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Term Pronounciation Definition
somen [SOH-mehn] A thin, white Japanese noodle made from wheat flour. A yellowish version, called tamago  somen , is made with egg yolk. Somen, which is similar to VERMICELLI, is often served cold during the summer months, but is also frequently served in soups. See  also  ASIAN NOODLES.
sommelier [saw-muh-LYAY] The French term for a steward or waiter in charge of wine. For hundreds of years, sommeliers were responsible for the cellaring and serving of wines for royalty. Eventually the tradition of the sommelier spread to restaurants, where such an individual is expected to have extensive knowledge of wines and their suitability with various dishes.
sopa de albóndigas see  ALBÓNDIGA
sorbitol [SOR-bih-tawl] A sweetener found naturally in some fruits and seaweeds. Besides being used as an ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER, sorbitol is employed as a thickener and stabilizer in candies, gums and numerous other food products.
sorghum [SOR-guhm] This cereal grass has broad, cornlike leaves and huge clusters of cereal grain at the end of tall, pithy stalks. Sorghum is a powerhouse of nutrition but, though it's the third leading cereal crop in the United States, almost all of it is used for animal fodder. Around the world, however, it's the third largest food grain. A few U.S. mills do sell it by mail order. One sorghum by-product the United States does use for human consumption is the sweet juice extracted from the stalks, which, like that from the sugarcane, is boiled down to produce a thick syrup called sorghum molasses (also sorghum syrup  or simply sorghum ). It's often used as a table syrup and to sweeten and flavor baked goods.
soufflé [soo-FLAY] A light, airy mixture that usually begins with a thick egg yolk-based sauce or puree that is lightened by stiffly beaten egg whites. Soufflés may be savory or sweet, hot or cold. Baked soufflés are much more fragile than those that are chilled or frozen because the hot air entrapped in the soufflé begins to escape (causing the mixture to deflate) as soon as the dish is removed from the oven. Savory soufflés are usually served as a main dish, are almost always hot and can be made with a variety of ingredients including cheese, meat, fish or vegetables. Dessert soufflés may be baked, chilled or frozen and are most often flavored with fruit purees, chocolate, lemon or LIQUEURS. Both sweet and savory soufflés are often accompanied by a complementary sauce. Soufflés are customarily baked in a classic soufflé dish, which is round and has straight sides to facilitate the soufflé's rising. These special dishes are ovenproof and come in a variety of sizes ranging from 3 1/2-ounce (individual) to 2-quart. They're available in kitchenware shops and the housewares section of most department stores. Foil or parchment "collars" are sometimes wrapped around the outside of a soufflé dish so that the top of the foil or paper rises about 2 inches above the rim of the dish. Such collars are used for cold dessert soufflés so that the sides of the frozen or molded mixture are supported until they set. Once the collar is removed, the soufflé stands tall and appears to "rise" out of the dish.
soup Theoretically, a soup can be any combination of vegetables, meat or fish cooked in a liquid. It may be thick (like GUMBO), thin (such as a CONSOMMÉ), smooth (like a BISQUE) or chunky (CHOWDER or BOUILLABAISSE). Though most soups are hot, some like VICHYSSOISE and many FRUIT SOUPS are served cold. Soups are often garnished with flavor enhancers such as CROUTONS, grated or cubed cheese or sour cream. They can be served as a first course or as a meal, in which case they're often accompanied by a sandwich or salad. See  also  AVGO-LEMONO; BILLY BI; BIRD'S NEST; BORSCHT; BOURRIDE; CALDO VERDE; CALLALOO; CAUDIÈRE; CHLODNIK; COCK-A-LEEKIE; COTRIADE; COULIS; CUSH; DASHI; DUBARRY; FRUIT SOUP; GARBURE; GAZPACHO; MENUDO; MINESTRA; MOCK TURTLE; MULLIGATAWNY; OZONI; PANADA; PEPPER POT; PISTOU; POSOLE; RIBOLLITA; SCOTCH BROTH; SHE-CRAB SOUP; SIZZLING RICE SOUP; WON TON SOUP.
sour n.  A COCKTAIL made by combining liquor with lemon juice and a little sugar. It's usually shaken with crushed ice and can be strained and served ON THE ROCKS or STRAIGHT UP. Sours are often garnished with an orange slice and a MARASCHINO CHERRY. Though the whiskey sour is probably the most famous of these cocktails, they can be made with many other liquors including bourbon, gin and rum. sour adj.  Having a sharp, tart taste, usually from an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or vinegar.
sourdough; sourdough bread A bread with a slightly sour, tangy flavor created by using a special YEAST STARTER as the LEAVENER. San Francisco is known for its superior sourdough bread and many food stores in the area sell packages of dry sourdough starter for home bread bakers. Though most sourdoughs are made from all-purpose flour, there are many delicious variations including those made from whole-wheat or rye flour.
sour grass see  SORREL
sour salt see  CITRIC ACID; SALT
Southern Comfort Produced in St. Louis, Missouri, this traditional American LIQUEUR is made from bourbon and peaches. Southern Comfort is potent at 100 PROOF (50 percent alcohol).
soybean curd see  TOFU
soy flour This finely ground flour is made from soybeans and, unlike many flours, is very high in protein (twice that of wheat flour) and low in carbohydrates. Soy flour is ordinarily mixed with other flours rather than being used alone. It has a wide variety of uses such as for baking and to bind sauces. In Japan, it's very popular for making confections. Soy flour is sold in health-food stores — sometimes under the name kinako  — and in some supermarkets.
soy milk Higher in protein than cow's milk, this milky, iron-rich liquid is a nondairy product made by pressing ground, cooked SOYBEANS. Soy milk is cholesterol-free and low in calcium, fat and sodium. It makes an excellent milk substitute for anyone with a milk allergy; such milk substitutes are often fortified with calcium. There are also soy-based formulas for infants with milk allergies. Soy milk has a tendency to curdle when mixed with acidic ingredients such as lemon juice and wine; it's intentionally curdled in the making of TOFU.
spaetzle [SHPEHT-sluh, SHPEHT-sehl, SHPEHT-slee] Literally translated from German as "little sparrow," spaetzle is a dish of tiny noodles or dumplings made with flour, eggs, water or milk, salt and sometimes nutmeg. The spaetzle dough can be firm enough to be rolled and cut into slivers or soft enough to be forced through a SIEVE or COLANDER with large holes. The small pieces of dough are usually boiled before being tossed with butter or added to soups or other dishes. In Germany, spaetzle is served as a side dish much like potatoes or rice, and is often accompanied by a sauce or gravy.
spaghettini see  SPAGHETTI
spaghetti squash Also called vegetable spaghetti , this creamy-yellow, watermelon-shaped winter squash was so named because of its flesh, which, when cooked, separates into yellow-gold spaghettilike strands. Averaging from 4 to 8 pounds, spaghetti squash are available year-round with a peak season from early fall through winter. Choose squash that are hard and smooth with an even pale yellow color. Avoid greenish squash (a sign of immaturity) and those with bruised or damaged spots. Store uncut spaghetti squash at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. After the whole squash is baked, the rather bland-tasting strands can be removed from the shell and served with sauce, like pasta. They can also be served as part of a casserole or cold as a salad ingredient. See also  SQUASH.
spanakopita [span-uh-KOH-pih-tuh] Of Greek origin, this sa-vory pie consists of top and bottom PHYLLO-dough crusts with a fill-ing of sautéed spinach and onions mixed with FETA CHEESE, eggs and seasonings.
Spanish onion see  ONION
Spätlese [SHPAYT-lay-zuh] German for "late picking," this wine term refers to grapes that are picked after the regular harvest. Because such fruit is riper, it contains more sugar and produces wines that are rich and sweet. The selective picking process also makes them quite expensive. See also  AUSLESE; BEERENAUSLESE; TROCKENBEERENAUSLESE.
spätzle see  SPAETZLE
spelt Native to southern Europe, where it's been used for millenniums, spelt is an ancient CEREAL GRAIN that has a mellow nutty flavor. The easily digestible spelt has a slightly higher protein content than WHEAT and can be tolerated by those with wheat allergies. Spelt flour, available in health-food stores, can be substituted for wheat flour in baked goods.
spices Pungent or aromatic seasonings obtained from the bark, buds, fruit, roots, seeds or stems of various plants and trees (whereas HERBS usually come from the leafy part of a plant). Spices were prized long before recorded history. Though they've always been used to flavor food and drink, throughout the eons spices have also been favored for a plethora of other uses including crowning emperors, making medicines and perfumes, religious ceremonies and as burial accoutrements for the wealthy. Over 3,000 years ago the Arabs monopolized the spice trade, bringing their rare cargo back from India and the Orient by arduous camel caravans. During the Middle Ages the demand for spices was so high that they became rich commodities — a pound of mace could buy three sheep and the same amount of peppercorns could buy freedom for a serf. By that time Venice had a tight hold on Western commerce and controlled the incredibly lucrative European spice trade. That Venetian monopoly was an important catalyst for the expeditions that resulted in the discovery of the New World. Today, the United States is the world's major spice buyer. Among the more popular spices are ALLSPICE, CARDAMOM, CINNAMON, CLOVES, GINGER, MACE, NUTMEG, PAPRIKA, PEPPER, SAFFRON and TURMERIC. Spices are also sold in blends, such as CURRY POWDER and SPICE PARISIENNE. Many spices are available in both whole and ground forms. Ground spices quickly lose their aroma and flavor, so it's wise to buy them in small quantities. Whole spices can be ground as needed. Store spices in airtight containers in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. Spices are used to enhance a wide variety of food, both sweet and savory. They should be used sparingly so they don't overpower the foods being seasoned. See  also  ANISE; CARAWAY SEED; CAYENNE PEPPER; CELERY SEED; CHILI POWDER; CORIANDER; CUMIN; DUKKA; FENNEL; MUSTARD; RAS EL HANOUT; RED PEPPER; SANSHO; SESAME SEED; SZECHUAN PEPPER; ZAHTAR. See also  HERB AND SPICE CHART.
spiny dogfish see  DOGFISH
split see  WINE BOTTLES
sponge [SPUHNJ] 1. A frothy, GELATIN-based dessert that has been lightened by the addition of beaten egg whites. Sometimes whipped cream is added, though it makes the dessert richer and not as airy. Sponges may be variously flavored, usually with fruit purees. 2. A light bread-dough mixture made by combining the yeast with some of the flour and liquid called for in a recipe. The thick, batterlike mixture is covered and set aside until it bubbles and becomes foamy, which, depending on the combination of ingredients, can take up to 8 hours. During this time, the sponge develops a tangy flavor. The remaining ingredients are added to this sponge and the bread is kneaded and baked as usual. Using a sponge also makes the final loaf slightly denser.
sponge cake; spongecake This light, airy cake gets its ethereal texture from beaten egg whites, which are folded into a fluffy mixture of beaten egg yolks and sugar. They get their leavening power entirely from eggs. Sponge cakes are further characterized by the fact that they do not contain shortening of any kind. The cakes can be variously flavored with anything from lemon ZEST to ground almonds.
spoom A frothy type of SHERBET made with a light SUGAR SYRUP mixed with a liquid such as fruit juice, CHAMPAGNE or SAUTERNES. Halfway through the freezing process, the mixture is combined with uncooked MERINGUE, which gives spoom its airy texture. The Italians call this frozen specialty spuma,  which means "foam" or "froth."
spotted sea trout see  WEAKFISH
sprat A close relative of the HERRING, the sprat is a small (about 6 inches in length) fish that can be found off the European Atlantic coast. Because of its high fat content, sprats are perfect for broiling or grilling. They're also available either salted or smoked. The smallest sprats are packed in oil, in which case they're usually called brisling or brisling sardines. See also  FISH.
springform pan A round pan with high, straight sides (2 1/2 to 3 inches) that expand with the aid of a spring or clamp. The separate bottom of the pan can be removed from the sides when the clamp is released. This allows cakes, tortes or cheesecakes that might otherwise be difficult to remove from the pan to be extricated easily by simply removing the pan's sides.
spritz [SPRIHTS, SHPRIHTS] n . 1. Pretty Scandinavian cookies formed into a variety of fanciful shapes when the dough is forced through a COOKIE PRESS. Spritz are rich and buttery. 2. A small amount of liquid, as in a "spritz" of lemon juice. The name comes from spritzen , which is German for "to squirt or spray." spritz v.  To quickly spray or squirt, as in adding a "spritz" of soda to a mixed drink.
steak and kidney pie A traditional British dish consisting of a cooked mixture of chopped beef, kidneys, mushrooms, onions and beef stock. This mixture is placed in a pie or casserole dish, covered with a pastry crust and baked until crisp and brown. Sometimes potatoes, hard-cooked eggs or oysters are also added to the dish.
steak fries see  FRENCH FRIES
steak tartare see  BEEF TARTARE
steamed bread BOSTON BROWN BREAD is probably the most famous steamed bread in the United States. This type of bread is made by placing a batter in a covered container on a rack set over gently boiling water in a large pot. The pot is covered and the bread steamed for about 3 hours. It can also be made in a pressure cooker in about half the time. The bread doesn't require a special container in which to be steamed — a 12-ounce coffee can covered with aluminum foil works nicely. The characteristic texture of steamed breads is moist and tender.
steamed-pudding mold Although STEAMED PUDDING can be cooked in a variety of containers, there are special steamed-pudding molds with decorative sides and bottom, as well as a lid that clamps tightly shut. Many molds also have a central tube (like an angel-food cake pan) that provides more even heat distribution, thereby cooking the pudding more evenly.
stelle; stellini [STAY-lay, stay-LEE-nee] Italian for "stars," stelle  is a pasta shaped like stars; stellini  are little stars.
stewing chicken see  CHICKEN
stir-fry n.  Any dish of food that has been prepared by the stir-fry method. stir-fry v.  To quickly fry small pieces of food in a large pan over very high heat while constantly and briskly stirring the food. This cooking technique, which is associated with Asian cooking and the WOK, requires a minimum amount of fat and results in food that is crisply tender.
stollen [STOH-luhn, SHTOH-luhn] Germany's traditional Christmas yeast bread, stollen is a rich, dried fruit-filled loaf that's often topped with a confectioners' sugar icing and decorated with candied cherries. It's shaped like a folded oval and somewhat resembles a giant PARKER HOUSE ROLL.
stoneware Strong, hard pottery that is fired at very high temperatures (around 2,200°F) and that is usually fully glazed. Stoneware is generally nonporous, chip-resistant and safe to use in both microwave and standard ovens. It's ideal for baking and slow cooking.
Stracchino [straht-CHEE-noh] A fresh, cow's-milk cheese from Italy's Lombardy region. Stracchino contains about 50 percent milk fat. Its flavor is mild and delicate — similar to but slightly more acidic than CREAM CHEESE. Stracchino  Crescenza  has a somewhat higher milk fat content, which results in a slightly creamier texture.
strain 1. To pour a liquid or dry ingredient through a SIEVE, STRAINER or CHEESECLOTH to remove undesirable particles. 2. To press soft food through the holes of a sieve, which results in a pureed texture. Food for infants or those on special diets is sometimes processed this way.
strawberries Romanoff This deliciously decadent dessert is made by soaking strawberries in orange juice and CURAÇAO or COINTREAU, then serving them topped with whipped cream. It's one of many dishes named after the Russian royal family by French chefs.
straw mushroom Popular in Asian cooking, straw mushrooms are so named because they're grown on straw that's been used in a paddy. This musty, earthy growing medium contributes its distinct nuances to this mushroom's flavor. Tiny (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter) and coolie-shaped, straw mushrooms range in color from pale tan when young to dark charcoal gray when mature. Fresh specimens of this cultivated mushroom can sometimes be found in specialty produce markets. More readily available are canned straw mushrooms, which are found in Asian markets. Also known as paddy straw mushrooms and grass mushrooms. See also  MUSHROOMS.
Strega [STRAY-guh] A golden-colored Italian LIQUEUR made from herbs and flowers, Strega has a sweet, mildy flowery flavor.
string bean see  GREEN BEAN
strip steak see  NEW YORK STEAK
stroganoff [STRAW-guh-noff, STROH-guh-noff] Named after 19th- century Russian diplomat Count Paul Stroganov, this dish consists of thin slices of tender beef (usually TENDERLOIN or TOP LOIN), onions and sliced mushrooms, all quickly sautéed in butter and combined with a sour-cream sauce. Stroganoff is usually accompanied by RICE PILAF.
strudel [STROOD-l, SHTROO-duhl] German for "whirlpool" or "eddy," strudel  is a type of pastry made up of many layers of very thin dough spread with a filling, then rolled and baked until crisp and golden brown. It's particularly popular in Germany, Austria and much of central Europe. The paper-thin strudel  dough resembles PHYLLO and is equally difficult to handle. Apple strudel is probably the most famous of this genre, but the filling variations are limitless and can be savory or sweet.
stuffing see  DRESSING
submarine sandwich see  HERO SANDWICH
sucrose [SOO-krohs] A crystalline, water-soluble sugar obtained from sugarcane, sugar beets and SORGHUM. Sucrose also forms the greater part of MAPLE SUGAR. It's sweeter than GLUCOSE but not as sweet as FRUCTOSE. See also  SUGAR.
sugar apple see  SWEETSOP
sugarplum A small confection, often consisting of fruit such as a candied cherry or dried apricot surrounded by FONDANT.
sugar substitutes see  ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
sabayon [sah-bah-YAWN ] The French word for "ZABAGLIONE."
sablé [SAH-blay] This classic French cookie is said to hail from Caen, in the province of Normandy. The French word sable  means "sand," and the cookies are so named because of their delicate, crumbly texture. Sablés can be variously flavored with additions such as almonds or lemon or orange zest. They can also be dipped in chocolate or two cookies may be sandwiched together with jam.
sablefish [SAY-bl-fihsh] Also known as Alaska cod, black cod  and butterfish , the sablefish is actually neither a COD nor a BUTTERFISH. It ranges in size from 1 to 10 pounds and is found in deep waters off the Pacific Northwest coast. The white flesh of the sablefish is soft-textured and mild-flavored. Its high fat content makes it an excellent fish for smoking and it's commonly marketed as smoked black cod . Sablefish is available year-round whole, as well as in fillets and steaks. It can be prepared in a variety of ways including baking, broiling or frying. See also  FISH.
Sabra liqueur [SAH-bruh] A chocolate-orange-flavored LIQUEUR made in Israel.
saccharin [SAK-uh-rihn] Containing only 1/8 calorie per teaspoon, this ARTIFICIAL SWEETENER is said to be 300 times sweeter than sugar. Saccharin was discovered by accident in the late 1800s by scientists at Johns Hopkins University. Though it's widely used to sweeten a multitude of commercial foods and beverages — as well as in the home — some find that it has a decidedly bitter aftertaste. This unpleasant effect is particularly noticeable when a food sweetened with saccharin is heated. Saccharin is available in both powdered and liquid forms in supermarkets. It has been the center of controversy during the last few decades because of its reported possible carcinogenic effects. Because the issue is still being researched, the FDA requires that saccharin products carry a warning label to that effect. See also  ACESULFAME-K; ALITAME; ASPARTAME, SUCRALOSE.
Sachertorte; Sacher torte [SAH-kuhr-tohrt] An extremely rich Viennese classic made with layers (usually three) of chocolate cake filled with apricot jam and enrobed in a creamy-rich chocolate glaze. Sachertorte is traditionally served with billows of whipped cream. It was created in 1832 by Franz Sacher, of the famous family of Viennese hoteliers and restaurateurs.
saddle A cut of meat (most often lamb, mutton, veal or venison) that is the unseparated LOIN (from rib to leg) from both sides of the animal. The saddle is a very tender cut and makes an elegant (but expensive) roast.
safflower oil This flavorless, colorless oil is expressed from the seeds of the safflower, also called saffron thistle  or bastard saffron.  It contains more polyunsaturates than any other oil, has a high SMOKE POINT (which makes it good for deep-frying) and is favored for salad dressings because it doesn't solidify when chilled. Safflower oil isn't as nutritionally beneficial as some of the other oils, however, because it lacks vitamin E. See also  FATS AND OILS.
saffron [SAF-ruhn] It's no wonder that saffron — the yellow-orange stigmas from a small purple crocus (Crocus sativus ) — is the world's most expensive spice. Each flower provides only three stigmas, which must be carefully hand-picked and then dried — an extremely labor-intensive process. It takes over 14,000 of these tiny stigmas for each ounce of saffron. Thousands of years ago saffron was used not only to flavor food and beverages but to make medicines and to dye cloth and body oils a deep yellow. Today this pungent, aromatic spice is primarily used to flavor and tint food. Fortunately (because it's so pricey), a little saffron goes a long way. It's integral to hundreds of dishes like BOUILLABAISSE, RISOTTO Milanese and PAELLA, and flavors many European baked goods. Saffron is marketed in both powdered form and in threads (the whole stigmas). Powdered saffron loses its flavor more readily and can be easily adulterated with imitations. The threads should be crushed just before using. Store saffron airtight in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. See also  SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
Saga blue Hailing from Denmark, this soft, DOUBLE-CREAM CHEESE can sometimes reach almost triple-cream status in richness. It has delicate blue veins and an elegant, mellow flavor. Saga blue has a tender, white, edible rind. It can be found in specialty cheese shops and many upscale supermarkets. See also  CHEESE.
saganaki [sah-gah-NAH-kee] A popular Greek appetizer in which 1/2-inch-thick slices of KASSERI CHEESE are fried in butter or olive oil. Saganaki is sprinkled with lemon juice (and sometimes fresh oregano) and served with PITA BREAD. Some Greek restaurants have a dramatic form of presentation: the cheese is first soaked in alcohol (such as BRANDY), then flambéed before being doused with lemon juice. Saganaki is generally served as an appetizer or first course.
sage [SAYJ] This native Mediterranean herb has been enjoyed for centuries for both its culinary and medicinal uses. The name comes from a derivative of the Latin salvus , meaning "safe," a reference to the herb's believed healing powers. The narrow, oval, gray-green leaves of this pungent herb are slightly bitter and have a musty mint taste and aroma. There's also a variety called pineapple sage, which has an intensely sweet pineapple scent. Small bunches of fresh sage are available year-round in many supermarkets. Choose sage by its fresh color and aroma. Refrigerate wrapped in a paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag for up to 4 days. Dried sage comes whole, rubbed (crumbled) and ground. It should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. Sage is commonly used in dishes containing pork, cheese and beans, and in poultry and game stuffings. Sausage makers also frequently use it to flavor their products. See also  HERBS; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
sai-hashi see  HASHI
Saint André [san , -tohn-DRAY] An extravagantly rich triple-cream cheese with a mild, mellow flavor. See also  CHEESE.
Saint-Germain [san , -zhehr-MAHN ] A French term describing various dishes garnished or made with fresh green peas or pea puree. Potage Saint-Germain is a thick pea soup enriched with butter.
Saint-Honoré; gâteau Saint-Honoré [ga-TOH san , -toh-naw-RAY] A traditional French cake named for Saint Honoré, the patron saint of pastry bakers. It consists of a base of PÂTÉ BRISÉE topped with a ring of CREAM PUFFS that are dipped in caramel prior to being positioned on the base. This caramel coating "glues" the puffs together. The center of the ring is then filled with Saint-Honoré cream — CRÈME PÂTISSIÈRE lightened with beaten egg whites or whipped cream.
Saint John's bread see  CAROB
Saint Peter's fish see  TILAPIA
sake [SAH-kee, SAH-kay] This Japanese wine, the national alcoholic drink of Japan, is traditionally served warm in small porcelain cups. The yellowish, slightly sweet sake is made from fermented rice and doesn't require aging. It has a relatively low alcohol content of 12 to 16 percent. Sake is used in Japanese cooking, particularly in sauces and marinades. Once opened, it will keep tightly sealed in the refrigerator for at least 3 weeks.
salad bowl lettuce see  LEAF LETTUCE
salad burnet see  BURNET
salad dressing see  MAYONNAISE
salade composé [suh-LAHD com-poh-ZAY] see  COMPOSED SALAD
salad spinner A kitchen utensil that uses centrifugal force to dry freshly washed salad greens, herbs, etc. Wet ingredients are placed in an inner basket. The basket is set into an outer container fitted with a lid with a gear-operated handle or pull-cord. As the handle is turned (or cord pulled), the perforated inner container spins rapidly, forcing moisture off the food out through the perforations and into the outer container.
salamander [SAL-uh-man-duhr] 1. A kitchen tool used to brown the top of foods. It consists of a long iron rod with a cast-iron disk at one end and a wooden handle at the other. The disk is heated over a burner until red-hot before being passed closely over food. In addition to quickly browning foods, salamanders are used for dishes (such as CRÈME BRÛLÉE) that require that a surface layer of sugar be caramelized quickly so that the custard below remains cold. They can be purchased in cookware shops and the kitchenware section of most department stores. 2. A small broiler unit in a professional oven that quickly browns the tops of dishes.
salami [suh-LAH-mee] The name applied to a family of sausages similar to CERVELATS. Both styles are uncooked but safe to eat without heating because they've been preserved by curing. Salamis, however, tend to be more boldly seasoned (particularly with garlic), coarser, drier and, unlike cervelats, rarely smoked. Salamis are usually air-dried and vary in size, shape, seasoning and curing process. Though they're usually made from a mixture of beef and pork, the KOSHER versions are strictly beef. Among the best-known Italian salamis are Genoa (rich, fatty and studded with white peppercorns) and cotto (studded with black peppercorns). The nonpork kosher salamis are cooked and semisoft. Italian-American favorites include Alesandri and Alpino. FRIZZES and PEPPERONI are also salami-type sausages. With the casing uncut, whole dry salamis will keep for several years. Once cut, they should be tightly wrapped and refrigerated for up to two weeks. Salami is best served at room temperature and can be eaten as a snack or as part of an ANTIPASTO platter, or chopped and used in dishes such as soups and salads. See also  SAUSAGE.
salicornia see  SAMPHIRE
Salisbury steak [SAWLZ-beh-ree] Essentially a ground-beef patty that has been flavored with minced onion and seasonings before being fried or broiled. It was named after a 19th-century English physician, Dr. J. H. Salisbury, who recommended that his patients eat plenty of beef for all manner of ailments. Salisbury steak is often served with gravy made from pan drippings.
Sally Lunn This rich, slightly sweet yeast bread was brought to the Colonies from England and subsequently became a favorite in the South. There are several tales as to its origin, the most popular being that Sally Lunn, an 18th-century woman from Bath, England, created this delicate cakelike bread in her tiny bakery for her prominent patrons' tea parties. Those original Sally Lunns were baked as large buns, split horizontally and slathered with thick CLOTTED CREAM.
salmagundi [sal-muh-GUHN-dee] 1. A COMPOSED SALAD including greens, chopped cooked meats and vegetables (the latter sometimes pickled), anchovies, hard-cooked eggs and pickles. The ingredients are artfully arranged on a platter and drizzled with dressing. 2. A general term for a stew or other multi-ingredient dish.
Salmanazar [sal-muh-NAZ-uhr] see  WINE BOTTLES
salmi; salmis [SAL-mee] A highly seasoned, wine-based RAGOÛT made with minced, partially roasted game birds, mushrooms and, sometimes, truffles. Other game, such as rabbit, is sometimes used. A salmi is generally used as a sauce for PASTA and other dishes.
salmon [SAM-uhn] Salmon was an important food to many early American Indians whose superstitions prevented certain tribe members from handling or eating the fish lest they anger its spirit and cause it to leave their waters forever. Salmon are anadromous, meaning that they migrate from their saltwater habitat to spawn in fresh water. Over the years, some salmon have become landlocked in freshwater lakes. In general, the flesh of those salmon is less flavorful than that of their sea-running relatives. There is an increasing volume of AQUACULTURED salmon being imported into the United States today — most of it from Norway, although Chile's salmon farming industry is now giving the Norwegians some competition. Although farmed salmon are raised in salt water, their flesh doesn't have the same rich nuances in flavor and texture as that of their wild relations. There are several varieties of North American salmon. All but one are found off the Pacific coast, and about 90 percent come from Alaskan waters. Among the best Pacific salmon is the superior Chinook or king salmon, which can reach up to 120 pounds. The color of its high-fat, soft-textured flesh ranges from off-white to bright red. Other high-fat salmon include the coho or silver salmon, with its firm-textured, pink to red-orange flesh, and the sockeye or red salmon (highly prized for canning) with its firm, deep red flesh. Not as fatty as the preceding species are the pink or humpback salmon — the smallest, most delicately flavored of the Pacific varieties — and the chum or dog salmon, which is distinguished by having the lightest color and lowest fat content. Pacific salmon are in season from spring through fall. The population of the once-abundant Atlantic salmon has diminished greatly over the years because of industrial pollution of both North American and European tributaries. The Atlantic salmon has a high-fat flesh that's pink and succulent. Canada provides most of the Atlantic salmon, which is in season from summer to early winter. Depending on the variety, salmon is sold whole or in fillets or steaks. It's also available canned and as SMOKED SALMON, which comes in a variety of styles. The increasingly popular bright red salmon roe (see  CAVIAR) is readily available in most supermarkets. Fresh salmon is integral to some of the world's most famous dishes, including GRAVLAX and COULIBIAC. It can be served as a main course, in salads, as a spread or dip . . . its uses are myriad. All salmon are high in protein as well as a rich source of vitamin A, the B-group vitamins and Omega-3 oils. See also  FISH.
salmonella [sal-muh-NEHL-uh] A strain of bacteria that can enter the human system through contaminated water or food such as meat or poultry, and eggs with cracked shells. Other foods can be contaminated by touching salmonella-carrying foods or unwashed surfaces (like cutting boards) that have had contact with them. The presence of salmonella is difficult to detect because it gives no obvious warnings (such as an off smell or taste). The bacteria can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever and chills. It can attack in as little time as 6 to 7 hours or take as long as 3 days. It seldom causes death and can be cured with antibiotics.
salpicon [sal-pee-KON ] A French term describing cooked, diced ingredients bound with a sauce (for savory ingredients), or syrup or cream (for fruit mixtures) and used for fillings or garnishes. Fish, meat, poultry, mushrooms, truffles and vegetables are often included in savory salpicons, which are used to make CANAPÉS, to fill BARQUETTES or CROUSTADES, to make CROQUETTES, as a garnish, etc.
salsa [SAHL-sah] The Mexican word for "sauce," which can signify cooked or fresh mixtures. Salsa cruda  is "uncooked salsa"; salsa verde  is "green salsa," which is typically based on TOMATILLOS, green CHILES and CILANTRO. A broad selection of salsas — fresh, canned or in jars — is available in supermarkets today. They can range in spiciness from mild to mouth-searing. Fresh salsas are located in a market's refrigerated section. At home, they should be tightly covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days. Unopened cooked salsas can be stored at room temperature for 6 months; once opened, refrigerate them for up to 1 month.
salsify [SAL-sih-fee] This root vegetable is also known as oyster plant  because its taste resembles a delicately flavored oyster. The parsnip-shaped salsify can reach up to 12 inches in length and 2 1/2 inches in diameter. The most commonly found salsify has a white-fleshed root with grayish skin, though there are varieties with a pale golden skin, as well as one with a black skin (also called scorzonera ). Though salsify is more popular in Europe than in the United States, it can be found here from June through February, usually in Spanish, Italian and Greek markets. Choose well-formed roots that are heavy for their size and not too gnarled. Refrigerate, wrapped in a plastic bag, up to a week. Salsify is generally eaten plain as a vegetable, or used in savory pies and soups.
salt Today salt is inexpensive and universally available, but that wasn't always the case. Because of its importance in food preservation and the fact that the human body requires it (for the regulation of fluid balance), salt has been an extremely valuable commodity throughout the ages. It was even once used as a method of exchange — Roman soldiers received a salt allowance as part of their pay. Salt was valued by the ancient Hebrews and Greeks, throughout the Middle Ages and well into the 19th century when it began to become more plentiful and therefore reasonable in price. Salt (sodium chloride) comes either from salt mines or from the sea. Most of today's salt is mined and comes from large deposits left by dried salt lakes throughout the world. Table salt, a fine-grained refined salt with additives that make it free-flowing, is mainly used in cooking and as a table condiment. Iodized salt is table salt with added iodine (sodium iodide) — particularly important in areas that lack natural iodine, an important preventative for hypothyroidism. Kosher salt is an additive-free coarse-grained salt. It's used by some Jews in the preparation of meat, as well as by gourmet cooks who prefer its texture and flavor. Sea salt is the type used down through the ages and is the result of the evaporation of sea water — the more costly of the two processes. It comes in fine-grained or larger crystals. Rock salt has a grayish cast because it's not as refined as other salts, which means it retains more minerals and harmless impurities. It comes in chunky crystals and is used predominantly as a bed on which to serve baked oysters and clams and to combine with ice to make ice cream in crank-style ice-cream makers. Pickling salt is a fine-grained salt used to make brines for pickles, sauerkraut, etc. It contains no additives, which would cloud the brine. Sour salt (see  CITRIC ACID), also called citric salt,  is extracted from acidic fruits, such as lemons and limes. It's used to add tartness to traditional dishes like BORSCHT. Seasoned salt is regular salt combined with other flavoring ingredients, examples being onion salt, garlic salt and celery salt. Salt substitutes, frequently used by those on low-salt diets, are products containing little or no sodium.
salt cod see  COD
saltfish A popular ingredient in Caribbean cuisine, saltfish is simply that — salted, dried fish, usually COD, though other fish (such as MACKEREL) can be used. Saltfish is an integral ingredient in Jamaica's national dish, "saltfish and ACKEE." It's available in pieces in Caribbean, Italian and Asian markets. Choose segments with white flesh, rather than yellow; the skin should be attached. Store, wrapped airtight, in a cool, dark place indefinitely. Before using, soak for 12 to 24 hours, changing the water every 4 to 5 hours. The soaking softens the flesh and each water change reduces the salt. Drain the last batch of soaking water and pour boiling water over the saltfish; cover and allow to soak for about 15 minutes, or until the flesh is soft. The word for saltfish in Spanish is bacalao,  in French it's morue  and in Italian it's baccalà. 
saltimbocca [sahl-tihm-BOH-kuh] Literally translated, this Italian term means "jump mouth." It refers to a Roman specialty made of finely sliced veal sprinkled with sage and topped with a thin slice of PROSCIUTTO. It's sautéed in butter, then braised in white wine. Sometimes the meat layers are rolled and secured with picks before being cooked.
salt pork So named because it is salt-cured, this is a layer of fat (usually with some streaks of lean) that is cut from the pig's belly and sides. Salt pork is often confused with FATBACK, which is unsalted. It varies in degree of saltiness and often must be BLANCHED to extract excess salt before being used. It's similar to bacon but much fattier and unsmoked. Salt pork can be refrigerated tightly wrapped for up to a month. It's used primarily as a flavoring and is an important ingredient in many dishes throughout New England and the South.
salt-rising bread A bread popular in the 1800s, before yeast LEAVENING was readily available. It relies on a FERMENTED mixture of warm milk or water, flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt to give it rising power. Salt-rising bread has a very smooth texture with a tangy flavor and aroma.
salty black beans see  FERMENTED BLACK BEANS
Salzburger nockerl see  NOCKERL
sambal [SAHM-bahl] Popular throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and southern India, a sambal is a multipurpose CONDIMENT. Its most basic form is sambal oelek,  a simple mixture of CHILES, brown sugar and salt. Another popular blend is sambal bajak  (or badjak ), which adds CANDLENUTS, garlic, KAFFIR LIME LEAVES, onion, TRASSI, GALANGAL, TAMARIND concentrate and COCONUT MILK. Sambals have a multitude of variations, however, depending on the ingredients added, which can include coconut, meat, seafood or vegetables. Sambals are usually served as an accompaniment to rice and curried dishes, either as a condiment or as a side dish. Sambal oelek and bajak, as well as some variations, can be found in Indonesian and some Chinese markets.
sambuca [sam-BOO-kuh] An anise-flavored, not-too-sweet Italian LIQUEUR that is usually served with 2 or 3 dark-roasted coffee beans floating on top.
samosa [sah-MOH-sah] In India, street pushcarts and roadside vendors sell their delicious samosas to passersby who enjoy immediate gratification from these satisfying snacks. Samosas are fried, triangular pastries that may be filled with vegetables or meat or a combination of both. In the United States, these delicious packages are most often served as appetizers in East Indian restaurants.
samp Broken or coarsely ground HOMINY.
samphire [SAM-fy-uhr] There are two edible, very similar plants known as samphire. The first is Crithmum maritimum  (commonly referred to as rock samphire ), which grows along the coasts of Great Britain and northwestern Europe and is available in the United States only through costly import. What we have in the United States is the second type of samphire known as salicornia,  (also called glasswort, marsh samphire, sea bean  and sea pickle ). It's abundant along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and has spiky green leaves that are so arranged as to make the plant look somewhat like a spindly, miniature cactus, sans needles. Both the leaves and stem are crisp, aromatic and taste of a salty sea breeze. They're often pickled and can sometimes be found in jars in gourmet markets. Fresh salicornia can be found from summer through fall, though it's at its most tender during summer months. Choose crisp, brightly colored sprigs with no sign of softness. Refrigerate tightly wrapped for up to 2 weeks — though the sooner salicornia is used the better the flavor. It's best used fresh, either in salads or as a garnish. When cooked, salicornia tends to taste quite salty and fishy.
Samsoe cheese Named for the island where it originated, this national cheese of Denmark is made from cow's milk and contains about 45 percent milk fat. It's a Swiss-style cheese with a yellow interior accented with small irregular holes. Samsoe has a distinctive, mild, nutlike flavor that's suitable for almost any use from cooked dishes to salads and sandwiches. See also  CHEESE.
sand dab A small FLATFISH found in Pacific waters from Southern California to Alaska. It has a sweet, delicately moist flesh that's quite low in fat. Sand dabs are marketed whole and usually range from 4 to 12 ounces. They can be prepared by almost any cooking method including baking, broiling, poaching and sautéing. See also  DAB; FISH.
sand leek see  ROCAMBOLE
sand shark see  DOGFISH
sangría [san-GREE-uh] The blood-red color of this beverage inspired its name, which is derived from the Spanish word for "blood." Sangría is made with red wine, fruit juices, soda water, fruit and sometimes LIQUEURS and BRANDY or COGNAC. Sangría blanco  (white sangría) is made with white wine. Both are served cold over ice and make a refreshing cooler on a hot summer day.
sangrita Although sometimes confused with SANGRÍA, this Spanish/Mexican drink is not the same at all. There are many variations, but sangrita is typically a blended mixture of tomatoes (or tomato juice), orange juice and lemon or lime juice, with a fiery element added through CHILES, chile powder or TABASCO sauce. Sangrita is served chilled, usually with a shot of TEQUILA.
sansho [SAHN-show] A mildly hot Japanese seasoning made from the aromatic berries of the prickly ash tree, which are dried and ground into a powder. It's the same spice that the Chinese call SZECHUAN PEPPER.
Santa Claus melon From the outside a Santa Claus melon, with its long oval shape and splotchy green-and-yellow skin, looks like a small WATERMELON. Inside, however, its yellowish-green flesh looks and tastes more like HONEYDEW MELON. This member of the MUSKMELON family grows to about a foot in length, with some specimens weighing as much as 10 pounds. Santa Claus melon, also called Christmas melon , was so named because its peak season is in December. Choose a melon that is slightly soft at the blossom end, heavy for its size and has a yellowish cast to the rind. Avoid those with soft spots or with damaged skin. See also  MELON.
Santa Fe Grande chile These small, tapered, conical peppers are generally marketed when yellow, though if allowed to mature longer, they turn orange or red. Santa Fe Grandes have a slightly sweet taste and are medium-hot to hot in spiciness. They may be used in both cooked and raw dishes. See also  CHILE.
sapote, white [sah-POH-tay] A tropical fruit native to Mexico and Central America, though it's also grown in California and Florida. The sapote is plum-shaped and about the size of a small orange. The thin skin ranges in color from chartreuse to yellow. The ivory colored flesh has a creamy, custardlike texture and a sweet flavor that is reminiscent of a peach-avocado-vanilla blend. The flesh contains from 3 to 5 medium-size seeds, which should be removed. White sapotes are available in the fall in some specialty produce markets. Ripen at room temperature as you would an avocado. Store ripe fruit in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Also called zapote blanco. 
sapsago cheese [sap-SAY-goh] Also known as Schbzieger , sapsago is a hard cone-shaped cheese from Switzerland. It's made from skimmed cows' milk and contains less than 10 percent fat. It has a light green color and pungent herbal flavor that come from the addition of blue melilot, a special variety of clover. Sapsago is used primarily for grating and adds interest to everything from salads to pasta. See also  CHEESE.
Saratoga chips see  POTATO CHIPS
sardine [sahr-DEEN] A generic term applied broadly to any of various small, soft-boned, saltwater fish such as SPRAT and young PILCHARD and HERRING. These tiny fish are iridescent and silvery and swim in huge schools, usually near the water's surface. Fresh sardines are available on a limited basis during the summer months, usually only along the coast where they're caught. In general, their fatty flesh is best when grilled, broiled or fried. In the United States, sardines are more commonly found salted, smoked or canned, either in oil, tomato sauce or mustard sauce. Some are packed as is, while others are skinned, boned and sold as fillets. The name is thought to have come from the young pilchards caught off the coast of Sardinia, which were one of the first fish packed in oil. See also  FISH.
sarsaparilla [sas-puh-RIHL-uh] Originally derived from the dried roots of tropical smilax vines, this flavor is usually associated with a carbonated drink popular in the mid-1800s. Today's sarsaparilla products — including the no-longer-popular soft drink — use artificial flavorings.
sarume [sah-ROO-meh] see  CUTTLEFISH
sashimi [sah-SHEE-mee] Sliced raw fish that is served with CONDIMENTS such as shredded DAIKON radish or GINGERROOT, WASABI and SOY SAUCE. Because it's served raw, only the freshest and highest-quality fish should be used for sashimi. Some Japanese restaurants keep the fish alive in water until just before preparing it. Special sashimi chefs are trained in slicing the fish in a particular way — depending on the variety — for the best presentation and eating enjoyment. Sashimi is usually the first course in the Japanese meal and sashimi bars abound in the United States for Westerners with Eastern tastes. See also  SUSHI.
sassafras [SAS-uh-fras] The leaves of the native North American sassafras (albidum  or variifolium ) tree, which are dried and used to make FILÉ POWDER and sassafras tea. The root bark is used as a flavoring agent in ROOT BEER.
saté; satay [sah-TAY] An Indonesian favorite consisting of small marinated cubes of meat, fish or poultry threaded on skewers and grilled or broiled. Saté is usually served with a spicy peanut sauce. It's a favorite snack food but is also often served for an appetizer and sometimes as a main dish.
satsuma orange [sat-SOO-muh] see  MANDARIN ORANGE
saturated fat [SATCH-uh-ray-tihd] see  FATS AND OILS
sauce boat; sauceboat see  GRAVY BOAT
saucepan A round cooking utensil with a relatively long handle and (usually) a tight-fitting cover. The sides can be straight or flared and deep (the standard shape) or as shallow as 3 inches. Depending on the style, the versatile saucepan has a multitude of uses including making soups and sauces, boiling vegetables and other foods, braising and even sautéing (in the low-sided models). Saucepans come in sizes ranging from 1 pint to 4 quarts. They are made from various materials including aluminum, anodized aluminum, ceramic, copper, enameled (cast iron or steel), glass and stainless steel. Choose saucepans that are well balanced, with handles that allow the pan to be easily lifted.
sauce piquante see  PIQUANTE SAUCE
saucisse [soh-SEES] French for "small sausage." Saucisson  [soh-see-SAWN ] is a large, smoke-cured sausage. See also  SAUSAGE.
sauerbraten [SOW-uhr-brah-tihn, ZOW-uhr-brah-tihn] German for "sour roast," sauerbraten is a German specialty made by marinating a beef roast in a sour-sweet MARINADE for 2 to 3 days before browning it, then simmering the meat in the marinade for several hours. The result is an extremely tender roast and a delicious sauce. Sauerbraten is traditionally served with dumplings, boiled potatoes or noodles.
sauerkraut [SOW-uhr-krowt] Although sauerkraut — German for "sour cabbage" — is thought of as a German invention, Chinese laborers building the Great Wall of China over 2,000 years ago ate it as standard fare. Chinese sauerkraut, made from shredded cabbage fermented in RICE WINE, eventually found its way to Europe, where the Germans and Alsatians adopted it as a favorite. Today's sauerkraut is made by combining shredded cabbage, salt and sometimes spices, and allowing the mixture to ferment. It can be purchased in jars and cans in supermarkets. Fresh sauerkraut is sold in delicatessens and in plastic bags in a supermarket's refrigerated section. It should be rinsed before being used in casseroles, as a side dish and even on sandwiches like the famous REUBEN SANDWICH. Sauerkraut is an excellent source of vitamin C as well as of some of the B vitamins.
sausage [SAW-sihj] What started out simply as a means of using and preserving all of the animal trimmings has turned into the art of sausage-making. Simply put, sausage is ground meat mixed with fat, salt and other seasonings, preservatives and sometimes fillers. Such a mixture is usually packed into a casing. Sausages can differ dramatically depending on their ingredients, additives, shape, curing technique, level of dryness and whether fresh or cooked. Most sausages are made with pork or pork combined with other meat, but there are also those made almost entirely from beef, veal, lamb, chicken or game animals. All contain varying amounts of fat. Seasonings can run the gamut from garlic to nutmeg. Some sausages are hot and spicy and others so mild they border on bland. Many sausages today contain additives to help preserve, thicken or color the mixture. Some sausages use fillers (such as various cereals, soybean flour and dried-milk solids) to stretch the meat. The most common shape for sausage is link, which varies in size and shape depending on the type of sausage. Other sausage (fresh) is sold in bulk, which can then be used to mix with other meats or made into patties or balls. Sausage can be fresh or CURED with salt or smoke (or both). Curing extends storage life. Some sausages are also dried; the drying times can vary from a few days to as much as 6 months. The sausage becomes firmer the longer it's dried. Sausage can be fully cooked (ready to eat), partially cooked (enough to kill any trichinae) and uncooked, which may or may not require cooking depending on how or whether it's been cured. All these factors produce an almost endless number of sausages that can be used in a variety of ways and which appeal to a multitude of tastes. See also  ANDOUILLE; ANDOUILLETTE; BANGER; BAUERWURST; BIERWURST; BLOOD SAUSAGE; BOCKWURST; BOLOGNA; BOUDIN BLANC; BRATWURST; BRAUNSCHWEIGER; CERVELAT; CHAURICE; CHINESE SAUSAGE; CHIPOLATA; CHORIZO; COTECHINO; COTTO; CREPINETTE; FRANKFURTER; FRIZZES; HEAD CHEESE; ITALIAN SAUSAGE; KIELBASA; KISHKE; KNACKWURST; LEBERKÄSE; LINQUIÇA; LIVERWURST; LOUKANIKA; METTWURST; MORTADELLA; PEPPERONI; PORK SAUSAGE; SALAMI; SUMMER SAUSAGE; THURINGER; TONGUE SAUSAGE; TOULOUSE; WEISSWURST; ZUNGENWURST.
sauté; sautéed; sautéing [saw-TAY, soh-TAY] To cook food quickly in a small amount of oil in a skillet or sauté pan over direct heat. See also  FRY.
sauté pan A wide pan with straight or slightly curved sides that are generally a little higher than those of a frying pan. It has a long handle on one side; heavy sauté pans usually have a loop handle on the other side so the pan can be easily lifted. Sauté pans are most often made of stainless steel, enameled cast iron, aluminum, anodized aluminum or copper. As the name suggests, a sauté pan efficiently browns and cooks meats and a variety of other foods.
Sauternes [soh-TERN] An elegant sweet wine from the Sauternes region of western France. It's made from SAUVIGNON BLANC or SEMILLON grapes that have been infected by a beneficial mold called BOTRYTIS CINEREA, which causes the grapes to shrivel, leaving a sugary fruit with concentrated flavors. The best Sauternes come from vines that have been hand-picked (as many as 12 separate times) to ensure that the grapes are not removed from the vines before reaching the perfect degree of ripeness required for these wines. Sauternes are most notable as DESSERT WINES but, because of their high acidity, they also make excellent partners for rich dishes like PÂTÉ, CAVIAR and FOIE GRAS. "Sauterne" without the ending "s" usually refers to an inexpensive semisweet California wine.
Sauvignon Blanc [SOH-vihn-yohn , BLAHN,  , SOH-vee-nyawn , BLAHN , GK] Widely cultivated in France and California (and also grown in Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Chile), the Sauvignon Blanc grape imparts a grassy, herbaceous flavor to wine. It's one of the main grapes used to produce the elegant dry wines from Bordeaux (Graves) and the Loire Valley (Pouilly-Fumé), as well as the seductively sweet SAUTERNES. Many wineries — particularly in California — use this grape to produce wonderful wines that are bottled under the varietal name, Sauvignon Blanc (sometimes labeled Fumé Blanc).
savarin [SAV-uh-rihn, sa-va-RAN ] This variation on the BABA is made without raisins and baked in a large ring mold. Named after Brillat-Savarin, a famous 18th-century food writer, this rich yeast cake is soaked with rum-flavored syrup and filled with PASTRY CREAM, crème CHANTILLY or fresh fruit.
savory [SAY-vuh-ree] n.  An herb of which there are two types, summer and winter, both closely related to the mint family. Savory has an aroma and flavor reminiscent of a cross between thyme and mint. Summer savory is slightly milder than the winter variety but both are strongly flavored and should be used with discretion. Dried savory is available year-round; fresh savory can be found in specialty produce markets. Savory adds a piquant flavor to many foods including PÂTÉS, soups, meat, fish and bean dishes. See also  HERBS; HERB AND SPICE CHART. savory adj.  A term describing food that is not sweet but rather piquant and full-flavored.
savoury [SAY-vuh-ree] A British term initially used to describe dishes that were served after dessert to cleanse and refresh the palate. Today it more often refers to tidbits served as appetizers, as well as to more substantial dishes that can be served for lunch, HIGH TEA or light supper.
savoy cabbage This mellow-flavored cabbage is considered by many to be one of the best of its genre for cooking. Savoy has a loose, full head of crinkled leaves varying from dark to pale green. Choose a head that's heavy for its size. The leaves should be crisp, not limp, and there should be no sign of browning. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, in a plastic bag for up to 1 week. See also  CABBAGE.
Sazerac [SAZ-uh-rak] A COCKTAIL consisting of whiskey, SUGAR SYRUP and a dash each of BITTERS and PERNOD. Its name comes from the fact that it was originally served at the Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans. The first of these potent drinks is said to have been made with Sazerac-du-Forge, a French brandy.
Sbrinz cheese [ZBRIHNZ] A hard grating cheese that originated in the central mountains of Switzerland. It's made from whole cow's milk and contains 45 to 50 percent milk fat. Aged from 2 to 3 years, Sbrinz has a dark yellow interior with a brownish-yellow rind. If aged less than this, it is called Spalen . The rich mellow flavor of Sbrinz makes it ideal for both cooking and as a table cheese. See also  CHEESE.
scald [SKAWLD] n.  A dry, tan- or brown-colored area on the skin of a fruit, such as an apple. It's usually caused by overexposure to sunlight and rarely affects the fruit quality. scald v.  1. A cooking technique — often used to retard the souring of milk — whereby a liquid is heated to just below the boiling point. 2. To plunge food such as tomatoes or peaches into boiling water (or to pour boiling water over them), in order to loosen their skin and facilitate peeling. Also referred to as BLANCH.
scale v.  A technique by which the scales are removed from the skin of a fish, generally using a dull knife or a special kitchen tool called a fish scaler.
scale, kitchen A kitchen device used to accurately record the weight of ingredients. Kitchen scales are particularly important for consistent baking results and for weighing meats in order to estimate cooking time. Though there are many styles of kitchen scales, there are two basic types — spring and balance scales. Spring scales register weight when an item is placed in the weighing pan, which then depresses a spring attached to a recording dial. A bowl scale  is a type of spring scale which uses a bowl container rather than a shallow-sided pan. As spring scales get older the spring may weaken, thereby reducing the scale's accuracy. The more accurate balance scales usually have a pan for ingredients on one side and a platform for weights on the other. The ingredient's weight is determined when it balances with the weights on the other side. The main disadvantage of a balance scale is that it usually takes up more room than a spring scale. The less popular beam balance scales use weights that slide along two bars. The correct weight of the ingredients registers when the bars balance.
scallion [SKAL-yuhn] The name "scallion" is applied to several members of the onion family including a distinct variety called scallion, immature onions (commonly called green onions ), young leeks and sometimes the tops of young shallots. In each case the vegetable has a white base that has not fully developed into a bulb and green leaves that are long and straight. Both parts are edible. True scallions are generally identified by the fact that the sides of the base are straight, whereas the others are usually slightly curved, showing the beginnings of a bulb. All can be used interchangeably although true scallions have a milder flavor than immature onions. Scallions are available year-round but are at their peak during spring and summer. Choose those with crisp, bright green tops and a firm white base. Midsized scallions with long white stems are the best. Store, wrapped in a plastic bag, in the vegetable crisper section of the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Scallions can be cooked whole as a vegetable much as you would a LEEK. They can also be chopped and used in salads, soups and a multitude of other dishes for flavor.
scallop [SKAHL-uhp, SKAL-uhp] n.  1. This popular BIVALVE MOLLUSK (see both listings ) has two beautiful fan-shaped shells that are often used as containers in which to serve dishes such as COQUILLES ST. JACQUES. Though the entire scallop including the ROE is edible (and relished by many Europeans), the portion most commonly found in U. S. markets is the adductor muscle that hinges the two shells. There are many scallop species but in general they're classified into two broad groups — bay scallops and sea scallops. Bay scallops, generally found only on the East Coast, are very tiny (the muscle is about 1/2 inch in diameter). They average about 100 per pound and their meat is sweeter and more succulent than that of the sea scallop. They're also more expensive because they're less plentiful. The small calico scallops  — though they're deep-sea creatures — are often sold as bay scallops on the West Coast. They're found in the Gulf of Mexico and along the east coast of Florida. The muscle of the larger, more widely available sea scallop averages 1 1/2 inches in diameter (about 30 to the pound) and is not as tender as the smaller varieties. Though slightly chewier, the meat is still sweet and moist. The color of scallops ranges from pale beige to creamy pink. If scallops are stark white, it's a sign that they've been soaked in water — a marketing ploy to increase the weight. Fresh bay scallops are available on the East Coast in the fall, whereas the peak season for fresh sea scallops is midfall to midspring. Because scallops perish quickly out of water, they're usually sold shucked. All fresh scallops should have a sweet smell and a fresh, moist sheen. They should be refrigerated immediately after purchase and used within a day or two. Frozen scallops are generally available year-round, either breaded or plain. Scallops benefit from brief cooking and are suitable for a variety of preparation methods including sautéing, grilling, broiling and poaching. They're also used in soups, stews and salads. See also  MOLLUSK; SHELLFISH. 2. A thin, boneless, round- or oval-shaped slice of meat or fish that is usually lightly breaded and quickly sautéed. Known as escalope  in French. scallop v.  1. To prepare a food (most notably potatoes) by layering slices of it with cream or a creamy sauce in a casserole. Scalloped foods are often topped with bread or cracker crumbs before being baked. 2. To form a decorative edge in the raised rim of pie dough. Also referred to as CRIMP and FLUTE.
scaloppine [skah-luh-PEE-nee, ska-luh-PEE-nee] A term in Italian cookery describing a thin SCALLOP of meat (most often veal), usually prepared by dredging the meat in flour before sautéing it. Scaloppine dishes are generally served with a sauce based on wine or tomatoes.
scamorze cheese; scamorza; scamorzo [ska-MOHRT-zuh, ska-MOHRT-zoh] Though today this Italian cheese is usually made from whole cow's milk (sometimes mixed with sheep's or goat's milk), scamorze was originally made only from buffalo milk. It's a PASTA FILATA type of cheese that is basically a very firm, slightly salty MOZZARELLA. Scamorze, which contains about 44 percent milk fat, has a creamy white color and a mild, nutty flavor. It's sold in small ovals or gourd shapes and can sometimes be found smoked. Scamorze can be used in much the same way as mozzarella generally as a table cheese or in cooking. See also  CHEESE.
scampi [SKAM-pee] 1. The Italian name for the tail portion of any of several varieties of lobsterettes, the most well known being the Dublin Bay PRAWN. Scampo  is the singular form of the word. 2. On U.S. restaurant menus, the term is often used to describe large SHRIMP that are split, brushed with garlic oil or butter and broiled.
schaum torte; schaumtorten [SHOWM tohrt] This classic dessert from Austria consists of baked MERINGUE layers filled with fruit and topped with whipped cream.
Schbzieger cheese [SHB-zee-guhr] see  SAPSAGO CHEESE
schlag [SHLAHG] A German word (used mainly in Austria) for "whipped cream." Mit schlag  means "with whipped cream," which is how Austrians love to top many foods and beverages including fruit, desserts and coffee.
schmaltz [SHMAHLTZ, SHMOHLTZ] A rendered chicken fat (sometimes flavored with onions, apples and seasonings) that is strained and used in many dishes of Middle European Jewish origin much like butter — both in cooking and as a spread for bread.
semifreddo [say-mee-FRAYD-doh, Sp. , say-mee-FREE-oh] Italian for "half cold," semifreddo  culinarily refers to any of various chilled or partially frozen desserts including cake, ice cream, fruit and custard or whipped cream. Such a dessert's Spanish counterpart is called semifrío .
Sémillon [say-mee-YOHN,  , seh-mee-YOHN ] A white grape grown in France and, to a lesser extent, in California, Australia, Chile and Argentina. Semillon is bottled on a limited basis as both a DRY and semisweet VARIETAL. It's also sometimes blended with SAUVIGNON BLANC. Its greatest claim to fame, however, is its susceptibility to BOTRYTIS CINEREA, making it one of the grapes most often used for DESSERT WINES such as the French SAUTERNES and some U.S. LATE-HARVEST wines.
semolina [seh-muh-LEE-nuh] 1. Durum wheat that is more coarsely ground than normal wheat flours, a result that is often obtained by sifting out the finer flour. Most good PASTA is made from semolina. It is also used to make GNOCCHI, puddings and soups and in various confections. See also  WHEAT. 2. Similarly ground grains are sometimes referred to as "semolina" but with the grain's name attached — corn semolina, rice semolina, etc.
shabu-shabu [SHAH-boo SHAH-boo] A Japanese dish consisting of raw meat (usually paper-thin slices of beef) and raw vegetables cooked by each diner at the table in a pot of hot broth. The freshly cooked ingredients can be dipped into a variety of sauces provided for additional flavor. Once the meat and vegetables have been cooked and eaten, the broth, sometimes with noodles added, is then served. The name is said to come from the sound that's made as the meat is gently swished through the broth.
shallot [SHAL-uht, shuh-LOT] The name of this onion-family member (Allium ascalonicum ) comes from Ascalon, an ancient Palestinian city where the shallot is thought to have originated. Shallots are formed more like garlic than onions, with a head composed of multiple cloves, each covered with a thin, papery skin. The skin color can vary from pale brown to pale gray to rose, and the off-white flesh is usually barely tinged with green or purple. The two main types of shallots are the Jersey or "false" shallot (the larger of the two) and the more subtly flavored "true" shallot. Fresh green shallots  are available in the spring, but as with garlic and onions, dry shallots  (i.e., with dry skins and moist flesh) are available year-round. Choose dry-skinned shallots that are plump and firm; there should be no sign of wrinkling or sprouting. Refrigerate fresh shallots for up to a week. Store dry shallots in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place for up to a month. Freeze-dried and dehydrated forms are also available. Shallots are favored for their mild onion flavor and can be used in the same manner as onions.
shank The front leg of beef, veal, lamb or pork. Though very flavorful, it's full of connective tissue and is some of the toughest meat on the animal. It therefore requires a long, slow cooking method such as braising. Beef shank is used for ground beef; a popular veal shank preparation is OSSO BUCO.
sharbat Popular in India, sharbat is a chilled, sweet drink flavored from fruit juice or flower petals, which is sometimes thick enough to eat with a spoon. It's similiar to charbat,  a Middle Eastern drink that is the progenitor of present-day SHERBET.
shark's fin Reputed to be an aphrodisiac, this expensive delicacy is actually the cartilage of the shark's dorsal fin, pectoral fin and the lower portion of the tail fin. Though the fins of many shark species can be used, the soupfin shark is the one most broadly utilized for this purpose. Dried shark's fin can be found in Asian markets and is sold either whole or in shreds (sans skin and bones). The latter is more expensive because the labor-intensive work of removing the cartilage from the fin's framework is already done. Shark's fin cartilage provides a protein-rich gelatin that is used in Chinese cooking mainly to thicken soups — most notably, shark's fin soup.
she-crab soup This creamy South Carolina specialty is made with crab meat and ROE and flavored with sherry and WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE. Since fresh crab roe is available only in the spring, she-crab soup is seasonal.
shell n.  see  HULL. shell v.  To remove the shell or tough outer covering of a food such as nuts, eggs, garden peas, etc. See also  SHUCK.
shell bean see  CRANBERRY BEAN
shell steak Depending on the locale, shell steak is another name for either a boneless CLUB STEAK or a NEW YORK STEAK. In either case a shell steak should be tender, since both the club and the New York are cut from the SHORT LOIN, the most tender section of BEEF. See also  BEEF.
shepherd's pie A dish of cooked ground or diced meat (traditionally lamb or mutton) mixed with gravy (and sometimes vegetables) and topped with mashed potatoes. The pie is then baked until the mixture is hot and the potato "crust" browns. Shepherd's pie was originally created as an economical way to use leftovers from the ubiquitous "Sunday roast."
shichimi togarashi; shichimi [shee-CHEE-mee toh-gah-RAH-shee] A peppery Japanese condiment made of seven different seasonings including red chile flakes (TOGARASHI), SANSHO, white sesame seeds, NORI (seaweed) flakes, bits of dried mandarin orange peel, black hemp seeds and white poppy seeds. Shichimi togarashi is available in hot, medium and mild strengths in most Asian markets. It's also called hichimi togarashi  and seven spice seasoning. 
shiitake [shee-TAH-kay] Though originally from Japan and Korea, the delicious shiitake mushroom is now being cultivated in the United States (where it's often called golden oak ) in a number of states including California, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington and Virginia. The cap of the shiitake is dark brown, sometimes with tan striations, and can be as large as 8 to 10 inches across. The average size, however, is 3 to 6 inches in diameter. The meaty flesh has a full-bodied (some say steaklike), bosky flavor. Shiitake stems are extremely tough and are therefore usually removed. Don't throw them out, however — they add wonderful flavor to stocks and sauces. Discard the stems after they've been used for flavoring. Though both fresh and dried shiitakes are now available almost year-round in many supermarkets, they're very expensive. Spring and autumn are the seasons when fresh shiitakes are most plentiful. Choose plump mushrooms with edges that curl under. Avoid any with broken or shriveled caps. The versatile shiitake is suitable for almost any cooking method including sautéing, broiling and baking. Shiitake mushrooms are also called Chinese black mushrooms  and forest mushrooms. See also  MUSHROOM.
shioyaki [shee-oh-YAH-kee] Japanese for "salt-grilled," referring to a traditional method of grilling beef, poultry or fish in particular. Instead of coating food with sauce, generous amounts of salt are rubbed over the surface. The meat or fish is often set aside for 30 minutes or more before being broiled or cooked over very hot coals.
Shirley Temple A nonalcoholic drink made with GRENADINE syrup and ginger ale and garnished with a MARASCHINO CHERRY. It's popular with children who want to have a "cocktail" with the adults and was named after the 1930s child star.
shiro goma [shee-roh GOH-mah] see  GOMA
shiso [SHEE-soh] Aromatic green, jagged-edged leaf from the perilla (or beefsteak) plant, which is part of the mint and basil family. The versatile green shiso is used in salads, SUSHI and SASHIMI, cooked dishes like TEMPURA and as a garnish. Green shiso is available fresh from summer to fall in Asian markets. It's also called perilla  and Japanese basil.  The less common and less aromatic red shiso is from a different plant species and is more likely to be found pickled than fresh.
short Culinarily, this term is used to describe a nonyeast pastry or cookie dough that contains a high proportion of fat to flour. The baked goods made from short doughs are tender, rich, crumbly and crisp.
short ribs Rectangles of beef about 2 inches by 3 inches, usually taken from the CHUCK cut. Short ribs consist of layers of fat and meat and contain pieces of the rib bone. They're very tough and require long, slow, moist-heat cooking. See also  BEEF.
shoyu [SHOH-yoo] Japanese for SOY SAUCE.
shred To cut food into narrow strips, either by hand or by using a grater or a food processor fitted with a shredding disk. Cooked meat can be separated into shreds by pulling it apart with two forks.
shrimp This delicious CRUSTACEAN is America's favorite SHELLFISH. Most of the shrimp in the United States comes from bordering waters, notably the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Gulf Coast. There are hundreds of shrimp species, most of which can be divided into two broad classifications — warm-water shrimp and cold-water shrimp. As a broad and general rule, the colder the water, the smaller and more succulent the shrimp. Shrimp come in all manner of colors including reddish- to light brown, pink, deep red, grayish-white, yellow, gray-green and dark green. Some have color striations or mottling on their shells. Because of a heat-caused chemical change, most shrimp shells change color (such as from pale pink to bright red or from red to black) when cooked. Shrimp are marketed according to size (number per pound), but market terms vary greatly from region to region and from fish market to fish market. Keeping that variance in mind, the general size categories into which shrimp fall are: colossal (10 or less per pound), jumbo (11-15), extra-large (16-20), large (21-30), medium (31-35), small (36-45) and miniature (about 100). In the United States, jumbo and colossal shrimp are commonly called "prawns," though the PRAWN is, in fact, a different species. Though there are slight differences in texture and flavor, the different sizes (except the miniatures) can usually be substituted for each other. As a rule, the larger the shrimp, the larger the price. In general, 1 pound of whole, raw shrimp yields 1/2 to 3/4 pound of cooked meat. Shrimp are available year-round and are usually sold sans head and sometimes legs. When raw and unshelled, they're referred to as "green shrimp." Many forms of shrimp are found in the marketplace — shelled or unshelled, raw or cooked and fresh or frozen. There are also processed shrimp products such as breaded or stuffed, frozen shrimp, shrimp spread, dried shrimp and shrimp paste (the last two found in Asian markets). Raw shrimp should smell of the sea with no hint of ammonia. Cooked, shelled shrimp should look plump and succulent. Before storing fresh, uncooked shrimp, rinse them under cold, running water and drain thoroughly. Tightly cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Cooked shrimp can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Freeze shrimp for up to 3 months. Thaw in its freezer wrapping overnight in the refrigerator, or place package in cold water until defrosted. Whether or not to DEVEIN shrimp is a matter of personal preference. In general, small and medium shrimp do not need deveining except for cosmetic purposes. However, because the intestinal vein of larger shrimp contains grit, it should be removed. Shrimp can be prepared in a variety of ways including boiling, frying and grilling.
shrimp boil see  CRAB BOIL
shrimp sauce A moist version of SHRIMP PASTE, with the same strong, salty shrimp flavor. Shrimp sauce is pink in color when fresh but will begin to gray as it ages. It's used both as a condiment and flavoring. Shrimp sauce is also known as bagoong , hom ha  and patis . See also  FISH SAUCE.
Siamese ginger see  GALANGAL
sichuan peppercorn see  SZECHUAN PEPPER
sidecar The appellation of this COCKTAIL is said to have come from its originator, who always traveled in a motorcycle sidecar. It consists of BRANDY, orange-flavored LIQUEUR (such as COINTREAU or TRIPLE SEC) and lemon juice, shaken with ice and strained into a cocktail glass.
sifter A mesh-bottomed kitchen utensil used to SIFT ingredients such as flour or confectioners' sugar. Sifters are usually made of stainless steel or heavy-weight plastic. There are versions with rotary cranks as well as those that are battery operated.
silver leaf see  VARAK
simple syrup see  SUGAR SYRUP
sirloin club steak see  NEW YORK STEAK
sirniki see  SYRNIKI
skewer [SKYOO-uhr] n . A long, thin, pointed rod that comes in various sizes. Skewers are made of metal or wood; the former often has a ring at one end. They're most often used to hold meat in place during cooking, as well as to skewer meat and vegetables to be grilled for SHISH KEBAB. The best skewers are square or flat — shapes that hold food securely when moved. skewer v.  To impale small pieces of food on skewers.
skillet see  FRYING PAN
skim milk see  MILK
skordalia [skor-dahl-YAH] A Greek sauce or dip made with pureed baked potatoes, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, parsley and sometimes bread crumbs or ground nuts. Skordalia is served with various dishes including grilled meats, poultry and fish, soups and as a dip for raw vegetables and/or bread.
sliver n.  A long, thin piece of food such as meat or cheese, or a thin wedge of pie. sliver v.  To cut food into thin strips.
sloe gin [sloh JIHN] A LIQUEUR made by steeping pricked or crushed SLOES in gin.
slumgullion [sluhm-GUHL-yuhn] This slang term originated during the California Gold Rush and described dishes (usually stews) made from leftovers.
slump An old-fashioned New England dessert of fruit, usually berries, topped with biscuit dough and stewed until the biscuit topping is cooked through. Also called grunt .
slurry A thin paste of water and flour, which is stirred into hot preparations (such as soups, stews and sauces) as a thickener. After the slurry is added, the mixture should be stirred and cooked for several minutes in order for the flour to lose its raw taste.
smallage; smellage [SMAW-lihj] see  LOVAGE
smoke curing; smoked see  CURE
smoked salmon Fresh salmon that has undergone a smoking process, usually by one of two methods — hot-smoking or cold-smoking. Hot-smoking is a process by which the fish is smoked from 6 to 12 hours at temperatures ranging from 120° to 180°F. The time and temperature depend on the size of the fish, how close it is to the source of smoke and the degree of flavor desired. In cold-smoking, a temperature of 70° to 90°F is maintained and the fish might remain in the smokehouse for anywhere from 1 day to 3 weeks. There are many types of smoked salmon. Indian-cure salmon is brined fish that has been cold-smoked for up to 2 weeks, which results in a form of salmon JERKY. Kippered salmon — U.S. style — is a chunk, steak or fillet that has been soaked in a mild brine and hot-smoked. It's usually made from chinook salmon that has been dyed red. European kippered salmon differs in that it's a whole salmon that has been split before being brined and cold-smoked. Lox is brine-cured cold-smoked salmon, much of which is slightly saltier than other smoked salmon. Some lox, however, has had sugar added to the brine, which produces a less salty product. Lox is a favorite in American-Jewish cuisine, particularly when served with BAGELS and cream cheese. Nova or Nova Scotia salmon is an idiom used in the eastern United States that broadly describes cold-smoked salmon. Scotch-smoked, Danish-smoked and Irish-smoked salmon are all geographical references to cold-smoked Atlantic  salmon (whereas the Pacific species — usually coho or chinook — treated in this manner is generally simply labeled smoked salmon ). Squaw candy consists of thin strips of salmon that has been cured in a salt-sugar brine before being hot-smoked. Other fish such as trout and haddock can also be smoked. See also  SALMON.
smorrebrod [SMUHR-uh-bruth] Danish OPEN-FACED SANDWICHES.
snail plate Special ovenproof plates with six small indentations, designed to hold snails served in their shell in place so they don't roll around while being cooked or eaten.
snapper There are about 250 species of this saltwater fish, 15 of which can be found in United States waters from the Gulf of Mexico to the coastal waters of North Carolina. Some of the better-known species include the gray snapper, mutton snapper, schoolmaster snapper and yellowtail snapper. By far the best known and most popular, however, is the red snapper, so named because of its reddish-pink skin and red eyes. Its flesh is firm textured and contains very little fat. Red snapper grows to 35 pounds but is most commonly marketed in the 2- to 8-pound range. The smaller sizes are often sold whole, while larger snappers can be purchased in steaks and fillets. Snapper is available fresh all year with the peak season in the summer months. It's suitable for virtually any cooking method. Though some varieties of ROCKFISH are marketed under the names "Pacific snapper" and "red snapper," and a variety of TILEFISH is called "yellow snapper," none of these are true snapper. See also  FISH.
snow A light, frothy dessert made by chilling a mixture of stiffly beaten egg whites, sugar, gelatin and various flavorings. Adding lemon juice, for example, creates lemon snow.
snow pea The fact that this LEGUME is entirely edible — including the pod — accounts for its French name, mange-tout,  or "eat it all." Its almost translucent, bright green pod is thin and crisp. The tiny seeds inside are tender and sweet. Snow peas are available year-round with peak seasons in the spring and fall. Choose crisp, brightly colored pods with small seeds. Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 3 days. Both tips of a snow pea should be pinched off just before using. They're an essential vegetable in Chinese cooking and may also be used raw in salads. Snow peas are also called Chinese snow peas. See also  PEA.
snowshoe rabbit see  HARE
soda bread A QUICK BREAD that is LEAVENED with baking soda combined with an acid ingredient, usually buttermilk. IRISH SODA BREAD is the best known of this genre.
soft-ball stage A test for SUGAR SYRUP describing the point at which a drop of boiling syrup immersed in cold water forms a soft ball that flattens of its own accord when removed. On a CANDY THERMOMETER, the soft-ball stage is between 234° and 240°F.
soft drinks A generic term applied to beverages that do not contain alcohol. Soft drinks are most often thought of as carbonated, though effervescence is not a requisite.
soi see  SOYBEAN
sole The popularity of sole dates back at least to the ancient Romans, who called it solea Jovi  (Jupiter's sandal), undoubtedly because of the elongated-oval shape of this FLATFISH. Though a number of FLOUNDER family members (such as Petrale sole, lemon sole, rex sole and butter sole) are incorrectly called sole in the United States, the highly prized true sole is found only in European waters. The best-known of these is the Dover sole (also called Channel sole ), which is found in coastal waters from Denmark to the Mediterranean Sea. The body of the Dover sole averages about a foot long and ranges in color from pale gray to dark brown on the top side, with the underside a pale beige. Its delicately flavored flesh has a fine, firm texture. True Dover sole is imported frozen to the United States from several of the northern European countries and is available in better fish markets. Other true sole include the thickback and the sand (or partridge ) sole, both smaller and less flavorful than the Dover. Much of what is sold as Dover sole in the United States is actually flounder. Sole can be prepared in a variety of ways including poaching, steaming, baking, broiling and sautéing. It's ideally suited for combining with other foods and sauces. See also  FISH.
sell date see  OPEN DATING
seltzer water [SELT-suhr] A flavorless, naturally effervescent water that takes its name from the town of Nieder Selters in the Weisbaden region of Germany. Human-made "seltzer," also referred to as soda water , was introduced in the latter half of the 18th century when carbon dioxide was injected into water. The original seltzer was the forerunner to soda pops, which came into being in the 1840s when flavors were added to seltzer water. See also  SODA WATER.
semi de melone [say-mee day may-LOH-nay] Italian for "melon seeds," culinarily describing tiny, flat melon-seed PASTA shapes.
sukiyaki [soo-kee-YAH-kee, skee-YAH-kee] Known in Japan as the "friendship dish" because it appeals to foreigners, sukiyaki consists of STIR-FRIED bite-sized pieces of meat, vegetables and sometimes noodles and TOFU. It's flavored with soy sauce, DASHI (or other broth) and MIRIN and is usually prepared at the table. Before eating each bite, diners dip their cooked food into beaten raw egg.
summer cauliflower see  ROMANESCA
summer coating see  CONFECTIONERY COATING
summer oyster mushroom see  OYSTER MUSHROOM
summer sausage Any dried or smoked sausage that can be kept without benefit of refrigeration. See  also  SAUSAGE.
summer squash see  SQUASH
sun-dried tomatoes see  TOMATO
swede see  RUTABAGA
Swedish limpa bread see  LIMPA BREAD
sweet acidophilus milk [ass-ih-DOFF-uh-luhs] see  MILK
sweet basil see  BASIL
sweet cicely [SIHS-uh-lee] see  CHERVIL
sweet cucumber see  TEA MELON
sweetened condensed milk A mixture of whole milk and sugar, 40 to 45 percent of which is sugar. This mixture is heated until about 60 percent of the water evaporates. The resulting condensed mixture is extremely sticky and sweet. Unsweetened condensed milk is referred to as EVAPORATED MILK. Store unopened sweetened condensed milk at room temperature for up to 6 months. Once opened, transfer the unused milk to an airtight container, refrigerate and use within 5 days. Sweetened condensed milk is used in baked goods and desserts such as candies, puddings, pies, etc.
sweet marjoram see  MARJORAM
sweet peppers In the United States, the term "sweet pepper" encompasses a wide variety of mild peppers that, like the CHILE, belong to the Capsicum  family. Both sweet and hot peppers are native to tropical areas of the Western Hemisphere and were brought back by Christopher Columbus to his homeland where they quickly found their way into Spanish cuisine. Sweet peppers can range in color from pale to dark green, from yellow to orange to red, and from purple to brown to black. Their color can be solid or variegated. Their usually juicy flesh can be thick or thin and the flavors can range from bland to sweet to bittersweet. The best known sweet peppers are the bell peppers, so-named for their rather bell-like shape. They have a mild, sweet flavor and crisp, exceedingly juicy flesh. When young, the majority of bell peppers are a rich, bright green, but there are also yellow, orange, purple, red and brown bell peppers. The red bells are simply vine-ripened green bell peppers that, because they've ripened longer, are very sweet. Bell peppers vary from 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 inches long and from 2 1/2 to 4 inches wide. Green bell peppers are available all year long, while the red, orange, yellow, purple and brown varieties are found sporadically throughout the year. With their tops cut off and seeds removed, bell peppers are excellent for stuffing with a variety of fillings. The large, red, heart-shaped pimiento is another popular sweet pepper. Fresh pimientos are available in some specialty produce markets from late summer to fall. Canned or bottled pimientos are marketed year-round in halves, strips and small pieces. Pimientos are the familiar red stuffing found in green olives. Other sweet pepper varieties include the thin, curved, green bull's horn; the long, tapered Cubanelle, which can range in color from yellow to red; and the sweet banana pepper, which is long, yellow and banana-shaped. Most sweet peppers are available year-round with a peak from July through September. Choose peppers that are firm, have a richly colored, shiny skin and that are heavy for their size. Avoid those that are limp, shriveled or that have soft or bruised spots. Store peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Sweet peppers are used raw in salads and as part of a vegetable platter served with various dips. In cooking, they find their way into a variety of dishes and can be sautéed, baked, grilled, braised and steamed. Sweet peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and contain fair amounts of vitamin A and small amounts of calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.
sweet potato squash see  DELICATA SQUASH
Swiss chard see  CHARD
Swiss fondue see  FONDUE
swordfish This large food and sport fish is found in temperate waters throughout the world. Swordfish average between 200 to 600 pounds, though some specimens caught weigh over 1,000 pounds. They have a distinctive saillike dorsal fin and a striking swordlike projection extending from the upper jaw. Their mild-flavored, moderately fat flesh is firm, dense and meatlike, making swordfish one of the most popular fish in the United States. Fresh swordfish is available from late spring to early fall, whereas it's available frozen year-round. Both forms are sold in steaks and chunks. Because it's so firm, swordfish can be prepared in almost any manner including sautéing, grilling, broiling, baking and poaching. See also  FISH.
syllabub [SIHL-uh-buhb] This thick, frothy drink or dessert originated in old England. It's traditionally made by beating milk with wine or ale, sugar, spices and sometimes beaten egg whites. A richer version made with cream can be used as a topping for cakes, cookies, fruit, etc. It's thought that the name of this concoction originated during Elizabethan times and is a combination of the words Sille  (a French wine that was used in the mixture) and bub  (Old-English slang for "bubbling drink").
Sylvaner; Silvaner [sihl-VAN-uhr, sihl-VAH-ner, Ger. , zihl-vah-nehr] Long popular in Germany and surrounding areas of Europe, this white wine grape is now being grown in other parts of the world such as the United States and Chile. Though the wine produced from Sylvaner grapes is light and pleasant, it's not as flavorful or fruity as Germany's Johannisberg RIESLING.
syrniki; sirniki [sihr-NEE-kee] Russian in origin, syrniki is a dish of fried cheese cakes that can be served sweet — sprinkled with confectioners' sugar and sour cream — or savory, topped with sour cream and herbs such as dill. Syrniki are made with a mixture of POT CHEESE or FARMER'S CHEESE, flour and beaten eggs, which is formed into cakes before being sautéed on both sides until brown.
Szechuan pepper; Szechwan [SEHCH-wahn, SEHCH-oo-ahn] Native to the Szechuan province of China, this mildly hot spice comes from the prickly ash tree. Though not related to the PEPPERCORN family, Szechuan berries resemble black peppercorns but contain a tiny seed. Szechuan pepper has a distinctive flavor and fragrance. It can be found in Asian markets and specialty stores in whole or powdered form. Whole berries are often heated before being ground to bring out their tantalizing flavor and aroma. Szechuan pepper is also known as anise  pepper,  Chinese  pepper,  fagara,  flower  pepper,  sansho  and Sichuan  pepper .
schmaltz herring [SHMAHLTZ] see  HERRING
schmear [SHMEER] Thought to have come from the Yiddish word shmirn  ("to smear or grease"), the word schmear is used in the culinary world to describe a dab of something like mayonnaise or cream cheese that's spread on a roll, bagel, etc. More recently, cream cheese is combined with flavorings such as onions, garlic and bell peppers to create a spread that's commercially packaged as a "schmear."
Schmierwurst [SHMEER-wurst(-vurst)] see  METTWURST
schnapps; schnaps [SHNAHPS, SHNAPS] Any of several strong, colorless alcoholic beverages made from grains or potatoes and flavored variously. Peppermint schnapps is one of the best known of this genre.
schnitzel [SHNIHT-suhl] The German word for "CUTLET," usually describing meat that is dipped in egg, breaded and fried. Wiener Schnitzel is a veal cutlet prepared in this manner.
schnitz un knepp [SHNIHTS uhn NEHP] A Pennslyvania Dutch dish consisting of dried apples that are soaked in water before being cooked in that liquid with ham. At the end of the cooking time, spoonfuls of batter are added to the cooking liquid to make dumplings.
scone [SKOHN, SKON] This Scottish QUICK BREAD is said to have taken its name from the Stone of Destiny (or Scone), the place where Scottish kings were once crowned. The original triangular-shaped scone was made with oats and griddle-baked. Today's versions are more often flour-based and baked in the oven. They come in various shapes including triangles, rounds, squares and diamonds. Scones can be savory or sweet and are usually eaten for breakfast or tea.
score To make shallow cuts (usually in a diamond pattern) in the surface of certain foods, such as meat or fish. This is done for several reasons: as a decoration on some foods (breads and meats); as a means of assisting flavor absorption (as with MARINATED foods); to tenderize less tender cuts of meat; and to allow excess fat to drain during cooking.
scorpion [SKOR-pee-uhn] A potent COCKTAIL consisting of light rum, brandy, orange juice, lemon juice and ORGEAT SYRUP, served over ice.
scorzonera [skor-tsoh-NEH-rah] see  SALSIFY
Scotch barley see  BARLEY
Scotch bonnet chile This small (1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter), irregularly shaped chile ranges in color from yellow to orange to red. The Scotch bonnet is one of the hottest of the chiles and is closely related to the equally fiery JAMAICAN HOT and the HABANERO. See also  CHILE.
Scotch broth A Scottish soup made with lamb or mutton, barley and various vegetables. Also known as barley broth .
Scotch egg A hard-cooked egg that is coated with sausage, dipped into beaten egg, rolled in bread crumbs and deep-fried. Scotch eggs are halved or quartered lengthwise and may be served hot or cold, usually as an appetizer.
Scotch whisky; Scotch Made only in Scotland, this distinctive liquor uses barley for flavoring instead of the corn that's used for most American whiskies. The characteristic smoky flavor of Scotch comes from the fact that the sprouted malted barley is dried over peat fires. There are two main types of this liquor available — blended Scotches, which are a combination of 50 to 80 percent grain (unmalted) whisky and 20 to 50 percent MALT whisky; and single-malt Scotches, which are made exclusively from malt, produced by a single distillery and have a richer smoky flavor. Though blended Scotch is generally preferred in the United States, single-malts are rapidly gaining favor. Traditionally, whiskies made in Scotland are spelled without the "e." See also  LIQUOR; WHISKEY.
Scotch woodcock A British specialty consisting of toast spread with anchovy paste and topped with a softly scrambled mixture of eggs and cream. It can be served as a first course or entrée.
scrapple The name of this Pennslvania Dutch dish is derived from the finely chopped "scraps" of cooked pork that are mixed with fine-ground cornmeal, pork broth and seasonings before being cooked into a MUSH. The mush is packed into loaf pans and cooled. Slices of the scrapple are then cut from the loaves, fried in butter and served hot, usually for breakfast or brunch.
screwdriver A mixed drink of orange juice and vodka served over ice. Its origins are unknown but the most popular tale is that it was named in the 1950s by American oil-rig workers stationed in the Middle East who opened and stirred cans of this mixture with their screwdrivers.
screwpine leaves Popular in the cooking of Southeast Asia (particularly Indonesian, Malasian and Thai), screwpine leaves have a floral flavor and are used most often to flavor rice dishes and puddings. Their intense green hue also makes them useful as a natural food coloring. Screwpine leaves are available in Asian markets — sometimes fresh and always dried. They're also called daun pandan, pandanus  and kewra. 
scrod [SKRAHD] see  COD
scungilli [skuhn-GEE-lee] see  WHELK
scup [SKUHP] see  PORGY
scuppernong grape [SKUHP-uhr-nawng] see  MUSCADINE GRAPE
sea anemone [uh-NIHM-uh-nee] Any of many varieties of flowerlike marine animals of which two — the oplet and the beadlet — are used as food in France. The body cavity is cut into pieces and usually either batter-fried or used in soups.
sea bass A term used to describe any of various saltwater fish, most of which aren't members of the BASS family. BLACK SEA BASS is a true bass (as is STRIPED BASS), but white sea bass, which is generally marketed simply as "sea bass," is actually a member of the DRUM family. The giant sea bass is related to the GROUPER family and can weigh as much as 550 pounds. It's sometimes mistakenly called both black sea bass  and jewfish . Sea bass can be found whole and in steaks or fillets. In general, the flesh is lean to moderately fat and is suitable for almost any method of cooking including baking, broiling, poaching and sautéing. See also  FISH.
sea bean see  SAMPHIRE
sea bread see  HARDTACK
sea bream see  BREAM; PORGY
sea cucumber This marine animal's name comes from the fact that it has a cucumberlike shape with short tentacles at one end. It's also known as sea slug . Though it is seldom found fresh in the United States, it's sold dried (usually marketed as trepang, iriko  or bêche-de-mer ) in Asian markets. It must be soaked in water for at least 24 hours, during which time it doubles in size and takes on a gelatinous quality. Its texture is rather rubbery and it's therefore most often used in soups.
sea devil see  ANGLER
seafoam see  DIVINITY
seafood Any edible fish or shellfish that comes from the sea. For information on specific fish or shellfish, see individual listings. 
sea pickle see  SAMPHIRE
sear To brown meat quickly by subjecting it to very high heat either in a skillet, under a broiler or in a very hot oven. The object of searing is to seal in the meat's juices, which is why British cooks often use the word "seal" to mean the same thing.
sea robin see  GURNARD
sea salt see  SALT
seashell pasta see  CONCHIGLIE
sea slug see  SEA CUCUMBER
sea snail see  PERIWINKLE
seasoned salt see  SALT
seasoning Ingredients added to food to intensify or improve its flavor. Some of the most commonly used seasonings include herbs (such as oregano, rosemary and basil), spices (like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice), condiments (such as Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and mustard), a variety of vinegars and — the most common of all — salt and pepper.
season, to 1. To flavor foods in order to improve their taste. See also  SEASONING. 2. To age meat, which helps both to tenderize it and to improve its flavor. 3. To smooth out the microscopic roughness of new pots and pans, particularly cast iron, which might cause foods to stick to the cooking surface. This is normally done by coating the cooking surface with vegetable oil, then heating the pan in a 350°F oven for about an hour. Continued use and gentle cleaning will improve the seasoning. Pans may occasionally need reseasoning.
seatrout see  WEAKFISH
sea urchin Rarely found on U.S. menus, this marine animal is considered a delicacy throughout Japan and many Mediterranean countries. There are many varieties (ranging in diameter from 1 to 10 inches) but all have a hard shell covered by prickly spines that make it look like a pincushion. Though it can be briefly cooked, sea urchin ROE is more often scooped out of the shell with a spoon and consumed raw. A popular method of serving sea urchin roe is to heap it atop a slice of French bread and sprinkle it with lemon juice.
seaweed An important food source in many Asian cultures, seaweed is a primitive sea plant belonging to the algae family with origins dating back millions of years. Japanese cuisine employs different varieties (such as KOMBU, LAVER, WAKAME and NORI) for many uses including soups, vegetables, tea, SUSHI and as a general seasoning. The Irish are partial to the seaweed known as CARRAGEEN, and AGAR is widely used throughout Asia. Seaweed is a rich source of iodine, an important nutrient. Many seaweeds also provide ALGINIC ACID, a jellylike substance that's used as a stabilizer and thickener in a wide variety of commercially processed foods such as ice creams, puddings, flavored milk drinks, pie fillings, soups and syrups. See also  DULSE; HIJIKI; KELP; LIMU; WAKAME.
sec [SEHK] This French word literally means "dry" and when used to describe still (nonbubbly) wines, indicates that the wine has little if any residual sugar left after fermentation, meaning the wine is dry (not sweet). In sparkling wines such as CHAMPAGNE, however, the word takes on quite another meaning: "sec" indicates a relatively sweet wine (DEMI-SEC even sweeter), while the driest sparkling wines are referred to as BRUT.
Seckel pear [SEHK-uhl] An 18th-century Pennsylvania farmer (for whom it was named) is credited with introducing the Seckel pear. It's a small, russet-colored fruit with a sweet, spicy flavor. The Seckel's firm flesh makes it excellent for both cooking and canning but some people find it too crisp for out-of-hand eating. It's available late August through December. See also  PEAR.
sediment The grainy deposit sometimes found in wine bottles, most often with older wines. Sediment is not a bad sign but in fact may indicate a superior wine. It should be allowed to settle completely before the wine is DECANTED into another container so that when the wine is served none of the sediment will transfer to the glass.
seed v.  To remove the seeds from foods, such as fruits or vegetables.
seed sprouts see  SPROUTS
seitan [SAY-tan] A protein-rich food made from wheat GLUTEN and used in many VEGETARIAN dishes. Seitan's firm texture is definitively chewy and meatlike (which is why it's also called wheat meat ), its flavor rather neutral. That mildness, however, allows seitan to be a kitchen chameleon that easily picks up the flavors of the foods with which it is cooked. Available in the refrigerator section of health-food stores and Asian markets, seitan typically comes in foil- or plastic-wrapped cakes that may be square or rectangular and that average about 1/2-inch thick. It also comes in 8-ounce plastic tubs. Check the expiration date on fresh seitan. Seitan is also sold as wheat gluten,  a powdered form that can be mixed with water. The wheat gluten-water mixture, however, doesn't have the same chewy texture as commercially packaged seitan. For the best texture and flavor add seitan to cooked dishes at the last minute, heating just until it is warmed through.
seize A word applied culinarily to melted chocolate that becomes a thick, lumpy mass. Seizing occurs when a minute amount of liquid or steam comes in contact with melted chocolate, in which case the chocolate clumps and hardens. To correct seized chocolate, add a small amount (no more than 1 tablespoon per 6 ounces of chocolate) of clarified butter, cocoa butter or vegetable oil into the chocolate, stirring until once again smooth. Be aware that the added fat may affect the texture of the final product. See also  CHOCOLATE.
self-rising flour see  FLOUR
© The Residential Chef 2018