. Pie weights can be found in gourmet shops. See also  BAKE BLIND.
pigeon pea Native to Africa, this tiny LEGUME is also called Congo pea  and no-eyed pea . In the United States it's particularly popular in southern states where it grows in long, twisted fuzzy pods. The peas are about the size of the standard garden pea and are usually a grayish-yellow color. Pigeon peas can be eaten raw but are most often dried and split. They're available dried in many supermarkets and can often be found fresh, frozen and canned in the regions where they're grown, as well as Latin American and Indian markets. Pigeon peas are cooked like dried beans. See also  BEANS.
pignoli; pignon [peen-YOH-lee, peen-YAWN] The Italian and French words respectively for "PINE NUT."
pig's feet Called trotters  by the British, these are the feet and ankles of pigs. Because they're bony and sinewy, pig's feet require long, slow cooking. They're quite flavorful and full of natural gelatin. Pig's feet are available pickled, fresh and smoked — the latter two are particularly good in soups, stews and sauces. See also  PORK.
pigs in blankets A term that is generally used to describe a sausage with an outside covering (blanket). The most common example is a small cocktail sausage wrapped in pie dough and baked, then served as an appetizer. Pigs in blankets can also refer to breakfast sausages wrapped in pancakes or any other similar style of food. See also  CORN DOG; HOT DOG; FRANKFURTER.
pike A family of freshwater fish that includes the pike, pickerel and muskellunge. They all have long bodies, large mouths and ferocious-looking teeth. Pickerel are the smallest — generally weighing 2 to 3 pounds. Pike range from 4 to 10 pounds and the muskellunge (or muskie ) averages from 10 to 30 pounds but can reach up to 60 pounds and 6 feet in length. The walleyed pike is not a pike but rather a PERCH. The pike family of fish is known for its lean, firm, lowfat (but bony) flesh. Although fished mainly for sport in the United States, they are imported from Canada and available fresh and frozen, either whole, filleted or in steaks. Pike can be cooked in almost any manner available. It's the fish traditionally used in France's fish QUENELLES, as well as the Jewish GEFILTE FISH. See also  FISH.
pilaf [PEE-lahf, PIH-lahf] This rice- or BULGHUR-based dish (also called pilau ) originated in the Near East and always begins by first browning the rice in butter or oil before cooking it in stock. Pilafs can be variously seasoned and usually contain other ingredients such as chopped cooked vegetables, meats, seafood or poultry. In India they're highly spiced with CURRY. Pilaf can be served as a side dish or main dish.
pilau [pih-LOW] see  PILAF
pilchard [PIHL-chuhrd] A small, high-fat saltwater fish found in abundance off the European Atlantic coast from Scandinavia to Portugal. Though Europeans can buy fresh pilchard from July to December, it's usually canned in oil or tomato sauce like SARDINES. See also  FISH.
Pilsner; Pilsener [PIHLZ-nuhr] Originally this term referred to a very fine beer brewed in Pilsen, in the Czech Republic. Today, however, it more commonly refers to any pale, light LAGER beer.
Pilsner glass A footed, tall glass that tapers from the mouth to the base. It's generally used to serve beer.
pimiento; pimento [pih-MYEHN-toh, pih-MEN-toh] 1. A large, red, heart-shaped SWEET PEPPER that measures 3 to 4 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. The flesh of the pimiento (the Spanish word for "pepper") is sweet, succulent and more aromatic than that of the red bell pepper. Fresh pimientos may be found from late summer to early fall in specialty produce markets and some supermakets. Canned and bottled pimientos (halves, strips or pieces) are available year-round. Pimientos are the familiar red stuffing found in green olives. Much of the pimiento crop is used for PAPRIKA. 2. Pimento  is the name of the tree from which ALLSPICE comes.
piña colada [PEEN-yuh koh-LAH-duh] Literally translated, this Spanish phrase means "strained pineapple." A piña colada is a tropically flavored drink made with coconut cream, pineapple juice and rum served over ice and usually garnished with a pineapple chunk. The piña-colada (pineapple-coconut) flavor has also become popular for many foods such as ice cream, candy, cakes, etc.
pinch A measuring term referring to the amount of a dry ingredient (such as salt or pepper) that can be held between the tips of the thumb and forefinger. It's equivalent to approximately 1/16 teaspoon. See also  DASH.
pineapple This tropical beauty received its appellation from the English because of its resemblance to the pine cone. Most other Europeans call it ananas  derived from the Paraguayan nana  meaning "excellent (or exquisite) fruit." The pineapple is native to Central and South America, where symbolic representations of its form were found in pre-Incan ruins. Hawaii, now this fruit's leading producer, didn't see its first pineapple until the late 1700s. For centuries the pineapple (in the form of carved wood, stone sculptures and the like) has been used to symbolize hospitality. The two major varieties found commercially in the United States are the Cayenne (from Hawaii) and the Red Spanish (mainly from Florida and Puerto Rico). The Cayenne pineapple, the longer and more cylindrical of the two, has a golden-yellow skin and long, swordlike leaves sprouting from a single tuft. The Red Spanish pineapple is squatter in shape, has a reddish golden-brown skin and leaves that radiate from several tufts. Mexico grows a third variety called the Sugar Loaf, a large, exquisitely flavored specimen whose skin is still green when ripe. Because it doesn't ship well, the Sugar Loaf is rarely imported into the United States. Pineapples can weigh up to 20 pounds, though the average size marketed ranges between 2 and 5 pounds. All varieties have bumpy diamond-patterned skins. Though there are slight flavor variations depending on the variety, all ripe pineapple is exceedingly juicy and has a tangy sweet-tart flavor. Fresh pineapple is available year-round with a peak season from March to July. This is one fruit that must be picked ripe because the starch will not convert to sugar once it's off the plant. Choose pineapples that are slightly soft to the touch with a full, strong color (depending on the variety) and no sign of greening. The leaves should be crisp and green with no yellow or brown tips. Overripe pineapples show their advanced state with soft or dark areas on the skin. Refrigerate fresh pineapple tightly wrapped for up to 3 days. If it's slightly underripe, keeping it at room temperature for several days will reduce its acidity (though it won't increase its sweetness). Pineapple is available canned (in its own juice or in sugar syrup), crushed or in chunks, slices or tidbits. It can also be found frozen and candied. Pineapple can be used in a variety of dishes including fresh fruit desserts and salads, and as a garnish for vegetables and meats. It's also delicious cooked — either simply sautéed or broiled, or in a dish like the famous pineapple UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE. Fresh and frozen pineapple cannot be used in gelatin mixtures because of a natural enzyme that prevents them from setting (canned pineapple doesn't cause a problem). Pineapples are a fair source of vitamins A and C.
pineapple guava see  FEIJOA
pine nut Also called Indian nut,  piñon, pignoli  and pignolia  this high-fat nut comes from several varieties of pine trees. The nuts are actually inside the pine cone, which generally must be heated to facilitate their removal. This labor-intensive process is what makes these nuts so expensive. Pine nuts grow in China, Italy, Mexico, North Africa and the southwestern United States. There are two main varieties. Both have a thin shell with an ivory-colored nutmeat that averages about 1/2 inch in length. The Mediterranean or Italian pine nut is from the stone pine. It's torpedo-shaped, has a light, delicate flavor and is the more expensive of the two. The stronger-flavored Chinese pine nut is shaped like a squat triangle. Its pungent pine flavor can easily overpower some foods. Pine nuts can be found in bulk in nut shops and health-food stores, and packaged in many supermarkets. The Chinese variety will more likely be available in Asian markets. Because of their high fat content, pine nuts turn rancid quickly. They should be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 3 months, frozen for up to 9 months. Pine nuts can be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes and are well known for their flavorful addition to the classic Italian PESTO. See also  NUTS.
pink bean A smooth, reddish-brown dried bean that is very popular in the western United States It's interchangeable with the PINTO BEAN in any dish. Pink beans are used to make REFRIED BEANS and CHILI CON CARNE. They're available in dried form year-round in most supermarkets. See also  BEANS.
pink lady A COCKTAIL consisting of gin, lemon or lime juice, GRENADINE, egg white and cream. It's shaken with ice, then strained into a shallow, stemmed cocktail glass. See also  WHITE LADY.
pink peppercorn Pink peppercorns are not true peppercorns but actually the dried berries from the Baies  rose plant. They're cultivated in Madagascar and imported via France, hence their exorbitant price. These rose-hued berries are pungent and slightly sweet. Pink peppercorns can be found in gourmet stores either freeze-dried or packed in brine or water. Once opened, refrigerate water-packed berries for about a week, those packed in brine for 3 to 4 weeks. Freeze-dried pink peppercorns can be stored in a cool, dark place for about 6 months. Pink peppercorns are used as colorful, flavorful additions to a variety of sauces and meat and fish dishes. Though there was once widespread controversy regarding their safety, pink peppercorns have now been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They should not, however, be confused with pink berries (also referred to as peppercorns) from an ornamental plant in Florida and California that can cause severe allergic reactions if eaten. See also  PEPPERCORN.
pink salmon see  SALMON
pink snapper see  OPAKAPAKA
piñon [PIHN-yuhn] Spanish for "PINE NUT."
Pinot Blanc [PEE-noh BLAHN , , PEE-noh BLAHN , GK] A variety of white grape that is used in some white ALSTIAN WINES and bottled as a varietal by a few California wineries. Pinot Blanc wine is crisp and dry but has less intensity and flavor than CHARDONNAY. Its price is also considerably lower. Pinot Blanc goes well with chicken and seafood.
Pinot Chardonnay [PEE-noh shar-dn-AY] Another name used by some wineries for their CHARDONNAY wines.
Pinot Noir [PEE-noh NWAHR] The red grape that produces the spicy, rich, complex French red BURGUNDIES as well as Pinot Noirs from California, Oregon and Washington. It's also important in making French CHAMPAGNES and American sparkling wines. French Burgundy wines like Romanée-Conti and Chambertin are world renowned for being elegant, soft and smooth. They also command tremendous prices. The American Pinot Noirs are less expensive and some — particularly those from California and Oregon — are rapidly gaining in excellence and popularity. Pinot Noirs go well with almost any food.
pinto bean The pinto (Spanish for "painted") bean has streaks of reddish-brown on a background of pale pink. The beans are grown in the United States Southwest and are common in most Spanish-speaking countries, where they're often served with rice or used in soups and stews. The pinto can be used interchangeably with the PINK BEAN, which is lighter in color prior to cooking but looks the same afterwards. Both the pinto and pink bean are commonly used in the preparation of REFRIED BEANS and CHILI CON CARNE. Pinto beans are available in dried form year-round. They are also called red Mexican beans . See also  BEANS.
pipérade [pee-pay-RAHD] This dish from the Basque region of France has many versions but is always based on tomatoes and sweet green peppers cooked in olive oil. Additions can include onions, garlic, ham, bacon or other vegetables and quite often lightly beaten egg. Depending on how hearty it is, pipérade can be served as a side dish or main dish.
pippin apple see  NEWTON PIPPIN APPLE
pips Another term for the small seeds found in fruits such as grapes, oranges and apples.
piquante sauce [pee-KAHNT] A spicy brown sauce made with shallots, white wine, vinegar, GHERKINS, parsley and various herbs and seasonings. It's served with sliced meats such as pork, tongue and beef.
pirogi see  PIROSHKI
piroshki [pih-ROSH-kee] A small Russian TURNOVER consisting of a pastry wrapping and various fillings such as meat, seafood, cheese and mushrooms. Piroshki, which can be baked or fried, are served as HORS D'OEUVRES or as accompaniments to soups or salads. Pirogi are larger versions of piroshki, and are served as the entrée.
pisco [PIHS-koh, PEE-skoh] A potent (90 PROOF) Peruvian grape BRANDY that's aged in paraffin-lined containers rather than oak to prevent it from absorbing either color of flavor from the wood.
praline [PRAH-leen, prah-LEEN, PRAY-leen] 1. A brittle confection made of almonds and CARAMELIZED sugar. It may be eaten as candy, ground and used as a filling or dessert ingredient, or sprinkled atop desserts as a garnish. 2. A special patty-shaped candy from Louisiana made with pecans and brown sugar.
Peking duck [PEE-king, PAY-king] An elaborately prepared Chinese dish that starts with air being pumped between a duck's skin and flesh. The duck is then coated with a honey mixture and hung until the skin is dry and hard. After the duck is roasted the skin becomes golden and intensely crisp. While hot, it's cut into small squares and served with thin pancakes (called Peking doilies) or steamed buns, accompanied by scallions and HOISIN SAUCE. The meat is considered a secondary attraction and is usually served after the skin. This specialty is also sometimes called Beijing  [BAY-jeeng] duck .
Peking sauce see  HOISIN SAUCE
Peking-Shantung cuisine [PEE-king shan-TUNG] see  CHINESE CUISINE
pekoe tea [PEE-koh] Because similar-sized tea leaves brew at the same speed (larger, coarser leaves take longer), tea leaves are graded and sorted by size. Orange pekoe is the grade for the smallest leaves, which are picked from the top of the plant. "Pekoe" describes medium-size, slightly coarser tea leaves. See also  TEA.
pemmican [PEHM-ih-kuhn] Pulverized dried meat or fish mixed with hot fat and dried berries and/or other dried fruit into a thick paste, and then formed into loafs or small cakes. Some regional variations of pemmican use parched corn instead of dried meat. This food originated with North American Indians as a nutritious, spoilage-resistant food good for traveling. Pemmican, which can be eaten out of hand or added to hot water to make a soup, was adopted by early American pioneers, hunters and others on the move.
penne [PEN-nay] Large, straight tubes of MACARONI cut on the diagonal. See also  PASTA.
penuche; panocha; penuchi [puh-NOO-chee] A creamy, fudgelike candy made with brown sugar, butter, milk or cream and vanilla. Chopped nuts are sometimes added. The mixture is heated to the SOFT-BALL STAGE, whipped until thick and either dropped onto a cookie sheet or poured into a pan and allowed to set. The name is derived from the Mexican word for "raw sugar" or "brown sugar."
peperonata [pehp-uh-roh-NAH-tah] An Italian mixture of sweet peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic cooked in olive oil. It's served hot as a CONDIMENT with meats or cold as an ANTIPASTO.
pepino [puh-PEE-noh] This fragrant fruit has its origins in Peru, though it's now grown in New Zealand, California and other subtropical and temperate climates. The exotic-looking pepino has a smooth, glossy, golden skin streaked with violet. It can range in size anywhere from that of a plum to that of a large papaya. The skin, seeds and flesh are all edible.The perfumy yellow-gold flesh is juicy and lightly sweet, with a mild cantaloupe flavor. Pepinos are available from late fall to midspring in specialty produce markets and some supermarkets that carry exotic produce. Choose those that are fragrant and give slightly to palm pressure. They can be ripened at room temperature, if necessary. Judge the ripeness by the deep-golden background color. Pepinos should be peeled before using for out-of-hand eating, in fruit salads or as an accompaniment or garnish to meats or vegetables. They're also called mellowfruit, pepino melon  and treemelon .
pepitas [puh-PEE-tahs] These edible pumpkin seeds  are a popular ingredient in Mexican cooking. With their white hull removed, they are a medium-dark green and have a deliciously delicate flavor, which is even better when the seeds are roasted and salted. Pepitas are sold salted, roasted and raw, and with or without hulls. They're available in health-food stores, Mexican markets and many supermarkets.
pepper, black and white see  PEPPERCORN
pepper, chile see  CHILE
peppercorn Most cooks today don't appreciate the plentiful and inexpensive supply of a spice that was once so valuable and rare it was sometimes used as currency. Its merit was so high that many of the European sailing expeditions during the 15th century were undertaken with the main purpose of finding alternate trade routes to the Far East, the primary source of the prized peppercorn and other spices. Pepper in one form or other is used around the world to enhance the flavor of both savory and sweet dishes. Because it stimulates gastric juices, it delivers a digestive bonus as well. The world's most popular spice is a berry that grows in grapelike clusters on the pepper plant (Piper nigrum ), a climbing vine native to India and Indonesia. The berry is processed to produce three basic types of peppercorn — black, white and green. The most common is the black peppercorn, which is picked when the berry is not quite ripe, then dried until it shrivels and the skin turns dark brown to black. It's the strongest flavored of the three — slightly hot with a hint of sweetness. Among the best black peppers are the Tellicherry and the Lampong. The less pungent white peppercorn has been allowed to ripen, after which the skin is removed and the berry is dried. The result is a smaller, smoother-skinned, light-tan berry with a milder flavor. White pepper is used to a great extent for appearance, usually in light-colored sauces or foods where dark specks of black pepper would stand out. The green peppercorn is the soft, underripe berry that's usually preserved in brine. It has a fresh flavor that's less pungent than the berry in its other forms. Black and white peppercorns are available whole, cracked and coarsely or finely ground. Whole peppercorns freshly ground with a pepper mill deliver more flavor than does preground pepper, which loses its flavor fairly quickly. Whole dried peppercorns can be stored in a cool, dark place for about a year; ground pepper will keep its flavor for about 4 months. Green peppercorns packed in brine are available in jars and cans. They should be refrigerated once opened and can be kept for 1 month. Water-packed green peppercorns must also be refrigerated but will only keep for about a week. Freeze-dried green peppercorns are also available and can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. See also  CAYENNE PEPPER; PINK PEPPERCORN; SZECHUAN PEPPER; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
pepper, hot see  CHILE
pepper mill A hand-held grinder designed for crushing dry peppercorns. Pepper mills are made from a variety of materials including plastic, wood and ceramic. The internal grinding mechanism is generally made of stainless steel. Good pepper mills can be adjusted to produce fine or coarse grinds. Freshly ground pepper has a sharper, more lively flavor than the preground variety.
peppermint see  MINT
peppermint schnapps see  SCHNAPPS
pepperoncini [pep-per-awn-CHEE-nee] Also called Tuscan peppers , these thin, 2- to 3-inch-long CHILES have a bright red, wrinkled skin. They have a slightly sweet flavor that can range from medium to medium-hot. Pepperoncini  are most often sold pickled and used as part of an ANTIPASTO.
pepperoni; peperoni [pehp-puh-ROH-nee] An Italian SALAMI made of pork and beef highly seasoned with black and red pepper. This slender, firm, air-dried sausage is ready to eat, often sliced very thin and used as an appetizer. It can also be used to add flavor to many cooked dishes, as those who love pepperoni pizza will attest. See also  SAUSAGE.
pepper pot; pepperpot 1. A thick soup of TRIPE, meat, vegetables, pepper and other seasonings. It's also called Philadelphia pepper pot.  The soup is said to have been created during the desperate winter of 1777-1778, when Washington's army was down to tripe, peppercorns and various scraps of other food. The cook devised this tasty dish and named it in honor of his hometown, Philadelphia. 2. A West Indian stew containing CASSAREEP, meat or seafood, vegetables, chiles, cayenne pepper and other seasonings.
pepper steak 1. A beefsteak generously sprinkled with coarsely ground black pepper, sautéed in butter and served with a sauce made from pan drippings, stock, wine and cream. Pepper steak is sometimes flamed with BRANDY or COGNAC. In French it's called steak au poivre . 2. A Chinese STIR-FRY dish consisting of strips of steak, green pepper and onion cooked with soy sauce and other seasonings.
pepper, sweet green or red see  SWEET PEPPER
pequín chile These oval-shape, tiny (about 1/2-inch-long) dried chiles are a beautiful red-orange color. Their flavor is slightly sweet and smoky and their heat quotient fiery. The pequín is also called chile pequeño . Its wild form is known as tepín  or chiltepín . See also  CHILE.
perch Any of various spiny-finned freshwater fish found in North America and Europe. In the United States the best known is the yellow perch, found mainly in the East and Midwest. In France, the common or river perch is highly favored. These similar-looking fish have olive-green backs blending to yellow on the sides, dark vertical bands and reddish-orange fins. They have a mild, delicate flavor and firm flesh with a low fat content. Related to the true perch are the pike perch (so called because their bodies resemble the PIKE), the best known of which are the walleyed pike and the sauger or sand pike. There are several saltwater fish that are incorrectly called perch including the white perch (really a member of the BASS family) and the ocean perch (a member of the ROCKFISH family). Perch range in size from 1/2 to 3 pounds. They're available fresh and frozen, whole and filleted. Small perch are usually best broiled or sautéed. Larger ones can be prepared in a variety of ways including poaching, steaming, baking and in soups and stews. See also  FISH.
perciatelli [payr-chah-TEHL-lee] Thin, hollow PASTA about twice as thick as spaghetti; similar to BUCATINI.
périgourdine, à la [pay-ree-goor-DEEN] French for "as prepared in the style of Périgord," referring to dishes garnished or flavored with TRUFFLES as well as those served with PÉRIGUEUX SAUCE. The term is derived from France's Périgord region, which is famous for its black truffles.
Périgueux sauce [pay-ree-GOUH] A rich brown sauce flavored with MADEIRA and TRUFFLES. The sauce, which goes with a variety of dishes including meat, game, poultry and eggs, is named after Périgueux, a city in the Périgord region of Southwest France that is noted for its truffles. Dishes using the sauce are often labeled à la  PÉRIGOURDINE or simply Périgueux. 
perilla see  SHISO
periwinkle [PEHR-ih-wing-kuhl] There are over 300 species of this conical, spiral-shelled UNIVALVE, MOLLUSK (see both listings ), but few are edible. Periwinkles, also called bigaros, sea snails  or winkles , are found attached to rocks, wharves, pilings, etc. in both fresh and sea water. The most common edible periwinkle is found along the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America. It grows to about 1 inch in size and is gray to dark olive with reddish-brown bands. Periwinkles are popular in Europe but rarely found in the United States. They're usually boiled in their shells, then extracted with a small pick.
Pernod [pehr-NOH] A yellowish, licorice-flavored LIQUEUR similar to ABSINTHE. Pernod is very popular in France and is usually mixed with water, which turns it whitish and cloudy.
Persian apple see  PEACH
Persian melon A large green MUSKMELON with a delicate netting on the rind and a rich salmon-colored flesh. Persian melons weigh around 5 pounds (larger than a CANTALOUPE) and have a delicious, sweet flavor. They're available from July through October, with a peak in the late summer. Choose Persian melons that are heavy for their size; the rind should be pale green with a delicate netting. Avoid melons with soft spots. Store unripe Persian melons at room temperature, ripe melons in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Just before serving, cut melon in half and remove the seeds. See also  MELON.
Persian walnut see  ENGLISH WALNUT
persillade [pehr-see-YAHD] Persil  is the French word for "parsley" and persillade is a mixture of chopped parsley and garlic. It's usually added as a flavoring or garnish to dishes just before cooking is complete. A dish finished in this fashion is often described as a persillé . For example, lamb persillé  is a lamb dish topped with persillade mixed with bread crumbs.
persimmon [puhr-SIHM-muhn] The most widely available persimmon in the United States is the Hachiya, also called Japanese persimmon . It's large (up to 3 inches in diameter) and round, with a slightly elongated, pointed base. The Fuyu persimmon is smaller and more tomato-shaped. When ripe, both have a red-orange skin and flesh. The Hachiya is quite soft when completely ripe and has a smooth, creamy texture and a tangy-sweet flavor. If eaten even slightly underripe, it will pucker the mouth with an incredible astringency. The Fuyu, however, is still firm when ripe and is not at all astringent. Persimmons are available from October to February. Choose fruit that is plump and soft but not mushy (the Fuyu should be quite firm). The skin should be smooth, glossy and brightly colored. Persimmons that are not quite ripe can be ripened at room temperature. Store ripe fruit in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Persimmons can be used in baked goods, puddings and other desserts, as well as eaten out of hand. They contain a good amount of vitamin A and some vitamin C.
pestle [PEHS-tl, PEHS-tuhl] see  MORTAR AND PESTLE
pesto [PEH-stoh] An uncooked sauce made with fresh basil, garlic, PINE NUTS, PARMESAN or PECORINO CHEESE and olive oil. The ingredients can either be crushed with MORTAR AND PESTLE or finely chopped with a food processor. This classic, fresh-tasting sauce originated in Genoa, Italy, and although used on a variety of dishes, it is a favorite with pasta. Now there are "pestos" made from myriad other ingredients from CILANTRO to MINT.
petit déjeuner [puh-TEE day-zhoo-NAY] French for "breakfast."
petite marmite [peh-TEET mahr-MEET] A type of POT-AU-FEU served in its own cooking vessel. Petite marmite is usually made from beef, chicken, MARROW bones and various vegetables including cabbage. This mélange is slowly cooked in water, producing a rich broth that's served with grated cheese as the first course accompanied by the bone marrow, which is spread on toast. The meat and vegetables are then served as the main course.
Petite Sirah; Petite Syrah [peh-TEET sih-RAH] Grown mainly in California, this red wine grape produces a big, robust and peppery wine. Although not as popular as California's CABERNET SAUVIGNON, PINOT NOIR or ZINFANDEL, Petite Sirah has a following among those who like big, full-bodied wines. The Petite Sirah grape is also used as a blending grape to give a little more zest and complexity to other red wines. This varietal is also spelled Petit Syrah  and Petit Sirah .
petit four [PEH-tee fohr, puh-tee FOOR] 1. Any of various bite-size iced and elaborately decorated cakes. Petits fours  can be made with any flavor cake, though white and chocolate are the most common. 2. The French also use this term to describe small, fancy cookies.
petit-gris [peh-tee-GREE] see  SNAIL
petit pain [puh-tee PAN ] French for a bread roll. See also  PAIN.
petits pois [peh-tee PWAH] The French term for "small young green peas." See also  ENGLISH PEA.
Petit Suisse [peh-tee SWEES] A rich, soft French cheese that, because it contains between 60 and 75 percent milk fat, ranks between a DOUBLE- and triple-cream cheese. It's the consistency of very soft CREAM CHEESE and has a delicate, sweetly tangy flavor. Petit Suisse is usually sold in small cylinders or flat squares. It's wonderful served as an appetizer with crackers or after dinner with fruit. The most popular brand of Petit Suisse is GERVAIS, named after the well-known French cheesemaker Jules Gervais. See also  CHEESE.
petrale sole [peh-TRAH-lee SOHL] Not a true SOLE, but rather a FLOUNDER that is found in the Pacific Ocean from Alaska to Mexico. It's highly prized for its excellent flavor and fine-textured, lowfat flesh. Those found in the market generally weigh from 1 to 5 pounds. They can be purchased fresh and frozen, whole or in fillets. Petrale sole can be prepared in almost any manner including sautéing, broiling, grilling and poaching. See also  FISH; FLATFISH.
pismo clam [PIHS-moh] This Pacific hard-shell clam is considered one of the choicest of its genre. Unfortunately, it's also becoming one of the scarcest. Pismos are tender, sweet and large — usually with a minimum shell diameter of 5 inches. The adductor muscle (which hinges the two shells) is so tender that it can be served ON THE HALF SHELL. The body meat can be steamed, fried or used in chowder. See also  CLAM.
pissaladière [pee-sah-lah-DYEHR] A flaky pizzalike tart topped with onions, anchovies, black olives and sometimes tomatoes. Pissaladière is a specialty of Nice, in southern France.
pistachio nut [pih-STASH-ee-oh, pih-STAH-shee-oh] Cultivated in California, Italy, Turkey and Iran, the pistachio has a hard, tan shell that encloses a pale green nut. The shells of some pistachios are colored red (with vegetable dye), while others have been blanched until white. The California Pistachio Commission states that these nuts are dyed for two reasons: because many people find that form familiar; and so they're easier to spot in a bowl of mixed nuts. Pistachios are available year-round shelled and unshelled, either raw or roasted and salted or not. When buying unshelled pistachios make sure the shells are partially open — not only because it's a great help in getting the nutmeat out, but because closed shells mean the nutmeat is immature. Pistachio nuts have a delicate, subtle flavor that is wonderful either for eating out of hand or for flavoring both sweet and savory dishes. Pistachio nuts are rich in calcium, thiamine, phosphorus, iron and Vitamin A. See also  NUTS.
palacsinta [pah-lah-SHIHN-tuh] A thin Hungarian pancake or CRÊPE, referred to by the Austrians as palatchinken . They are usually assembled in a stack of 6 or 7, layered with a filling. The savory rendition is often filled with chopped ham, lobster, pork, veal, mushrooms or other vegetables combined with a cream sauce or sour cream. The dessert version is made with slightly sweeter batter and spread with a sweet filling such as jam. Before serving, the stack is cut into wedges.
palak panir; palak paneer [PAH-lehk pah-NEER] In India, palak  means "spinach"; PANIR is a type of fresh, unripened cheese. It's logical, therefore, that palak panir dishes contain spinach and panir. Such dishes can include various other ingredients and be prepared in many ways. For example, palak panir pulau  is a rice dish with spinach, panir, lemon juice and various seasonings like CORIANDER, CAYENNE PEPPER, CUMIN and MUSTARD. Palak panir sak  contains finely chopped (sometimes pureed) spinach and chiles along with various seasonings and fried cubes of panir.
palm heart see  HEARTS OF PALM
palmier [pahlm-YAY] Also called palm leaves , this crispy delicacy is PUFF PASTRY dough that is sprinkled with granulated sugar, folded and rolled several times, then cut into thin strips. After baking, these golden brown, caramelized pastries are served with coffee or tea or as a dessert accompaniment.
palm oil; palm-kernel oil The reddish-orange oil extracted from the pulp of the fruit of the African palm. It's extremely high in saturated fat (78 percent) and has a distinctive flavor that is popular in West African and Brazilian cooking. Palm-kernel oil, though also high in saturated fat, is a different oil extracted from the nut or kernel of palms. It's a yellowish-white color and has a pleasantly mild flavor. Palm-kernel oil is used in the manufacture of margarine and cosmetics. It's usually listed on labels simply as "palm oil." See also  FATS AND OILS.
palm sugar see  JAGGERY
pan [PAHN] Spanish for "bread." Pan integral  is whole wheat bread, pan tostado  is toasted bread. A panadería  is a bakery.
panada; panade [pah-NAH-duh (Sp , ), puh-NAHD (Fr. , )] 1. A thick paste made by mixing bread crumbs, flour, rice, etc. with water, milk, stock, butter or sometimes egg yolks. It's used to bind meatballs, fish cakes, FORCEMEATS and QUENELLES. 2. A sweet or savory soup made with bread crumbs and various other ingredients. It may be strained before serving.
pan bagnat [pan ban-YAH] Popular in Southern France, both in cafés and for picnics, pan bagnat  is a sandwich composed of a large, split loaf or bun, the inside of which is brushed with olive oil, then filled with green pepper slices, black olives, onion slices, anchovies, tomato slices and hard-cooked egg slices — all drizzled with VINAIGRETTE.
pan-broil; panbroil To cook meats or fish quickly in a heavy, ungreased (or lightly greased) frying pan over high heat. Drippings are poured off as they form.
pancake As one of humankind's oldest forms of bread, the versatile pancake has hundreds of variations and is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner and as appetizers, entrées and desserts. Pancakes begin as a batter that is poured into rounds, either on a griddle or in a skillet, and cooked over high heat. These round cakes vary in thickness from the wafer-thin French CRÊPE to the much thicker American breakfast pancake (also called hotcake, griddlecake  and flapjack ). Many countries have specialty pancakes such as Hungarian PALACSINTA and Russian BLINI.
pancake turner see  TURNERS
pancetta [pan-CHEH-tuh] An Italian bacon that is cured with salt and spices but not smoked. Flavorful, slightly salty pancetta comes in a sausagelike roll. It's used in Italian cooking to flavor sauces, pasta dishes, FORCEMEATS, vegetables and meats. Pancetta can be tightly wrapped and refrigerated for up to 3 weeks, or frozen up to 6 months.
pandanus leaves see  SCREWPINE LEAVES
pandowdy Also called apple pandowdy , this DEEP-DISH dessert is made of sliced apples, butter, spices, brown sugar or molasses, all topped with a biscuit batter that becomes crisp and crumbly after baking. It can be served hot or at room temperature and is often accompanied by cream or ice cream. The origin of the name is unclear, although some seem to think it comes from the dessert's dowdy (plain and old-fashioned) appearance.
pan drippings see  DRIPPINGS
pane [PAH-nay] Italian for "bread."
paneer see  PANIR
panettone [pan-uh-TOH-nee] A sweet yeast bread made with raisins, CITRON, PINE NUTS and ANISE and baked in a tall cylindrical shape. It originated in Milan, Italy, and is traditionally served at Christmastime, but also for celebrations such as weddings and christenings. Panettone can be served as a bread, coffeecake or dessert.
panforte [pan-FOHR-tay, pan-FOHRT] Because this confection is a specialty of Siena, Italy, it's also called Siena cake . This dense, flat cake is rich with honey, hazelnuts, almonds, candied CITRON, citrus peel, cocoa and spices. It contains only a tiny amount of flour — just enough to hold the fruits and nuts together. After baking, panforte  becomes hard and chewy.
pan-fry see  FRY
panino [pah-NEE-noh, pah-NEE-nee] Italian for "roll" or "biscuit."
panir [pah-NEER] A fresh, unripened cheese, similar to FARMER CHEESE or POT CHEESE. Panir, also spelled paneer , is made from whole cow's or buffalo's milk and curdled with lemon or lime juice or with WHEY from a previous batch. It's essentially the same cheese as CHENNA, but panir has been pressed until its texture is firm — comparable to that of TOFU. Panir, which is customarily diced and sautéed, is used throughout India in a variety of dishes including DAL, salads and vegetables; it's an essential protein source in many vegetarian diets.
panko [PAHN-koh] Bread crumbs used in Japanese cooking for coating fried foods. They're coarser than those normally used in the United States and create a deliciously crunchy crust. Panko is sold in Asian markets.
panna cotta [PAHN-nah KOH-tah] Italian for "cooked cream" panna cotta  is a light, silky egg custard, which is often flavored with caramel. It's served cold, accompanied typically with fruit or chocolate sauce.
pansotti [pan-SOHT-tee] Italian for "pot bellied," culinarily describing triangular-shaped stuffed PASTA with pinked edges.
panzanella [pahn-zah-NEHL-lah] An Italian bread salad made with onions, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, vinegar and seasonings and chunks of bread. Some versions also include cucumbers, anchovies and/or peppers. More traditional recipes call for soaking the bread in water and then squeezing the water out. Others suggest browning the bread in olive oil before adding it to the salad.
papain [puh-PAY-ihn] An enzyme extracted from PAPAYA and employed as a meat tenderizer, and as an agent used to CLARIFY liquids (especially beer). See also  MEAT TENDERIZERS.
papaw [PA-paw] Both the PAPAYA and the papaw are sometimes referred to as pawpaw , which is thoroughly confusing because they're entirely different fruits. The papaw is a North American native that's a member of the CHERIMOYA family. It can range from 2 to 6 inches long and looks like a fat, dark-brown banana. The aromatic flesh is pale yellow and peppered with a profusion of seeds. It has a custardlike texture and a sweet flavor reminiscent of bananas and pears. Papaws are seldom cultivated and are rarely found in markets.
papaya [puh-PI-yuh, puh-PAH-yuh] Like the PAPAW, the papaya is native to North America (and in some regions, also called pawpaw ). But with those two comparisons the similarities end. The papaya tree is a horticultural wonder, growing from seed to a 20-foot, fruit-bearing tree in less than 18 months. Papayas are cultivated in semitropical zones around the world and can range in size from 1 to 20 pounds. The papaya variety found most often in the United States is the Solo, grown in Hawaii and Florida. It's large (about 6 inches long and 1 to 2 pounds in weight) and pear shaped; when ripe, it has a vivid golden-yellow skin. The similarly colored flesh is juicy and silky smooth, with an exotic sweet-tart flavor. The rather large center cavity is packed with shiny, grayish-black seeds. Though the peppery seeds are edible (and make a delicious salad dressing), they're generally discarded. Look for richly colored papayas that give slightly to palm pressure. Slightly green papayas will ripen quickly at room temperature, especially if placed in a paper bag. Refrigerate completely ripe fruit and use as soon as possible. Ripe papaya is best eaten raw, whereas slightly green fruit can be cooked as a vegetable. Papaya juice (or nectar) is available in many supermarkets and health-food stores. The fruit contains PAPAIN, a digestive enzyme that is used chiefly in MEAT TENDERIZERS. Papaya is a very good source of vitamins A and C. See also  BABÁCO.
papillote [pah-pee-YOHT, PAH-peh-loht] 1. The French word for a paper frill used to decorate the tips of rib bones, such as those on CROWN ROASTS. 2. En papillote  refers to food baked inside a wrapping of greased PARCHMENT PAPER. As the food bakes and lets off steam, the parchment puffs up into a dome shape. At the table, the paper is slit and peeled back to reveal the food.
pappadam; poppadum [PAH-pah-duhm] A wafer-thin East Indian bread made with LENTIL flour. This TORTILLAlike bread can be unseasoned (as preferred in southern India) or variously flavored with red or black pepper, garlic or other seasonings, as in northern India. Pappadams  are available in Indian markets in various sizes and flavors. Deep-fried pappadams  puff up to almost double their original size. Grilling them over an open flame will give them a smoky flavor.
pappardelle [pah-pahr-DEHL-lay] Wide noodles (about 5/8 inch) with rippled sides. See also pasta. 
paprika [pa-PREE-kuh, PAP-ree-kuh] Used as a seasoning and garnish for a plethora of savory dishes, paprika is a powder made by grinding aromatic sweet red pepper pods. The pods are quite tough, so several grindings are necessary to produce the proper texture. The flavor of paprika can range from mild to pungent and hot, the color from bright orange-red to deep blood-red. Most commercial paprika comes from Spain, South America, California and Hungary, with the Hungarian variety considered by many to be superior. Indeed, Hungarian cuisine has long used paprika as a mainstay flavoring rather than simply as a garnish. All supermarkets carry mild paprikas, while ethnic markets must be searched out for the more pungent varieties. As with all herbs and spices, paprika should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART
paprikás csirke [PAH-pree-kash CHEER-kah] Also called chicken paprikash , this Hungarian dish consists of chicken and onions browned in bacon drippings, then braised with chicken stock, paprika and other seasonings. A sauce is made from the braising liquid mixed with sour cream. Although chicken is traditionally used, versions of this dish are also made with meat and fish.
paratha [pah-RAH-tah] This flaky East Indian bread is made with whole-wheat flour and fried on a griddle. Parathas range from the simple to the exotic. The basic version simply has GHEE (clarified butter) brushed between multiple layers of dough that are then folded and rolled out again. This technique creates a flaky bread resembling puff pastry. More exotic versions of paratha are stuffed with various vegetables, fruits, herbs or spices.
parboil To partially cook food by boiling it briefly in water. This timesaving technique is used in particular for dense foods such as carrots. If parboiled, they can be added at the last minute with quick-cooking ingredients (such as bean sprouts and celery) in preparations such as STIR-FRIES. The parboiling insures that all the ingredients will complete cooking at the same time. See also  BLANCH.
parboiled rice see  RICE
parchment paper A heavy, grease- and moisture-resistant paper with a number of culinary uses including lining baking pans, wrapping foods that are to be baked en PAPILLOTE and to make disposable PASTRY BAGS. Parchment paper is available in gourmet kitchenware stores and many supermarkets.
parch, to To dry grains or starchy vegetables like corn, peas and beans by roasting slightly without burning.
pare To remove the thin outer layer of foods like fruits and vegetables with a small, short-bladed knife (called a paring KNIFE) or with a VEGETABLE PEELER.
pareve; parve [PAHR-uh-vuh, PAHR-vuh] A Jewish term describing food made without animal or dairy ingredients. According to KOSHER dietary laws, animal food cannot be consumed at the same meal with dairy food, but a pareve food may be combined or eaten with either. In order to be pareve, breads and cakes must be made with vegetable oils and not with butter or other animal fat.
parfait [pahr-FAY] 1. In the United States, this dessert consists of ice cream layered with flavored syrup or fruit and whipped cream. It's often topped with whipped cream, nuts and sometimes a MARASCHINO CHERRY. 2. A French parfait is a frozen custard dessert made with egg yolks, sugar, whipped cream and a flavoring such as fruit puree. In French, parfait  means "perfect," which is how many view this dessert. Both American and French parfaits are served in tall, narrow, footed "parfait glasses."
paring knife see  KNIFE
Paris-Brest [pa-ree-BREHST] A delightful French dessert said to have been created by a pastry chef in honor of a bicycle race between Paris and Brest. It consists of a baked almond-topped CHOUX PASTRY ring (patterned after a bicycle tire) that is split and filled with a praline-flavored BUTTERCREAM.
parisienne sauce [puh-ree-zee-EHN] 1. A creamy sauce, classically used to top cold asparagus, made by blending cream cheese, oil, lemon juice, CHERVIL and sometimes PAPRIKA. 2. Another name for ALLEMANDE SAUCE.
Parker House roll; Parkerhouse A yeast roll that became famous during the late 19th century at the Parker House, a Boston hotel. It gets its special shape when an off-center crease is made in a round piece of dough before it's folded in half. The result after baking is a light, puffy bun.
Parma ham [PAHR-muh] The true PROSCIUTTO, this superior Italian ham hails from northern Italy's province of Parma, the same area famous for Parmesan cheese. The special diet of chestnuts and WHEY (from the cheese-making process) that Parma pigs enjoy results in an excellent quality of meat. Parma hams are seasoned, salt-cured and air-dried but not smoked. They have a rosy-brown flesh that is firm and dense. The best of these special hams come from the little village of Langhirano, just south of the city of Parma. Parma hams are usually thinly sliced and eaten raw as an appetizer (often with melon) but they can be used in cooking as well. Italians use the rind to flavor soups. See also  HAM.
parmentier [par-mawn , -TYAY] A descriptor for a dish garnished or made with potatoes.
Parmesan cheese [PAHR-muh-zahn] This hard, dry cheese is made from skimmed or partially skimmed cow's milk. It has a hard, pale-golden rind and a straw-colored interior with a rich, sharp flavor. There are Parmesan cheeses made in Argentina, Australia and the United States, but none compares with Italy's preeminent Parmigiano-Reggiano, with its granular texture that melts in the mouth. Whereas the U.S. renditions are aged 14 months, Parmigiano-Reggianos are more often aged 2 years. Those labeled stravecchio  have been aged 3 years, while stravecchiones  are 4 years old. Their complex flavor and extremely granular texture are a result of the long aging. The words Parmigiano-Reggiano stenciled on the rind mean that the cheese was produced in the areas of Bologna, Mantua, Modena or Parma (from which the name of this cheese originated). Parmesans are primarily used for grating and in Italy are termed GRANA, meaning "grain" and referring to their granular textures. Pregrated Parmesan is available but doesn't compare with freshly grated. Both domestic and imported Parmesans are available in specialty cheese stores, Italian markets and many supermarkets. See also  CHEESE.
parmigiana, alla [pahr-muh-ZHAH-nuh] A term describing food that is made or cooked with PARMESAN CHEESE. For instance, veal parmigiana is a pounded veal cutlet dipped in an egg-milk solution and then into a mixture of bread crumbs, grated Paremesan cheese and seasonings. The cutlet is then sautéed and covered with a tomato sauce. Eggplant parmigiana consists of eggplant slices prepared in the same manner. Slices of MOZZARELLA CHEESE are sometimes melted on top of the food prior to adding the tomato sauce.
praliné [pra-lee-NAY] A food that is garnished, coated or made with PRALINE or almonds.
prawn There is a great deal of confusion about this term because it's used to describe several different SHELLFISH. 1. The first definition refers to a species that's part of the lobster family and includes those CRUSTACEANS variously called Dublin Bay prawn, Danish lobster, Italian scampi, langoustine  (French), langostino  (Spanish), Caribbean lobsterette  and Florida lobsterette . These "prawns" have bodies shaped like tiny Maine LOBSTERS including minuscule claws. The meat has a sweet, delicate flavor that some claim is better than either lobster or shrimp. These "prawns" are 6 to 8 inches in length and have pale-red bodies deepening to dark-red tails. 2. A second definition applies to the freshwater prawn (identified by the Latin name Macrobrachium ); the term distinguishes SHRIMP as living in salt water and prawns as freshwater creatures. In truth, these prawns migrate (much like salmon) from salt water to fresh water to spawn. They look like a cross between a shrimp and a lobster, with their bodies having narrower abdomens and longer legs than shrimp. See also  HAWAIIAN BLUE PRAWN. 3. The term "prawn" is also loosely used to describe any large shrimp, especially those that come 15 (or fewer) to the pound (also called "jumbo shrimp").
prepared mustard see  MUSTARD, PREPARED
preserve To prepare foods so that they can be kept for long periods of time without spoiling or deteriorating. Depending on the food and the length of time it's to be stored, preserving can be accomplished in a number of different ways including refrigeration, freezing, canning, salting, smoking, freeze-drying, dehydrating and pickling.
preserved lemons Lemons that have been preserved in a salt-lemon juice mixture (sometimes with spices such as cinnamon, cloves and coriander) for about 30 days. Preserved lemons have a silken texture and a distinctive flavor. They're an indispensable ingredient and flavoring in Moroccan cooking and used as a flavoring by many of today's leading chefs.
preserved sweet melon see  TEA MELON
preserves Fruit cooked with sugar and usually PECTIN, used as a spread for bread. Preserves differ from JAM in that the chunks of fruit are medium to large rather than the texture of thick puree. See also  JELLY.
pressed cookie Fancy cookies that are formed by pressing dough through a COOKIE PRESS or PASTRY BAG fitted with a decorative tip. See also  COOKIE.
pressed duck 1. A French specialty in which the breast and legs are removed from a cooked duck. The remainder of the bird is compressed in a special implement called a DUCK PRESS, which extracts all the juices. The extracted juice is mixed with reduced red wine, cognac and butter to produce a delicious sauce that is served with the sliced breast and legs. 2. A Chinese dish in which the duck is steamed, boned and flattened, then steamed and flattened again. The duck is then cut into quarters and deep-fried to a golden brown. Before serving, it's cut into squares and served on a bed of shredded lettuce, garnished with toasted almonds and accompanied with a pungent sauce.
pressure cooker A special cooking pot with a locking, airtight lid and a valve system to regulate internal pressure. Pressure cookers operate on a principle whereby the steam that builds up inside the pressurized pot cooks food at a very high temperature. This reduces the cooking time by as much as two-thirds without destroying the food's nutritional value. Newer pressure cooker designs feature built-in valves and indicator rods that indicate the pressure. Traditional models are equipped with detachable pressure regulators that can adjust the pressure for low (5 pounds), medium (10 pounds) or high (15 pounds). The more pounds of pressure, the higher the internal temperature and the quicker the food cooks. Pressure cookers have a safety valve, which will automatically vent the steam should there be a malfunction. There are many styles of pressure cookers on the market today, most of which are made for stovetop cooking. But there are also small pressure cookers that can be used in a microwave oven. Some of the newer pressure cookers have built-in pressure regulators. Pressure cookers are useful for foods that would normally be cooked with moist heat such as soups, stews, steamed puddings, tough cuts of meat, artichokes, etc. They can also be used for canning, and there are special pressure canners made specifically for this purpose.
pretzel [PREHT-zuhl] The pretzel can be traced back to the Romans, although the twisted loose knot shape is thought to have been introduced in the early part of the 7th century. The first U.S. commercial pretzel factory was established in 1861 in Lititz, Pennsylvania. There are two main types of pretzel — hard and crisp or soft and chewy (the older of the two forms). The latter is often sold hot with mustard by street vendors from their pretzel carts. Pretzels can be sprinkled with coarse salt or not, and shaped in the form of knots, sticks or rings. Crisp pretzels are available in many sizes, shapes and even flavors (such as rye) in supermarkets.
prick To make small holes in the surface of food. The best example is an unfilled pie dough that is pricked all over with the tines of a fork so it bakes without blistering or rising (see  BAKE BLIND).
prickly pear Named for its pearlike shape and size, this fruit comes from any of several varieties of cactus. Its prickly skin can range in color from green to purplish-red; its soft, porous flesh (scattered with black seeds) from light yellow-green to deep golden. Also called cactus pear , the prickly pear has a melonlike aroma and a sweet but rather bland flavor. It's extremely popular in Mexico, Central and South America, the Mediterranean countries and southern Africa, and is slowly gaining favor in the United States. Prickly pears are available in Mexican markets and some specialty produce markets from fall through spring. Choose fruit that gives slightly to palm pressure. It should have a deep, even color. Ripen firm prickly pears at room temperature until soft. Store ripe fruit in the refrigerator for up to a week. Prickly pears are usually served cold, peeled and sectioned with the seeds removed.
primavera, alla [pree-muh-VEHR-uh] This Italian phrase means "spring style" and culinarily refers to the use of fresh vegetables (raw or blanched) as a garnish to various dishes. One of the most popular dishes prepared in this manner is pasta primavera, pasta tossed or topped with diced or JULIENNED cooked vegetables.
prime rib The term "prime rib" is often incorrectly used as a label for what is actually a RIB ROAST. Culinarily, the term "prime" actually refers to the highest USDA beef grade. It's only given to the finest beef, hallmarked by even marbling and a creamy layer of fat. Very little prime beef makes it past the better hotels and restaurants or prestige butchers. The best grade of beef generally found in supermarkets is USDA Choice. Therefore, although "prime rib" is how rib roast is often labeled, chances are that it's USDA Choice beef. See  BEEF.
prix fixe [PREE FIHKS, PREE FEEKS] A French phrase meaning "fixed price," referring to a complete meal served by a restaurant or hotel for a preset price. Sometimes a menu offers several choices for each course for this set price. See also  À LA CARTE; TABLE D'HÔTE.
processed cheese Any of several types of natural cheese that are PASTEURIZED to lengthen storage life and combined with emulsifiers to aid smoothness. In some cases processed cheeses contain added colorings and preservatives. Products labeled cheese "spreads" or cheese "foods" contain added liquid for a softer, more spreadable mixture. According to U.S. government standards, only 51 percent of the final weight needs to be cheese. Processed cheeses keep well but lack the distinctive flavor and texture of natural cheeses. They're also sometimes referred to as American cheeses.  See also  CHEESE.
profiterole [pruh-FIHT-uh-rohl] A miniature CREAM PUFF filled with either a sweet or savory mixture. Savory profiteroles are usually served as appetizers. One of the most famous desserts made with these tiny pastries is the elaborate CROQUEMBOUCHE.
proof n.   A term used to indicate the amount of alcohol in LIQUOR or other spirits. In the United States, proof is exactly twice the percentage of alcohol. Therefore, a bottle of liquor labeled "86 Proof" contains 43 percent alcohol. proof v.  To dissolve YEAST in a warm liquid (sometimes with a small amount of sugar) and set it aside in a warm place for 5 to 10 minutes until it swells and becomes bubbly. This technique proves that the yeast is alive and active and therefore capable of LEAVENING a bread or other baked good.
prosciutto [proh-SHOO-toh] The Italian word for "ham," prosciutto is a term broadly used to describe a ham that has been seasoned, salt-cured (but not smoked) and air-dried. The meat is pressed, which produces a firm, dense texture. Italy's PARMA HAM is the true prosciutto, although others are also now made in the United States. Italian prosciuttos are designated prosciutto cotto, which is cooked, and prosciutto crudo, which is raw (though, because of its curing, ready to eat). This type of Italian ham is also labeled according to its city or region of origin, for example prosciutto di Parma and prosciutto di San Daniele. Prosciutto is available in gourmet and Italian markets and some supermarkets. It's usually sold in transparently thin slices. Prosciutto is best eaten as is and is a classic first course when served with melon or figs. It can also be added at the last minute to cooked foods such as pastas or vegetables. Prolonged cooking will toughen it.
proteins Composed of amino acids, proteins perform myriad essential functions for the body including supplying energy and building and repairing tissues. Proteins are obtained from both animal and vegetable sources including eggs, fish and meat.
provençal, à la [proh-vahn-SAHL] A term referring to dishes prepared in the style of Provence, a region in southeastern France. Garlic, tomatoes and olive oil are the major trademark of provençal cooking. Onions, olives, mushrooms, anchovies and eggplant also play a prominent part in many of these dishes.
provolone cheese [proh-voh-LOH-nee] This southern Italian cow's milk-cheese has a firm texture and a mild, smoky flavor. It has a golden-brown rind and comes in various forms, though the squat pear shape is most recognizable. Most provolone is aged for 2 to 3 months and has a pale-yellow color. However, some are aged 6 months to a year or more. As the cheese ripens, the color becomes a richer yellow and the flavor more pronounced. It is an excellent cooking cheese and aged provolones can be used for grating. Provolone is packaged in various sizes from little pear-shaped packages to giant sausage-shaped 200-pounders. Provolone is also now manufactured in the United States. See also  CHEESE.
prune 1. A dried plum. Prunes can be traced back to Roman times and have long been a popular northern European winter fruit because they could be stored without problem. Although any plum can be made into a prune, those with the greatest flavor, sweetness and firmness are best suited for that use. Commercial dehydration has replaced sun-drying as the primary method of producing prunes. Though the best prunes are found in the fall, they're available year-round. Prunes come in various sizes and are usually labeled small, medium, large, extra large and jumbo. When purchasing prunes look for those that are slightly soft and somewhat flexible. They should have a bluish-black skin and be blemish-free. Store them airtight in a cool, dry place (or refrigerate) for up to six months. Prunes can be eaten out of hand or used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Prune puree, which can be found in jars in most supermarkets, is broadly touted (primarily by the California Prune Board) as a fat substitute. In baked goods, substituting prune puree for butter or other fat can reduce cholesterol to zero and calories by up to 30 percent. The puree contributes moisture, a slightly chewy texture and a pruny flavor that can range from mild to moderately aggressive, depending on the other flavors in the food. 2. A variety of Italian plum. 3. In French, the word prune  means "plum," while pruneau  means "prune."
prunelle [proo-NEHL] A sweet, pale-green, BRANDY-based LIQUEUR flavored with SLOES (wild plums).
pueblo bread; pueblo adobe bread A Native American bread made by the pueblo-dwelling Indians of the Southwest and baked in the adobe ovens common to their dwellings. The bread's made from unbleached flour, salt, yeast, water, lard or shortening and sometimes sugar and/or eggs. A hot fire is started in the adobe oven and allowed to burn out. The ashes are immediately removed and the bread is then baked.
Puerto Rican cherry see  ACEROLA
puffball mushroom A firm, round, white mushroom that can range in size from 4 ounces to a giant 50-pounder. It has a mild, nutty flavor that complements many foods. Puffball mushrooms are available sporadically in specialty produce markets. They can be cut into thick or thin slices, breaded and sautéed, or chopped and used in a variety of dishes. See also  MUSHROOM.
puff pastry The French call this rich, delicate, multilayered pastry PÂTE FEUILLETÉE. It's made by placing pats of chilled fat (usually butter) between layers of pastry dough, then rolling it out, folding it in thirds and letting it rest. This process, which is repeated 6 to 8 times, produces a pastry comprising hundreds of layers of dough and butter. When baked, the moisture in the butter creates steam, causing the dough to puff and separate into hundreds of flaky layers. Puff pastry is used to make a variety of crisp creations including CROISSANTS, NAPOLEONS, PALMIERS and ALLUMETTES. It's also used as a wrapping for various foods such as meats, cheese and fruit.
pull date see  OPEN DATING
pullet [POOL-iht] A young hen, less than 1 year old. See also  CHICKEN.
pulque [POOL-keh] The unofficial national drink of Mexico, pulque is the fermented sap of the AGAVE. It's white, thick and quite sweet.
pulse The dried seed of any of several LEGUMES including BEANS, PEAS and LENTILS.
pulverize To reduce to powder or dust, usually by crushing, pounding or grinding.
pummelo see  POMELO
pumpernickel [PUHM-puhr-nihk-uhl] A coarse dark bread with a slightly sour taste. Pumpernickel is usually made of a high proportion of rye flour and a small amount of wheat flour. Molasses is often used to add both color and flavor.
pumpkin When the Colonists landed in North America they found the Indians growing and using pumpkins. This large, ungainly fruit was enthusiastically embraced by the new Americans and subsequently pumpkin pie became a national Thanksgiving tradition. It was so loved that one early Connecticut colony delayed Thanksgiving because the molasses needed to make this popular pie wasn't readily available. Large, round and orange, the pumpkin is a member of the gourd family, which also includes MUSKMELON, WATERMELON and SQUASH. Its orange flesh has a mild, sweet flavor and the seeds — husked and roasted — are delicately nutty. Pumpkin seeds are commonly known as PEPITAS. Fresh pumpkins are available in the fall and winter and some specimens have weighed in at well over 100 pounds. In general, however, the flesh from smaller sizes will be more tender and succulent. Choose pumpkins that are free from blemishes and heavy for their size. Store whole pumpkins at room temperature up to a month or refrigerate up to 3 months. Pureed pumpkin is also available canned. Pumpkin may be prepared in almost any way suitable for winter squash. It's a good source of vitamin A.
pumpkin seed oil A robustly flavored oil made from roasted pumpkin seeds (see  PEPITAS). The color of this fairly thick oil is a khaki-green. Because of its strong flavor, pumpkin seed oil is best combined with other oils in cooking, salad dressings and other preparations. See also  FATS AND OILS.
pumpkin seeds see  PEPITAS
pupu; pu pu [POO-poo] The Hawaiian term for any hot or cold appetizer, which can include a wide range of items such as macadamia nuts, WON TONS, chunks of fresh pineapple or coconut and barbecued meats.
puree; purée [pyuh-RAY] n.  Any food (usually a fruit or vegetable) that is finely mashed to a smooth, thick consistency. Purees can be used as a garnish, served as a side dish or added as a thickener to sauces or soups. puree v.  To grind or mash food until it's completely smooth. This can be accomplished by one of several methods including using a food processor or blender or by forcing the food through a sieve.
purple laver see  LAVER
puttanesca sauce; alla puttanesca [poot-tah-NEHS-kah] Generally served with pasta, this sauce is a spicy mélange of tomatoes, onions, capers, black olives, anchovies, oregano and garlic, all cooked together in olive oil. A dish on a menu described as alla puttanesca  signals that it's served with this sauce. The name puttanesca  is a derivation of puttana , which in Italian means "whore." According to one story, the name purportedly comes from the fact that the intense fragrance of this sauce was like a siren's call to the men who visited such "ladies of pleasure."
pyramide cheese [pih-rah-MEED] A truncated pyramid is the shape of this small French CHÈVRE that's often coated with an edible dark-gray vegetable ash. It's produced around the central Loire valley area of France. Pyramide can range in texture from soft to slightly crumbly and, depending on age, in flavor from mild to sharp. It's wonderful served with crackers or bread and fruit. See also  CHEESE.
pomodoro [poh-moh-DAW-roh] Literally translating to "golden apple," pomodoro is Italian for "tomato" (the first tomatoes in Italy were a yellowish color). Dishes described as al pomodoro  are served with a tomato sauce.
Pacific littleneck clam see  LITTLENECK CLAM
Pacific oyster Also called the Japanese oyster , this species has an elongated fragile shell that can reach up to a foot across. It's found along the Pacific seaboard. Because of its size, the Pacific oyster is generally cut up and used in soups, stews and other cooked dishes. See also  OYSTER.
Pacific pompano see  BUTTERFISH
pack date see  OPEN DATING
paddy straw mushrooms see  STRAW MUSHROOMS
pad thai Thailand's most well known noodle dish, pad thai combines cooked rice noodles, TOFU, shrimp, crushed peanuts, NAM PLA, bean SPROUTS, garlic, chiles and eggs, all stir-fried together.
paella [pi-AY-yuh, pi-AYL-yuh] A Spanish dish of SAFFRON-flavored rice combined with a variety of meats and shellfish (such as shrimp, lobster, clams, chicken, pork, ham and CHORIZO), garlic, onions, peas, artichoke hearts and tomatoes. It's named after the special two-handled pan — also called paella  — in which it's prepared and served. The pan is wide, shallow and 13 to 14 inches in diameter.
paillard [PI-yahrd] A veal SCALLOP or thin slice of beef that is quickly grilled or sautéed.
pain [PAN ] 1. The French word for "bread" or "loaf of bread." Various types of bread in France include: pain aux noix  (nut bread), pain complet  (whole wheat bread), pain d'épices  (spiced or gingerbread), pain grillé  (toasted bread), pain de mie  (sliced, packaged white bread), pain ordinaire  (peasant bread), pain perdu  (FRENCH TOAST) and pain petit  (roll). 2. The word pain  is also used in France to describe a baked, molded loaf of FORCEMEAT bound with a PANADE. Such a meat, poultry, fish or vegetable pain  can be served hot, cold or at room temperature.
pain perdu [pahn , pehr-DOO] see  FRENCH TOAST
pakora [pah-KOOR-ah] A deep-fried FRITTER popular in India. The batter is generally based on BESAN flour (ground CHICKPEAS) and can contain most anything including vegetables, fruit, rice, fish or meat. Usually small, the crisply fried pakoras are most often served as appetizers or snacks.
Parmigiano-Reggiano [pahr-muh-ZHAH-noh reh-zhee-AH-noh] see  PARMESAN CHEESE
parsley In ancient times parsley wreaths were used to ward off drunkenness — though proof of their efficacy in that capacity is scarce. Today, this slightly peppery, fresh-flavored herb is more commonly used as a flavoring and garnish. Though there are more than 30 varieties of this herb, the most popular are curly-leaf parsley and the more strongly flavored Italian or flat-leaf parsley. Fresh curly leaf parsley is widely available year-round, while Italian parsley must sometimes be searched out in gourmet produce markets. Parsley is sold in bunches and should be chosen for its bright-green leaves that show no sign of wilting. Wash fresh parsley, shaking off excess moisture, and wrap first in paper towels, then in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for up to a week. Dried parsley is available in the spice section of most supermarkets but bears little resemblance to the flavor of fresh. Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. See also  HERBS; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
pompano [PAHM-puh-noh] 1. A member of the JACK family, this saltwater fish is found in waters off South Atlantic and Gulf states. Its succulent, fine-textured, moderately fat flesh has a mild, delicate flavor. Pompano is considered by many to be America's finest fish — one reason, no doubt, that it's so expensive. It's marketed whole and in fillets, both fresh and frozen. Pompano may be prepared by almost any cooking method. The most famous dish made from this fish is pompano en papillote, where it's baked in PARCHMENT PAPER with mushrooms and a VELOUTÉ SAUCE. 2. Pacific pompano is a variety of BUTTERFISH. See also  FISH.
pom pom mushroom A beautiful white mushroom that was named for its resemblance to a cheerleader's pompoms. This firm yet feathery specimen can range from 4 to 10 inches in diameter. It can be found in some specialty produce markets throughout the year. Select those with a bright white color and no signs of yellowing. See also  MUSHROOM.
Pont l'Évêque cheese [pon lay-VEHK] This uncooked, ripened cheese was well known as far back as the 13th century. It's made from whole or partially skimmed cow's milk and has a milk fat content of about 50 percent. The square-shape cheese has a golden or golden-orange rind. The interior is pale yellow with a creamy, softly oozing texture and a fresh, sweet-tart flavor. A well-ripened Pont l'Évêque will smell strong but not stinky. Avoid those that are gummy or bitter tasting. See also  CHEESE.
pony 1. A small (about 1 ounce) bar measure, which is sometimes also used to serve LIQUEURS. 2. The term also refers to the amount of liquid such a glass holds (usually 1 ounce), as in a pony of whiskey. See also  SHOT; JIGGER.
ponzu sauce [PON-zoo] A Japanese sauce made with lemon juice or RICE VINEGAR, SOY SAUCE, MIRIN and/or SAKE, KOMBU (SEAWEED) and dried bonito flakes (KATSUOBUSHI). Ponzu sauce is used as a dipping sauce with dishes like SASHIMI and with one-pot dishes like CHIRINABE.
poorboy; po' boy see  HERO SANDWICH
poori; puri [POOR-ee] This deep-fried bread is round, flat and UNLEAVENED. It's made with whole-wheat flour, water and GHEE or other fat — the dough is almost identical to that for CHAPATI. Poori is very popular in northern India as well as in neighboring Pakistan.
popadam; poppadum see  PAPPADOM
popcorn; popped corn Said to date back at least 6,000 years, popcorn is a special variety of dried corn that pops open and puffs up when heated. This transformation occurs because of a high amount of natural moisture trapped inside the hull. Heating the corn creates immense pressure, which bursts open the hull, turning the kernel inside-out. Popcorn comes in many styles, from white to yellow to red to blue, from plain to flavored, and from oil-popped to air-popped. There's also special popcorn formulated for use in the MICROWAVE OVEN, as well as ears of popcorn, the kernels of which pop right on the cob. For regular (sans oil) packaged popcorn, 1 tablespoon of oil plus 1/2 cup corn kernels yields about 4 cups of popped corn. Unpopped popcorn can be stored at room temperature for about a year, but retains its natural moisture (which means it will produce larger popped kernels) better if stored airtight  in the refrigerator or freezer. Popcorn packaged with oil in its own "pan" should be stored no longer than about 3 months at room temperature. One cup of plain popcorn equals about 30 calories; 1 cup buttered popcorn equals 90 to 120 calories, depending on the amount of butter.
popcorn; popped corn Said to date back at least 6,000 years, popcorn is a special variety of dried corn that pops open and puffs up when heated. This transformation occurs because of a high amount of natural moisture trapped inside the hull. Heating the corn creates immense pressure, which bursts open the hull, turning the kernel inside-out. Popcorn comes in many styles, from white to yellow to red to blue, from plain to flavored, and from oil-popped to air-popped. There's also special popcorn formulated for use in the MICROWAVE OVEN, as well as ears of popcorn, the kernels of which pop right on the cob. For regular (sans oil) packaged popcorn, 1 tablespoon of oil plus 1/2 cup corn kernels yields about 4 cups of popped corn. Unpopped popcorn can be stored at room temperature for about a year, but retains its natural moisture (which means it will produce larger popped kernels) better if stored airtight  in the refrigerator or freezer. Popcorn packaged with oil in its own "pan" should be stored no longer than about 3 months at room temperature. One cup of plain popcorn equals about 30 calories; 1 cup buttered popcorn equals 90 to 120 calories, depending on the amount of butter.
pope's nose Also known as a parson's nose,  this is the stubby tail protuberance of a dressed fowl. It seems to have originated as a derogatory term meant to demean Catholics in England during the late 17th century.
popover A puffy, muffin-size bread with a crisp brown crust and a somewhat hollow, moist interior. Basic popovers begin with a simple batter of eggs, milk, butter and flour. The high proportion of liquid in the batter creates steam that LEAVENS the bread. Popovers may be baked in muffin tins or special popover pans, which have extra-deep cups. The name is said to come from the fact that as the batter bakes and expands, it "pops over" the sides of the cup-shaped indentations. Popovers can be plain or variously flavored with items such as cheese, spices or herbs.
poppy seed; poppyseed These small, dried, bluish-gray seeds of the poppy plant measure less than 1/16 inch in diameter — it takes about 900,000 of them to equal a pound. Poppy seeds have a crunchy texture and a nutty flavor. They're used as a filling in various cakes, pastries and coffee cakes, as a topping for myriad baked goods, in salad dressings and in a variety of cooked dishes — particularly those originating in central Europe, the Middle East and India. Poppy seeds can be purchased whole or ground in most supermarkets. There are also beige and brown poppy seeds, which are more commonly available in Asian or Middle Eastern markets. Because of their high oil content, all poppy seeds are prone to rancidity. They should therefore be stored, airtight, in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. The flavor of poppy seed is augmented by toasting.See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
porcino [pohr-CHEE-nee] Also called cèpes,  these delicious, earthy treasures are members of the Boletus edulis  species of wild mushroom. They're pale brown in color and can weigh from an ounce or two up to a pound. Their caps can range from 1 to 10 inches in diameter. Porcini have a smooth, meaty texture and pungent, woodsy flavor that is much regaled. You'll seldom find them fresh in the United States but you might try looking for them in specialty produce markets in late spring or in the autumn. If you get lucky, choose those with firm, large (about 6-inch) caps and pale undersides. The dried form of this mushroom is more readily available. Choose those that are a tan to pale brown in color; avoid those that are crumbly. Dried porcini must be softened in hot water for about 20 minutes before using. They can be substituted for cultivated mushrooms in most recipes. One ounce of dried mushrooms will serve about 4 people in soups, stuffings, stews and the like. Porcini are also known as Boletes  and Steinpilze . See also  MUSHROOM.
porgy [POHR-gee] Widely known as sea bream,  there are many different varieties of this fish family in the United States and around the world. The most popular United States porgy is the scup, which is found in Atlantic waters. Porgies have a firm, low-fat flesh with a delicate, mild flavor. Although some grow to 20 pounds, most fall into the 1/2- to 3-pound range. They're available fresh and frozen, and are generally sold whole. The porgy is suitable for almost any method of cooking, including baking, grilling and frying. See also  FISH.
pork The tried-but-true saying that everything but the pig's squeal can be used is accurate indeed. Though pigs are bred primarily for their meat (commonly referred to as pork) and fat, the trimmings and lesser cuts (feet, jowl, tail, etc.) are used for SAUSAGE, the bristles for brushes, the hair for furniture and the skin for leather. The majority of pork in the marketplace today is CURED — like BACON and HAM — while the remainder is termed "fresh." Slaughterhouses can (but usually don't) request and pay for their pork to be graded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The grades are USDA 1, 2, 3, 4 and utility — from the best downwards — based on the proportion of lean to fat. Whether graded or not, all pork used for intrastate commerce is subjected to state or federal inspection for wholesomeness, insuring that the slaughter and processing of the animal was done under sanitary conditions. Pork shipped interstate must be federally inspected. Today's pork is leaner (about 1/3 fewer calories) and higher in protein than that consumed just 10 years ago. Thanks to improved feeding techniques, trichinosis in pork is now also rarely an issue. Normal precautions should still be taken, however, such as washing anything (hands, knives, cutting boards, etc.) that comes in contact with raw pork and never tasting uncooked pork. Cooking it to an internal temperature of 137°F will kill any trichinae. However, allowing for a safety margin for thermometer inaccuracy, most experts recommend an internal temperature of from 150° to 165°F, which will still produce a juicy, tender result. The 170° to 185°F temperature recommended in many cookbooks produces overcooked meat. Though pork generally refers to young swine under a year old, most pork today is slaughtered at between 6 to 9 months, producing a leaner, more tender meat. Though available year-round, fresh pork is more plentiful (and the prices lower) from October to February. Look for pork that is pale pink with a small amount of marbling and white (not yellow) fat. The darker pink the flesh, the older the animal. Fresh pork that will be used within 6 hours of purchase may be refrigerated in its store packaging. Otherwise, remove the packaging and store loosely wrapped with waxed paper in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Wrapped airtight, pork can be frozen from 3 to 6 months, with the larger cuts having longer storage capabilities than chops or ground meat. Some of the more popular fresh pork cuts are pork chops, pork loin and pork ribs. The most popular cured pork products include ham, bacon, CANADIAN BACON and SALT PORK. See also  CHOP; CROWN ROAST; CUTLET; FATBACK; KIDNEY,PIG'S FEET; SHANK; SPARERIBS; SWEETBREADS; TONGUE; TRIPE PICNIC HAM.
pork sausage, fresh A general category for uncooked sausage made with fresh ground pork and pork fat, usually mildly seasoned with pepper and sage. Under federal law, fresh pork sausage cannot contain more than 50 percent fat or 3 percent added moisture. It comes in link, patty and bulk form and is available in most supermarkets. See also  SAUSAGE.
pork shoulder see  PICNIC HAM
pork shoulder see  PICNIC HAM
porridge [POR-ihj] A thick, puddinglike dish made of cereal or grain (usually oatmeal) cooked in water or milk. Porridge is usually eaten hot for breakfast with sugar and milk or cream.
port; Porto A sweet FORTIFIED WINE most often served after a meal. Grape alcohol is added to the wine partway through fermentation, stopping the process at a point where the wine has plenty of sweetness and alcohol (18 to 20 percent). Port wines originated in the Douro Valley in northern Portugal; the best ports still come from that area. The name is derived from the fact that these wines are shipped out of the Portuguese city of Oporto and, in fact, such wines are labeled "Porto," rather than "port." There are many types of port and the various labels can be confusing. The best and most expensive are Vintage Ports, which are made from grapes of a single vintage, bottled within 2 years. The very best of these can age 50 years or more. Late-bottled Vintage Ports and Single Vintage Ports are also made from grapes of a single vintage (though the grapes are not of as high a quality as those for vintage Ports). Late-bottled Vintage Ports are aged in wood for up to 6 years, while Single Vintage Ports have been wood-aged at least 7 years. Both are ready to drink when bottled and do not have the aging potential of Vintage Ports. Tawny Ports are a blend of grapes from several different years and can be aged in wood for as long as 40 years. They're tawny in color and ready to drink when bottled. Vintage Character Ports are essentially high-quality Ruby Ports, which are considered the lowest grade of port. They're blended from several vintages and wood-aged, but not nearly as long as Tawnies. They're the lightest and fruitiest in flavor and are ready to drink when bottled. American wineries have been bottling vintage ports since the early 1970s.
porter A heavy, dark-brown, strongly flavored beer. The dark color and strong flavor come from the addition of roasted MALT. Porters are usually higher in alcohol than regular LAGER beers. See also  BEER.
porterhouse steak A steak cut from the large end of the SHORT LOIN containing meat from both the tenderloin (the most tender cut of meat) and the top loin muscle. This is one of the best and most expensive steaks. See also  BEEF.
portobello mushroom; portobella mushroom [por-toh-BEHL-loh] An extremely large, dark brown mushroom that is simply the fully mature form of the CRIMINO, which in turn is a variation of the common cultivated white mushroom. The name "portobello" began to be used in the 1980s as a brilliant marketing ploy to popularize an unglamorous mushroom that, more often than not, had to be disposed of because growers couldn't sell them. The portobello mushroom, which can easily measure 6 inches in diameter, has an open, flat cap. Because it's the elder of the species, the portobello's gills are fully exposed, which means that some of the mushroom's moisture has evaporated. The reduced moisture concentrates and enriches the flavor and creates a dense, meaty texture. Portobellos can be found in gourmet produce markets as well as many supermarkets. Their stems are very woody and should be removed (but saved for soups, stocks, etc.). The caps can be used chopped, as with most mushrooms, but the portobello is much more dramatic used whole. It's particularly popular grilled and used in a sandwich, or cut into thick slices for a salad or entrée. See also  MUSHROOM.
Port-Salut cheese [por suh-LOO] This semisoft cheese was first made by 19th-century Trappist monks at the Monastery of Port-du-Salut in the Brittany region of France. Made from cow's milk, Port-Salut comes in thick cylinders (about 9 inches in diameter) with an orange rind and pale-yellow interior. It has a mild, savory flavor and smooth, satiny texture. It's a perfect partner for fruit. See also  CHEESE.
posole; pozole [poh-SOH-leh] A thick, hearty soup usually eaten as a main course. It consists of pork (sometimes chicken) meat and broth, HOMINY, onion, garlic, dried CHILES and CILANTRO. It's usually served with chopped lettuce, radishes, onions, cheese and cilantro, which diners can add to the soup as they please. Posole originated in Jalisco, in the middle of Mexico's Pacific Coast region, and is traditionally served at Christmastime.
posset [POS-iht] In the Middle Ages this hearty hot drink was considered a remedy for colds. It consists of hot milk, wine or ale, sugar and spices. Some versions add beaten egg, making it even richer.
pot n.   A round, deep cooking container that usually has two handles and a lid. Pots can range from small to large. Except for SKILLETS, most cooking containers can be called pots. pot v.  An older method of preserving food by cooking it in plenty of fat and a small amount of water. After cooking, the food is placed in small pots or jars and covered with a layer of fat. As the fat cools and hardens it forms an airtight seal, protecting the food from airborne bacteria. Refrigeration and other modern food-packaging methods have limited the necessity for potting foods, but some traditional dishes like French CONFITS are still potted and enjoyed today.
potable [POH-tuh-bl] A word used to describe a liquid suitable for drinking, such as potable  water. potable n.  Any beverage, particularly those containing alcohol.
potage [poh-TAHZH] The French have three separate words for soup. CONSOMMÉ is a clear, thin broth. Soupe  refers to a thick, hearty mélange with chunks of food. Potage falls somewhere between the first two in texture and thickness. A potage is usually pureed and is often thickened slightly with cream or egg yolks. Today, the words soupe  and potage  are often used interchangeably.
potato The ancient Incas were cultivating this humble tuber thousands of years ago. The potato was not readily accepted in Europe, however, because it was known to be a member of the nightshade family (as are the tomato and eggplant) and therefore thought to be poisonous. In the 16th century, Sir Walter Raleigh was instrumental in debunking the poisonous potato superstition when he planted them on property he owned in Ireland. The Irish knew a good thing when they saw it and a hundred years later were growing and consuming the potato in great quantities. Today, hundreds of varieties of this popular vegetable are grown around the world. In America, the potato can be divided into four basic categories: russet, long white, round white and round red. The russet Burbank potato (also simply called russet  and Idaho ) is long, slightly rounded and has a brown, rough skin and numerous eyes. Its low moisture and high starch content not only give it superior baking qualities but also make it excellent for FRENCH FRIES. The russet Burbank was named for its developer, horticulturalist Luther Burbank of Idaho. Although grown throughout the Midwest, the russet is also commonly called IDAHO POTATO (whether or not it's grown there). Long white potatoes have a similar shape as the russet but they have thin, pale gray-brown skins with almost imperceptible eyes. They're sometimes called white rose  or California long whites , after the state in which they were developed. Long whites can be baked, boiled or fried. The thumb-sized baby long whites are called finger potatoes. The medium-size round white and round red potatoes are also commonly referred to as boiling potatoes . They're almost identical except that the round white has a freckled brown skin and the round red a reddish-brown coat. They both have a waxy flesh that contains less starch and more moisture than the russet and long white. This makes them better suited for boiling (they're both commonly used to make mashed potatoes) than for baking. They're also good for roasting and frying. The round white is grown mainly in the Northeast where it's sometimes referred to by one of its variety names, Katahdin . The round red is cultivated mainly in the Northwest. Yukon gold potatoes have a skin and flesh that ranges from buttery yellow to golden. These boiling potatoes have a moist, almost succulent texture and make excellent mashed potatoes. There are a variety of relatively new potatoes in the marketplace, most of which aren't new at all but rather heritage vegetables that date back centuries. Among the more distinctive examples are the all blue potatoes, which range in color from bluish purple to purple-black. These small potatoes have a dense texture and are good for boiling. Other purple potatoes have skin colors that range from lavender to dark blue and flesh that can be from white to beige with purple streaking. Among the red-fleshed potatoes are the huckleberry  (red skin and flesh) and the blossom  (pinkish-red skin and flesh). New potatoes are simply young potatoes (any variety). They haven't had time to convert their sugar fully into starch and consequently have a crisp, waxy texture and thin, undeveloped wispy skins. New potatoes are small enough to cook whole and are excellent boiled or pan-roasted. Because they retain their shape after being cooked and cut, new potatoes are particularly suited for use in potato salad. The season for new potatoes is spring to early summer. Potatoes of one variety or another are available year-round. Choose potatoes that are suitable for the desired method of cooking. All potatoes should be firm, well-shaped (for their type) and blemish-free. New potatoes may be missing some of their feathery skin but other types should not have any bald spots. Avoid potatoes that are wrinkled, sprouted or cracked. A green tinge — indicative of prolonged light exposure — is caused by the alkaloid solanine, which can be toxic if eaten in quantity. This bitter green portion can be cut or scraped off and the potato used in the normal fashion. Store potatoes in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place for up to 2 weeks. New potatoes should be used within 3 days of purchase. Refrigerating potatoes causes them to become quite sweet and to turn dark when cooked. Warm temperatures encourage sprouting and shriveling. Potatoes are probably the most versatile vegetable in the world and can be cooked in any way imaginable. They're available in a wide selection of commercial products including POTATO CHIPS, instant mashed potatoes (dehydrated cooked potatoes), canned new potatoes and a plethora of frozen products including HASH BROWNS, FRENCH FRIES and stuffed baked potatoes. Potatoes are not at all hard on the waistline (a 6-ounce potato contains only about 120 calories) and pack a nutritional punch. They're low in sodium, high in potassium and an important source of complex carbohydrates and vitamins C and B-6, as well as a storehouse of minerals. Neither SWEET POTATOES nor YAMS are botanically related to the potato.
potato chips Because these deep-fried, thinly sliced potatoes were invented by the chef of a Saratoga Springs, New York, hotel at the behest of a mid-19th-century guest, they're also called Saratoga chips . Now these all-American favorites come commercially in a wide selection of sizes, cuts (ripple and flat), thicknesses, and flavors such as chive, barbecue and NACHO. Most commercial potato chips contain preservatives; those labeled "natural" usually do not. Some are salted while others are labeled "low-salt"; though most potato chips are skinless, others do include the flavorful skin. There are even chips made from mashed potatoes formed into perfect rounds and packed into crushproof cardboard cylinders. All potato chips should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. The storage time depends on whether or not they contain preservatives and how old they were when purchased. Some chips have a freshness date stamped on the package.
potato flour Also called potato starch , this gluten-free flour is made from cooked, dried and ground potatoes. It's used as a thickener and, because it produces a moist crumb, in some baked goods.
potato ricer see  RICER
potato salad A salad of cooked, diced or cubed potatoes mixed with other ingredients such as chopped onion, green peppers, celery, hard-cooked eggs, seasonings and a mayonnaise- or sour cream- based dressing. German potato salad, often served hot, is bound with a vinegar-bacon fat dressing.
potato starch see  POTATO FLOUR
pot-au-feu [poh-toh-FEUH] "Pot on fire" is the literal translation of this French phrase. Culinarily it refers to a French dish of meat and vegetables slowly cooked in water. The resulting rich broth is served with croutons as a first course, followed by an entrée of the meat and vegetables. Any combination of meat and vegetables can be used and the mix varies according to the region. If the meat has MARROW-filled bones, the marrow can be served on toast as another course preceding the entrée.
pot cheese A soft, fresh cheese that is basically COTTAGE CHEESE that is drained longer and therefore has a slightly drier texture. See also  CHEESE.
pot de crème; pot-au-crème [poh duh KREHM, poht-oh-KREHM] French for "pot of cream," this dessert consists of a creamy-rich custard prepared and served in tiny (about 3-ounce) pot-shaped cups. Though the classic flavoring is vanilla, pot de crème  comes in many variations including chocolate and coffee.
pot liquor; potlikker The vitamin-rich liquid left after cooking greens, vegetables, meat, etc. This broth is particularly popular in the southern United States and is traditionally served separately with cornbread or CORN PONE.
pot marjoram see  MARJORAM
pot pie; potpie A dish of chunks of meat or poultry, chopped vegetables and rich sauce, combined in a deep bowl or casserole, topped with a pastry crust and baked.
pot roast n:  Usually an inexpensive, less tender cut of beef that is first browned, then braised very slowly in a covered pot with a little liquid. The result is a flavorful, tender piece of meat. CHUCK or ROUND cuts are the most popular for this dish. The dish is called Yankee pot roast when vegetables are added to the pot partway through the cooking process. pot roast v.  To cook meat by browning, then braising in a covered pot either on top of the stove or in the oven.
pot stickers Small dumplings made of WON TON SKINS filled with ground meat or shellfish, chopped water chestnuts, scallions and seasonings. The pot stickers are browned on one side, then turned and simmered in broth. Pot stickers are usually served as appetizers, accompanied with various dipping sauces.
potted shrimp Finely diced or pureed cooked shrimp mixed with seasoned butter, then placed in small pots covered with additional melted butter and refrigerated. Potted shrimp is usually spread on toast and served as an HORS D'OEUVRE. See also  POT v. 
poularde [poo-LAHRD] The French term referring to a fat chicken or hen suitable for roasting.
poulet [poo-LAY] The French word for a young, tender spring chicken.
poultry Any domesticated bird used as food. Centuries ago the Chinese began raising a variety of birds that were gradually brought to the West via Asia, Greece and Rome. Today there are many domesticated varieties of poultry including CHICKEN, TURKEY, DUCK, GOOSE, Rock Cornish hen (see  CHICKEN), GUINEA FOWL and PHEASANT. All poultry ranks high nutritionally. It's classified as a complete protein, is a good source of calcium, phosphorus and iron and contains riboflavin, thiamine and niacin. See  CHICKEN for information regarding purchasing, storing and preparing poultry. 
poultry shears A scissorlike implement designed to cut up poultry. A good pair of poultry shears has slip-proof handles and slightly curved blades, one with a serrated and notched edge for gripping the flesh and cutting bones. Poultry shears make easy work of cutting up a duck, snipping out the backbone of a chicken or cutting up a stewing hen to be used for stock. They also perform additional useful tasks such as trimming artichokes and other vegetables.
pound cake Originally this fine-textured loaf cake was made with one pound each of flour, butter, sugar and eggs, plus a flavoring like vanilla or lemon. A myriad of variations have evolved throughout the years, with additions such as leavening (baking powder or baking soda) and flavorings such as coconut, nuts, raisins and dried fruit. With reduced cholesterol and calories in mind, there are now pound cakes made with vegetable oil, as well as nonfat versions.
pourriture noble [poo-r , ee-tyoor , NAW-bluh] see  BOTRYTIS CINEREA
pousse-café [poos ka-FAY] 1. This French term literally means "push the coffee," and in France refers in general to cordials, brandies, etc. that might be served after dinner with coffee. 2. In the United States, it refers to a very elaborate, multicolored after-dinner drink made by layering various LIQUEURS on top of one another without disturbing the layer below. A slender liqueur glass is used and the heaviest (usually the sweetest) liqueurs are poured in first.
poussin [poo-SAHN ] French for a very young, small chicken, sometimes also called petit poussin. 
powdered milk see  DRY MILK
powdered sugar see  CONFECTIONERS' SUGAR
pozole see  POSOLE
praches see  HOLISHKES
prairie oyster see  MOUNTAIN OYSTERS
parsnip Europeans brought the parsnip to the United States in the early 1600s but this creamy-white root has never become an American favorite. The first frost of the year converts the parsnip's starch to sugar and gives it a pleasantly sweet flavor. Fresh parsnips are available year-round with the peak period during fall and winter. Look for small to medium, well-shaped roots; avoid limp, shriveled or spotted parsnips.They can be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to 2 weeks. Parsnips are suitable for almost any method of cooking including baking, boiling, sautéing and steaming. They're often boiled, then mashed like potatoes. Parsnips contain small amounts of iron and vitamin C.
parson's nose see  POPE'S NOSE
partridge Strictly speaking, there are two main varieties of this GAME BIRD — the gray partridge and the red-legged partridge — neither of which is a North American native. In various regions of the United States, the name "partridge" is erroneously applied to other birds including the ruffed grouse, QUAIL and bobwhite. All of these birds are plump and have white, tender, slightly gamey flesh. Frozen partridges are available at some specialty meat and poultry markets. They usually weigh 12 to 14 ounces. Partridges can be cooked in a variety of ways including roasting, broiling and braising. The meat also makes a tasty addition to soups and stews.
pasilla chile [pah-SEE-yah] In its fresh form this CHILE is called a CHILACA. It's generally 6 to 8 inches long and 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The rich-flavored, medium-hot pasilla is a blackish-brown color, which is why it's also called chile negro . This chile is sold whole, and powdered. It's particularly good for use in sauces.
paskha [PAHS-kuh] A Russian sweet cheese mold traditionally served at Easter. It consists of a combination of sweetened POT CHEESE (or cottage cheese), nuts (usually almonds) and candied or dried fruit. Classically, this mixture is molded into the shape of a four-sided pyramid. The paskha is decorated with nuts or candy to form the letters XB , which stands for "Christ is risen." Paskha is the traditional accompaniment for the sweet yeast bread KULICH.
passion fruit This tropical fruit is said to be named not for the passionate propensity it promotes but because particular parts of the plant's flowers resemble different symbols of Christ's crucifixion, such as the crown of thorns. Though native to Brazil, passion fruit (also called granadilla ) is now also grown in Australia, California, Florida, Hawaii (where it's called lilikoi ) and New Zealand. The most common variety marketed in the United States is egg-shaped and about 3 inches long. When ripe, it has a dimpled, deep-purple skin and a soft, golden flesh generously punctuated with tiny, edible black seeds. The flavor is seductively sweet-tart and the fragrance tropical and perfumy. Fresh passion fruit is available from March through September in Latin markets and some supermarkets. Choose large, heavy, firm fruit with a deep-purple color. Store ripe passion fruit in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can be served plain as a dessert or used to flavor a variety of foods like sauces, ice creams and beverages. Canned passion-fruit nectar is available in many supermarkets. Passion fruit contains a small amount of vitamins A and C.
pasta filata [PAH-stuh fih-LAH-tuh] Italian for "spun paste," pasta filata  refers to the stretched-curd cheeses made famous in Italy, such as MOZZARELLA, PROVOLONE and CACIOCAVALLO. Such cheeses are made using a special technique whereby the curd is given a hot whey bath, then kneaded and stretched to the desired pliable consistency. See also  CHEESE.
pasta machines There are two basic types of machines that can be used to make homemade pasta — the roller type and the extruder type. Roller-type pasta machines come in hand-cranked and electric versions. Both come with several attachments — usually one pair of smooth rollers for rolling out the sheets of dough, and two notched pairs (one narrow and one wide) used to cut noodles. With this type of machine, the dough is run between the smooth rollers at increasingly thinner settings until it reaches the desired thickness. The sheets of dough are then fed through either pair of the notched rollers, which cut them into noodles. Some machines have additional attachments, such as crinkle-edge cutters for making lasagne noodles. Extruder pasta machines mix the dough inside the unit, then force it out through special plates with variously shaped perforations. Depending on the perforations, solid or hollow-shaped pastas can be produced. Both types of pasta machines are generally available in gourmet kitchenware stores and the small-appliance section of many department stores.
pasteurize; pasteurization [PAS-chuh-rize, PAS-tuh-rize] To kill bacteria by heating milk or other liquids to moderately high temperatures for a short period of time. Milk must be heated to at least 145°F for not less than 30 minutes or at least 161°F for 15 seconds, and then rapidly cooled to 40°F or lower. The process was discovered by the famous French scientist Louis Pasteur while he was researching the cause of beer and wine spoilage. Although pasteurization is used in beer processing and for some wines and fruit juices, the major beneficiary is milk. Pasteurization kills the bacteria in milk that were once responsible for transmitting diseases such as typhoid fever, tuberculosis, scarlet fever, polio and dysentery. LACTIC ACID bacteria, which cause milk to sour, are not destroyed by pasteurization. Neither is the food value of milk greatly diminished by the process. See also  HOMOGENIZE.
pastilla [pah-STEE-yuh] see  B'STEEYA
pastille [pas-TEEL] A small, round, hard confection made of sugar, water and various flavorings. In the United States pastilles are usually referred to as drops, as in lemon drops.
pastina [pah-STEE-nah] Italian for "tiny dough." Culinarily, this term refers to any of various tiny pasta shapes (such as ACINI DE PEPE), generally used in soups. See also  PASTA.
pastis [pas-TEES] 1. Similar to PERNOD, this clear, strong (90 PROOF), licorice-flavored APÉRITIF is very popular in the south of France. It's usually mixed with water, which turns it whitish and cloudy. 2. Any of various yeast-leavened pastries of southwestern France such as pastis Beranais , which is flavored with brandy and ORANGE-FLOWER WATER.
pastitsio [pah-STEET-see-oh] A well-known baked Greek casserole dish consisting of pasta (SPAGHETTI or MACARONI), ground beef or lamb, grated cheese, tomatoes, seasonings (including cinnamon) and a white (BÉCHAMEL) sauce.
pastrami [puh-STRAH-mee] A highly seasoned beef made from a cut of plate, BRISKET or ROUND. After the fat is trimmed, the meat's surface is rubbed with salt and a seasoning paste that can include garlic, ground peppercorns, cinnamon, red pepper, cloves, allspice and coriander seeds. The meat is dry-cured, smoked and cooked. Pastrami can be served hot or cold, usually as a sandwich on rye bread. It's widely available in chunks or presliced in most supermarkets.
pastry 1. Any of various UNLEAVENED doughs, the basics of which include butter (or other fat), flour and water. Examples include PUFF PASTRY, PÂTE BRISÉE (pie pastry) and PÂTE SUCRÉE (sweet short pastry). 2. A general term for sweet baked goods such as DANISH PASTRIES and NAPOLEONS.
pastry bag A cone-shaped bag with two open ends. The small end is pointed and can be fitted with decorative tips of different sizes and designs, while doughs, whipped cream, fillings, etc. are spooned into the large end. When the bag is squeezed, the contents are forced through the tip. Pastry bags have a multitude of uses including decorating cakes, forming pastries or cookies and piping decorative borders. They come in various sizes and can be made of a variety of materials, including nylon and plastic-lined cotton or canvas, polyester and plastic. Pastry bags can be found in gourmet shops, some supermarkets and the kitchenware section of most department stores.
pastry blender A kitchen implement consisting of 5 or 6 parallel U-shaped, sturdy steel wires, both ends of which are attached to a wooden handle. It's used in making pastry dough to cut cold fat (usually butter) into a flour mixture, evenly distributing the tiny pieces of fat without warming them.
pastry brush A small brush used for applying glazes to breads, pastries, cookies, etc. either before or after baking. The best all-purpose size has a width of 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Pastry brushes can be made of nylon bristles, sterilized natural bristles or goose feathers. Natural-bristle brushes are considered best because they're softer and hold more liquid. Goose feathers are excellent for egg glazes because they leave a thin, even coating. The harder nylon bristles will last longer but may melt if accidentally touched to a hot surface. Softer bristles are especially desirable for delicate unbaked pastries where harder bristles might leave unwanted marks.
pastry cloth A large, lightweight canvas cloth on which pastry dough can be rolled out. Rubbing flour down into the fibers makes the pastry cloth an excellent nonstick surface. After use, the cloth must be thoroughly cleaned before storing. Otherwise, any fat residue in the cloth will turn rancid and affect the flavor of future doughs.
pastry comb see  CAKE COMB
pastry cream see  CRÈME PATISSIÈRE
pastry flour see  FLOUR
pastry jagger see  PASTRY WHEEL
pastry wheel A small utensil consisting of a sharp cutting wheel attached to a handle. Small pastry wheels with plain cutting edges are used to mark and cut rolled-out pastry or cookie dough. Larger, plain-edged wheels are used to cut pizza. Jagging wheels or pastry jaggers have fluted cutting edges that make a decorative design in pastry doughs.
pasty [PAS-tee] see  CORNISH PASTY
pâte [PAHT] This pâte  (without an accent over the "e") is the French word for "dough," "paste," "batter" or "pastry." PÂTE BRISÉE is pie dough or short pastry; PÂTE SUCRÉE is sweet pastry. PASTA is translated as pâte alimentaire , ALMOND PASTE as pâte d'amandes  and TOMATO PASTE as pâte de tomates. 
pâté [pah-TAY, pa-TAY] French for "pie," this word — with accent over the "e" — is generally used to refer to various elegant, well-seasoned ground-meat preparations. A pâté can be satiny-smooth and spreadable or, like country pâté, coarsely textured. It can be made from a finely ground or chunky mixture of meats (such as pork, veal, liver or ham), fish, poultry, game, vegetables, etc. Seasonings and fat are usually also included in the mixture, which can be combined before or after cooking. Pâtés may be cooked in a crust, in which case they're referred to as pâté en croûte. They may also be cooked in a pork fat-lined container called a terrine (or any other similarly sized mold), in which case they're called pâté en terrine. Traditional parlance says that when such a mixture is cooked and served in a terrine, the dish is also called a terrine, and when unmolded it becomes a pâté. Today, however, the two terms are often used interchangeably. Pâtés may be hot or cold and are usually served as a first course or appetizer.
pâte à choux [paht ah SHOO] see  CHOUX PASTRY
pâte brisée [paht bree-ZAY] A French term for "short pastry," a rich flaky dough used for sweet and savory crusts for dishes such as pies, tarts, QUICHES and BARQUETTES.
pâté de foie gras see  FOIE GRAS
pâte feuilletée [paht fuh-yuh-TAY] The French term for "PUFF PASTRY." See also  FEUILLETAGE.
pâte sucrée [paht soo-KRAY] A French term for a rich, sweetened short pastry used for desserts such as pies, tarts and filled cookies.
patis [pah-TEES] A pungent-flavored sauce made from salted, fermented fish. Patis is used both as a flavoring sauce and condiment. See also  BAGOONG; FISH SAUCE; SHRIMP SAUCE.
pâtisserie [puh-TIHS-uh-ree, pah-tees-REE] This French word has three different meanings: 1. The general category of sweet baked goods including cakes, cookies, cream puffs, etc. 2. The art of pastrymaking. 3. A shop where pastries are made and sold.
pâtissier [pah-tees-SYAY] The French word for "pastry cook" or "pastry chef."
patty 1. A small, thin round of ground or finely chopped food such as meat (as with a hamburger patty), fish or vegetables. 2. A round, flat piece of candy, one of the most popular being the peppermint patty.
pattypan squash A round, flattish summer squash with a scalloped edge. Tender young pattypans can be identified by their pale-green skin (which turns white as the squash matures) and small size (3 to 4 inches in diameter). The thin skin, which can be smooth to slightly bumpy, is usually not removed. Pattypan squash can be cooked in the same manner as other summer squash. See also  SQUASH.
patty shell Usually made of PUFF PASTRY, this small cup-shaped shell is used to hold creamed dishes of meat, poultry, fish or vegetables. Fresh patty shells are available in bakeries, while frozen unbaked shells can usually be found in supermarkets.
paupiette [poh-PYEHT] A thin slice of meat — usually veal or beef — rolled around a filling of finely ground meat or vegetables. The paupiette can be fried, baked or braised in wine or stock. It's sometimes wrapped in bacon before being cooked. Paupiettes are also called ROULADES.
pavé [pah-VAY] French for a square or rectangular "paving stone" or "cobblestone." In culinary usage the word refers to: 1. A square or rectangular dessert consisting of several layers of sponge cake filled with BUTTERCREAM or other filling and coated with FROSTING; 2. a square-shaped, aspic-coated mousse made of meat, fish or poultry, usually served cold. It can also be made with a sweet mousse.
Pavlova [pav-LOH-vuh] Hailing from Australia, this famous dessert is named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It consists of a crisp MERINGUE base topped with whipped cream and fruit such as strawberries, PASSION FRUIT and KIWI. A pavlova is usually served with fruit sauce or additional whipped cream.
pawpaw [PAW-paw] Another name for both PAPAYA and PAPAW.
pea There are many varieties of pea, all members of the LEGUME family. Some — like the ENGLISH PEA (the common garden pea) — are grown to be eaten fresh, removed from their pods. Others — like the FIELD PEA — are grown specifically to be used dried. POD PEAS are those that are eaten pod and all, namely the SNOW PEA and SUGAR SNAP PEA. See also  BLACK-EYED PEA; CHICKPEA.
pea bean The smallest of the dried white beans, the others being NAVY, GREAT NORTHERN and MARROW BEANS (in order of ascending size). Pea beans are very popular in the Northeast and are the first choice for BOSTON BAKED BEANS. Some producers and packagers do not differentiate between pea beans and navy beans, so packages identified as white beans may contain both. Pea beans are also used in soups. They require long, slow cooking. See also  BEANS.
peach Native to China, this fruit came to Europe (and subsequently to the New World) via Persia, hence its ancient appellation Persian apple . Throughout its evolution, the peach has propagated hundreds of varieties that vary greatly in color and flavor. In general, a peach falls into one of two classifications — freestone, in which case the stone or pit falls easily away from the flesh, and clingstone, where the fruit adheres stubbornly to the pit. It's the freestones that are more commonly found in markets, while the firmer-textured clingstones are widely used for commercial purposes. The peach's velvety skin can range from pink-blushed creamy-white to red-blushed yellow and its flesh from pinkish-white to yellow-gold. Peaches are available from May to October in most regions of the United States. Southern hemisphere imports are frequently found in coastal cities during the winter. Look for intensely fragrant fruit that gives slightly to palm pressure. Because peaches bruise easily they should be thoroughly perused for soft spots. Avoid those with signs of greening. To ripen underripe peaches, place them in a paper bag, pierce the bag in several places, and set it aside at room temperature for a couple of days. Adding an apple to the bag will speed ripening because apples exude ethylene gas, which speeds the ripening process. Refrigerate ripe peaches in a plastic bag for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before eating. Because of their fuzzy skins, peaches are often peeled before eating. This can be done easily by BLANCHING the peach in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then plunging it into icy-cold water. Canned peaches are available, sliced or in halves, packed either in sugar syrup or water. Frozen peach slices are also available, as are dried peach halves. Peaches contain both vitamins A and C.
peach Melba A dessert created in the late 1800s by the famous French chef Escoffier for Dame Nellie Melba, a popular Australian opera singer. It's made with two peach halves that have been poached in syrup and cooled. Each peach half is placed hollow side down on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream, then topped with MELBA SAUCE (a raspberry sauce) and sometimes with whipped cream and sliced almonds.
peanut Though today peanuts are considered a rather common nut, ancient Peruvians held them in such high esteem that they buried pots of peanuts with their mummified dead to nourish them during their long journey to the hereafter. Peanuts are widely grown throughout the southern United States and about half the national crop is used to make PEANUT BUTTER. At one stage of its growth, the peanut plant looks very much like the common garden pea plant . . . which is not at all illogical, since the peanut is actually a LEGUME, not a NUT. The nuts (or seeds) have a papery brown skin and are contained in a thin, netted, tan-colored pod. Peanuts are also called groundnuts  (as well as earth nuts  and, in the South, GOOBERS or goober peas ) because, after flowering, the plant bends down to the earth and buries its pods in the ground. Though there are several varieties of peanut, the two most popular are the Virginia and the Spanish peanut. The Virginia peanut is larger and more oval in shape than the smaller, rounder Spanish peanut. Peanuts are sold unshelled and shelled. The former should have clean, unbroken shells and should not rattle when shaken. Shelled peanuts, often available in vacuum-sealed jars or cans, are usually roasted and sometimes salted. Refrigerate unshelled peanuts tightly wrapped for up to 6 months. Vacuum-packed shelled peanuts can be stored unopened at room temperature for up to a year. Once opened, shelled peanuts should be refrigerated airtight and used within 3 months. Peanuts are high in fat and rich in protein. The two most popular peanut by-products are PEANUT BUTTER and PEANUT OIL.
peanut butter Developed in 1890 and promoted as a health food at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, peanut butter is a blend of ground shelled peanuts, vegetable oil (often hydrogenated) and usually a small amount of salt. Some contain sugar and additives to improve creaminess and prevent the oil from separating. Natural peanut butter uses only peanuts and oil, usually PEANUT OIL. Peanut butter is sold in two forms — smooth or chunky, which contains bits of peanut. It can be easily made at home in a blender or food processor. Natural peanut butter must be refrigerated after opening and can be stored in this manner up to 6 months. Most other commercial peanut butters can be stored at room temperature for up to 6 months. Peanut butter is high in fat and contains fair amounts of iron, niacin and protein. See also  PEANUT.
peanut oil A clear oil pressed from peanuts; it is used for salads and, because it has a high SMOKE POINT, especially prized for frying. Most American peanut oils are mild-flavored, whereas Chinese peanut oils have a distinctive peanut flavor. Peanut oil is about 50 percent monounsaturated and 30 percent polyunsaturated. If stored in a cool, dark place it will keep indefinitely. See also  FATS AND OILS.
pear There are over 5,000 varieties of pears grown throughout the world in temperate climates. France is known for its superior pears and in the United States most of the crop comes from California, Oregon and Washington. Mother Nature protected the easily bruised pear by making it better when picked while still hard. Unlike most fruit, it improves in both texture and flavor after it's picked. Pears range in shape from spherical to bell-shaped and in color from celadon green to golden yellow to tawny red. Ripe pears are juicy and, depending on the variety, can range in flavor from spicy to sweet to tart-sweet. Pears are in season from late July to early spring, depending on the variety. Choose those that are fragrant and free of blemishes and soft spots. Store at room temperature until ripe; refrigerate ripe fruit. It's not necessary to peel pears before using, but, if they are peeled, they should be dipped in ACIDULATED WATER to prevent the flesh from browning. For cooking, choose fruit that is still quite firm. Pears are also available dried as well as canned in either water, SUGAR SYRUP or their natural juice. They contain small amounts of phosphorus and vitamin A. See also  ANJOU; ASIAN; BARTLETT; BOSC; COMICE; SECKEL.
pearl barley see  BARLEY
pearl onion see  ONION
pea shoots see  DAU MIU
pecan [pih-KAHN, pih-KAN, PEE-kan] This native American nut is a member of the hickory family. It has a fat content of over 70 percent . . . more than any other nut. Pecan trees prefer temperate climates and are widely grown in Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas, and as far north as Virginia. The nut's smooth, tan shell averages about 1 inch in length and, though hard, is relatively thin. The buttery-rich kernel is golden-brown on the outside and beige inside. Chopped or halved shelled pecans are available year-round in cellophane packages, cans and jars. Though unshelled pecans are also available throughout the year, their peak season is during the autumn months. Choose unshelled pecans by their clean, unblemished, uncracked shells. When shaken, the kernel should not rattle. Store tightly wrapped in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Refrigerate shelled pecans in an airtight container for up to 3 months, or freeze up to 6 months. Care must be taken when storing pecans because their high fat content invites rancidity. Pecans are favorites for eating out of hand, as well as for using in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Probably the most well-known pecan dessert is the deliciously rich Southern pecan pie, usually dolloped generously with whipped cream. See also  NUTS.
pecan rice see  WILD PECAN RICE
pecorino cheese [peh-kuh-REE-noh] In Italy, cheese made from sheep's milk is known as pecorino . Most of these cheeses are aged and classified as GRANA (hard, granular and sharply flavored); however, the young, unaged Ricotta pecorino is soft, white and mild in flavor. Aged pecorinos range in color from white to pale yellow and have a sharp, pungent flavor. The best known of this genre is Pecorino Romano, which comes in large cylinders with a hard yellow rind and yellowish-white interior. Other notable pecorinos are Sardo, Siciliano and Toscano. These hard, dry cheeses are good for grating and are used mainly in cooking. They can be used in any recipe that calls for PARMESAN CHEESE, especially if a sharper flavor is desired. See also  CHEESE.
pectin [PEHK-tihn] Present in various ripe fruits and vegetables, this natural, water-soluble substance is used for its thickening properties in the preparation of jams, jellies and preserves. The gelatinlike pectin is added to fruits that don't have enough natural pectin to JELL by themselves. If pectin isn't used, the alternative is to continue cooking the mixture until it's reduced to the desired consistency. Pectin only works properly when mixed with the correct balance of sugar and acid. It's available in two forms — liquid (usually made from apples) and dry (from citrus fruits or apples).
peel n.  1. The rind or skin of a fruit or vegetable, such as a tomato or potato peel. 2. A flat, smooth, shovellike tool used to slide pizzas and yeast breads onto a BAKING STONE or BAKING SHEET in an oven. Also called a pizza peel  and baker's peel , this implement is made of hardwood and can usually be found in gourmet specialty shops. peel v.  To use a knife or VEGETABLE PEELER to remove the rind or skin from a fruit or vegetable, as to peel a potato.
Peking cabbage see  CHINESE CABBAGE
pisto [PEES-toh] A Spanish vegetable dish originally from La Mancha, south of Madrid. Pisto can include chopped tomatoes, sweet red or green peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, eggplant and sundry other vegetables all cooked together. Sometimes ham or other meat is added. This Spanish favorite can be eaten hot or cold, served as a main course, side dish or appetizer.
pistou [pees-TOO] 1. A mixture of crushed basil, garlic and olive oil used as a CONDIMENT or sauce. It's the French version of Italy's PESTO. 2. A French vegetable soup that usually includes green beans, white beans, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and VERMICELLI; it is seasoned with the basil-garlic condiment in definition 1. The soup is similiar to an Italian MINESTRONE.
pit v.  To remove the stone or seed of a fruit. This is most often done by using a sharp knife to cut it loose or a specialized utensil (known as a PITTER) to push it out. pit n.  The stone or seed of a fruit such as a cherry, peach, apricot or plum.
pita [PEE-tah] Also called pocket bread,  this Middle Eastern FLAT BREAD can be made of white or whole-wheat flour. Each pita round splits horizontally to form a pocket into which a wide variety of ingredients can be stuffed to make a sandwich. Throughout the Middle East, pitas are served with meals or cut into wedges and used as dippers for dishes such as BABA GHANOUSH and HUMMUS. Pita bread is available in Middle Eastern markets and in most supermarkets.
pith The soft, white, somewhat bitter, spongy layer that lies between the outer peel and the flesh of a CITRUS FRUIT.
pitter, olive or cherry A fairly simple tool consisting of two attached hinged handles, one with a ring at the end, the other with a blunt prong. The olive or cherry is placed in the ring and the handles are squeezed together, forcing the prong through the fruit and pushing the pit out through the hole in the ring. Pitters (also called stoners ) come in various designs and sizes. They can be found in gourmet shops and in the kitchenware section of many department stores.
pizza [PEET-suh] Made popular in the United States by soldiers who brought the idea back from Italy at the end of World War II, pizza is thought to have evolved from early Egyptian flat bread. Literally translated, the word means "pie," but it has come to represent a round savory tart made with a crisp yeast dough covered with tomato sauce, MOZZARELLA CHEESE and other ingredients such as peppers, onions, Italian sausage, mushrooms, anchovies and PEPPERONI. Variations such as deep-dish pizza, with its thick breadlike crust, have been popular over the years. Many menus now feature pizzas sans tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. They're topped instead with ingredients such as sun-dried tomatoes, duck sausage, fresh basil, smoked salmon, goat cheese or wild mushrooms.
pizza pan A round metal sheet with a shallow, rounded raised rim, used for baking pizza. Some pans are perforated with hundreds of small holes that allow moisture to escape, which helps the dough brown evenly. Pizza pans can be found in gourmet shops and in the kitchenware section of many department stores.
pizza peel see  PEEL
plaice [PLAYC] The American plaice, also called Canadian plaice  and dab,  is a member of the FLOUNDER family, which is found on both sides of the Atlantic. The fish can be various shades of reddish- to gray-brown and has a lowfat, fine-textured flesh with a mild, sweet flavor. The American plaice can get as large as 12 pounds but is usually marketed in the 2- to 3-pound range. It's available fresh and frozen, either whole or filleted. The European plaice, a similar fish but with different coloring, is found in the North Sea and is widely popular in Europe. Both the American and European plaice are suitable for almost any cooking method. See also  FISH; FLATFISH.
plank; planking A cooking method handed down by American Indians whereby meat or fish is cooked — usually by baking or broiling — on a wooden board. Planking imparts a soupçon of the wood's flavor to the food. Food referred to as "planked" has been cooked in this manner.
plantain [PLAN-tihn] see  BANANA
plastic wrap The ability of this versatile food wrap to cling to both food and containers makes it superior for forming an airtight seal. There are many varieties of plastic wrap, some of which are thicker, cling better and have better moisture-vapor retention than others. Most plastic wraps are made of polyethylene , whose components are not absorbed by foods to any degree. The wrap that is considered to have the best cling and moisture retention is made of polyvinylidene chloride , another leading brand is made of polyvinyl chloride  (PVC ). For added flexibility, both require the addition of plasticizers that, if in direct extended contact with food, can be absorbed. However, the USDA has approved their use with food and, though little is known of the effects of human ingestion of plasticizers over a prolonged period of time, there is no current evidence that they are harmful. There is some concern, however, that wraps containing plasticizers can transfer their components to food during lengthy heating in a microwave oven.
pleurotte [pluhr-AHT] The French name for the OYSTER MUSHROOM.
plover [PLUH-vuhr, PLOH-vuhr] A small GAME BIRD which cannot be hunted legally in the United States. Plovers are now farm-raised, however, and are also imported from Europe. They're available on a limited basis in specialty produce markets. The golden plover is considered superior and has a delicate and delicious meat. Plover is usually roasted.
plum There are hundreds of plum varieties cultivated throughout the world. All grow in clusters, have smooth, deeply colored skin and a center pit. Plums can range in shape from oval to round and in size from 1 to 3 inches in diameter. Their color can be yellow, green, red, purple, indigo blue and almost anything in between. The pale silvery-gray, filmy-looking coating on a plum's skin is natural and doesn't affect quality. Fresh plums are available from May to late October. Choose firm plums that give slightly to palm pressure. Avoid those with skin blemishes such as cracks, soft spots or brown discolorations, the latter indicating sunburn. Very firm plums may be stored at room temperature until slightly soft. Refrigerate ripe plums in a plastic bag for up to 4 days. Some plums are grown specifically to be dried as PRUNES. The majority, however, are enjoyed fresh for out-of-hand eating or for use in a wide variety of sweet and savory preparations. Also available are canned plums, packed in either water or sugar syrup. Plums contain a fair amount of vitamin A and potassium.
plump, to To soak dried fruit (such as raisins) in liquid until the fruit softens and swells slightly from absorbing some of the liquid.
plum pudding The name of this specialty comes from the fact that it originally contained plums, which it no longer does. Instead, this traditional Christmas dessert is made with SUET, dried currants, raisins, almonds and spices. It's either steamed or boiled and is often served warm, flamed with brandy or rum, and accompanied by HARD SAUCE.
plum sauce Also called duck sauce , this thick, sweet-and-sour condiment is made with plums, apricots, sugar and seasonings. Plum sauce is most often served with duck, pork or spareribs.
plum tomato see  TOMATO
poach To cook food gently in liquid just below the boiling point when the liquid's surface is beginning to show some quivering movement. The amount and temperature of the liquid used depends on the food being poached. Meats and poultry are usually simmered in stock, fish in COURT-BOUILLON and eggs in lightly salted water, often with a little vinegar added. Fruit is often poached in a light SUGAR SYRUP. Poaching produces a delicate flavor in foods, while imparting some of the liquid's flavor to the ingredient being poached.
poblano chile [poh-BLAH-noh] A dark (sometimes almost black) green CHILE with a rich flavor that varies from mild to snappy. The darkest poblanos have the richest flavor. This chile is about 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide and 4 to 5 inches long, tapering from top to bottom in a triangular shape. The very best poblanos are found in central Mexico, though they are now also grown in the U.S. Southwest. Fresh poblanos can be found in Mexican markets and in many supermarkets. Their peak season is summer and early fall. They're also available canned. Ripe poblanos turn a reddish-brown color and are sweeter than the green. In their dried state they're known as ANCHO or MULATO chiles. Poblanos can be used in a variety of dishes, but are perhaps best known as the chile of choice for CHILES RELLENOS.
pocket bread see  PITA
pod The natural outer covering that houses the seeds of legumes like BEANS, LENTILS, PEAS and SOYBEANS. The pods of many legumes are too tough to be eaten and must be removed (SHELLED), whereas some — like the SNOW PEA — have very tender pods that are deliciously edible.
pod peas Peas that are completely edible, including the pod. Examples include SNOW PEAS and SUGAR SNAP PEAS. See also  PEA.
poha [POH-hah] The Hawaiian name for CAPE GOOSEBERRY.
pohole [poh-HOH-lay] see  FIDDLEHEAD FERN
poi [POY, POH-ee] This native Hawaiian dish is definitely an acquired taste. It's made from cooked TARO ROOT that is pounded to a smooth paste, then mixed with water, the amount depending on how the poi is to be served. Since poi is eaten with the fingers, its consistency is measured accordingly and ranges from "one-finger" (the thickest) to "three-finger" (the thinnest). Poi is generally fermented for several days, which gives it a sour, acidic taste. It can be eaten by itself, mixed with milk to make a porridge or served as a CONDIMENT for meat and fish. Poi is available in cans in Hawaii and in some specialty stores on the mainland.
point, à see  À POINT
poire [PWAHR] The French word for "pear."
poire Hélène [pwahr ay-LEHN] A dessert consisting of a pear that has been poached in a vanilla-flavored SUGAR SYRUP, chilled, then placed on a scoop of vanilla ice cream and topped with warm chocolate sauce. This dessert is also called belle Hélène .
Poire William [pwahr WEEL-yahm] A clear pear EAU DE VIE from Switzerland. Some bottles of Poire William have a whole pear inside, a feat accomplished by placing a bottle over the budding fruit and allowing it to grow inside.
pois [PWAH] The French word for "pea" or "peas." Petits  pois  are small green peas.
poisson [pwah-SOHN ] The French word for "fish." Poisson d'eau douce  is "freshwater fish," poisson de mer  is "seawater fish."
poivre [PWAHV-r] The French word for "pepper." Poivre  blanc  is white pepper and poivre gris  or poivre noir  is black pepper.
polenta [poh-LEHN-tah] A staple of northern Italy, polenta is a MUSH made from cornmeal. It can be eaten hot with a little butter or cooled until firm, cut into squares and fried. For added flavor, polenta is sometimes mixed with cheese such as PARMESAN or GORGONZOLA. It can be served as a first course or side dish and makes hearty breakfast fare.
Polish sausage see  KIELBASA
pollo [It. , POHL-loh, Sp. , POH-yoh] The Italian and Spanish word for "chicken."
pollock; pollack [POL-uhk] This member of the COD family is found in the North Atlantic. The low- to moderate-fat flesh is white, firm and has a delicate, slightly sweet flavor. The pollock can reach about 35 pounds but is normally found in markets between 4 and 10 pounds. It's available fresh, frozen and smoked, either whole or in fillets or steaks. Pollock may be prepared in any way suitable for cod. It's often used to make SURIMI, which is now commonly available. See also  FISH.
polonaise, à la [poh-loh-NEHZ] French for "in the manner of Poland," generally referring to cooked vegetables (most often cauliflower or asparagus) that are sprinkled with chopped hard-cooked egg, bread crumbs, parsley and melted butter.
polvorone [pohl-voh-ROHN-ay] see  MEXICAN WEDDING CAKES
polyunsaturated oil; polyunsaturates [pol-ee-uhn-SATCH-uh-ray-tehd] see  FATS AND OILS
pomegranate [POM-uh-gran-uht] Nature's most labor-intensive fruit is about the size of a large orange and has a thin, leathery skin that can range in color from red to pink-blushed yellow. Inside are hundreds of seeds packed in compartments that are separated by bitter, cream-colored membranes. Each tiny, edible seed is surrounded by a translucent, brilliant-red pulp that has a sparkling sweet-tart flavor. Pomegranates are grown throughout Asia, the Mediterranean countries and in California. In the United States they're available in October and November. Choose those that are heavy for their size and have a bright, fresh color and blemish-free skin. Refrigerate for up to 2 months or store in a cool, dark place for up to a month. To use, cut the pomegranate in half and pry out the pulp-encased seeds, removing any of the light-colored membrane that may adhere. Pomegranates can be eaten as fruit, used as a garnish on sweet and savory dishes or pressed to extract the juice. They're rich in potassium and contain a fair amount of vitamin C.
pomelo; pommelo; pummelo [pom-EH-loh] This giant citrus fruit is native to Malaysia (where it still grows abundantly) and thought to be ancestor to the grapefruit. Like grapefruits, pomelos vary greatly in color, size and shape. They range from cantaloupe-size to as large as a 25-pound watermelon and have very thick, soft rind that can vary in color from yellow to pale yellowish-brown to pink. The light yellow to coral-pink flesh can vary from juicy to slightly dry and from seductively spicy-sweet to tangy and tart. The pomelo is also called shaddock  after an English sea captain who introduced the seed to the West Indies. The French name for this fruit is chadec.  Choose fruit that is heavy for its size, blemish-free and sweetly fragrant. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Pomelos may be used in any way suitable for GRAPEFRUIT. They're high in vitamin C and potassium. The pomelo is also called Chinese grapefruit .
pomfret [POM-friht] see  BUTTERFISH
pomme [POM] The French word for "apple."
pomme de terre [pom duh TEHR] A French phrase that literally means "apple of the earth," but which refers to the potato. The phrase is usually shortened to simply pommes,  as in pommes frites  (FRENCH FRIES).
pommelo see  POMELO
pommes Anna [pom ANNA] Translated as "Anna potatoes," this classic French dish is a simple preparation of thinly sliced potatoes baked in a shallow dish or pie plate. Layers of potatoes are buttered and sprinkled with salt and pepper. The dish is then tightly covered with foil and the top weighted. After baking, the dish is inverted onto a serving plate and the potatoes turned out. The resulting potato "pie" is brown and crisp on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside. It's cut into wedges to serve.
pommes frites [pom FREET] The French phrase for FRENCH FRIES.
pommes noisette [POM nwah-ZEHT] Noisette  is French for "hazelnut," and this term refers to potatoes that have been cut into tiny, hazelnut-shape balls before being sautéed in butter until well browned.
pommes soufflées [pom soo-FLAY] Also known as soufflé potatoes , these crisp potato puffs are the result of deep-frying thinly sliced potatoes twice. The first time the potatoes are fried in 300°F oil. After cooling, they're fried in 375°F oil until they inflate and turn golden brown.
© The Residential Chef 2019