The blog this week is about simple fit gourmet techniques that add flavor that let you eat lower fat meals without adding fat. And it essentially boils down to four simple approaches: Spice Rubs, Flavorful Low Fat Sauces, Flavor with Herbs/Wine, Spices.
Spice Rubs: I use these a lot to create a layer of flavor that is often further enhanced later by another layer of flavor via a sauce. It's an approach used in American BBQ but it's also a technique that (with some modification) you will find in many cusiines including Indian. Rub a spice mix on lean meat for flavor with no fat. Lean chicken breast or lean cuts of pork can be cooked with virtually no added fat - especially when you cook over a grill. Mix your own as many rubs in stores have junk in them like chemicals, sodium, and bad oils and preservatives. You can mix them up in minutes.
Flavorful Low Fat Sauces: Whether it is a shot of lemon juice, a dollop of hoisin sauce, or a more complex sauce of pureed red wine/carrots/celery/onions/garlic or maybe mustard with green pepercorns, a SMALL (keep it healthy!) dash of half and half with wine, or a complex sauce in Indian cooking....sauces can be a great way to add a ton of flavor with very little fat. Lean cuts of meat or fish have less fat and often less flavor and sauces that are low in fat are a great way to add flavor without adding much fat. Just watch the fat and sodium and if you do use butter, use it sparingly and rarely.
Flavor with Herbs/Wine: This is really a variant of the sauces technique above but I put it in a separate category as it is a very simple technique that I find so many cooks don't use enough. Fresh herbs from the garden or store, a little wine, a few grindings of pepper, a dash of salt, and maybe a shot of fresh lemon juice and maybe a dash or cornstarch to thicken can do wonders for the simplest cuts of meat or fish. Wine and herbs are two of the most basic ingredients that add such a great gourmet touch to so many meals while only adding to the health of the dish.
Spices: just use them and get creative! The most complex cusine in its use of spices and the one I found most difficult to learn are all the different foods and cooking techniques from India. Spices can add tremendous flavor and even a vegetarian meal made with great Indian spices can be as fulfilling (even to a meat-eater like myself) as a hearty meat meal. It's a matter of understanding certain combinations/pairings and amounts. Spices are so underutilized by many cooks but are such a great way to add flavor without fat.
So those are a few approaches I have used over the years to add flavor without adding fat....any you care to add?