Top Secret Tips From Anne

Anne Burrell shares her best ideas from the current season of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef.

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Secrets to Beef Brisket

When buying brisket from the market, make sure to ask the butcher for the first cut. The brisket is generally broken down into two cuts, first and second. The first cut is a thicker and more consistent piece of meat. It also has a better fat-to-meat ratio that allows for even cooking and a very tender end result.

Secrets to Cornish Hens

Cornish hens are just young chickens that are sold whole. You cook them just as you would a regular chicken, but they cook in half the time and are perfect for individual servings. They're great for special occasions as they make a dramatic presentation, especially when trussed with blanched scallions, which also add savory flavor and aroma to the dish.

Secrets to Ginger and Cumin Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Seasoning the tenderloin the day before gives the meat a deeper flavor as the salt and spices are absorbed. Don't season the meat more than 24 hours in advance, though, because the salt and spices will begin to cure the meat and you end up with a tough, salty product. Typically, pork tenderloin is sold in packages of two with each loin weighing between 1.5 and 2 pounds. The tenderloins are sold trimmed of major fat and sinew but may need some additional trimming at home to remove the last bits of tough fat or silver skin that remain.

Secrets to Apple and Prune Stuffed Pork Loin

Freezing the stuffing mixture in the shape of the hole being stuffed makes the stuffing process much easier and less messy. Also, you can make a larger quantity of stuffing and keep portions in the freezer ready to stuff for the next time you want to make the dish. When buying pork loin ask the butcher to leave the ribs on. You can cut them off yourself and save for your favorite rib dish or use the ribs as a roasting rack and serve with the pork loin. Buying the loin with the rack and butchering it yourself saves you money.

Secrets to Pulled Pork

Making x's in the fat of a Boston butt allows the fat to render, which bastes the pork as it cooks. This self-basting method adds flavor and makes the pork fall-off-the-bone tender. When buying the Boston butt, also called the "Picnic" cut, ask the butcher to leave on the thick layer of fat covering the meat.

Secrets to Olive Oil Poached Salmon

Oil poaching fish is a great way to keep seafood moist and tender — and add rich flavor. The key to poaching in oil is low heat, cooking the fish evenly and keeping it tender, without drying it out. Firm fleshed fish are the best for poaching; these include salmon, halibut and Pacific cod, among others. When choosing oil for poaching, don't buy the most expensive extra virgin oil. Use a good olive oil from the second press or find something that's a blend of olive oil and vegetable oil.

Secrets to Sole Meunière

One of the great things about sole is that it's a round fish, meaning it has four filets instead of two. If your fishmonger sells whole fish, have him or her break it down for you and ask to keep the bones for stocks and sauces. You pay for the bones whether you take the fish with them or not. If you can't find sole, any flaky white fish would be a good substitute. Try striped bass or branzino but always keep sustainability in mind.

Secrets to Gulf Shrimp Jambalaya

Save the shrimp shells and freeze them to make a flavorful stock or broth for soups, stews and sauces. Gulf shrimp is rigorously tested for quality and safety. Seeing them in the store means they are the best quality you can get.

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