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A Chef's Dirty Little Secret

Updated: Mar 30, 2020

My Dirty Little Secret & How it will Change the way you Cook

You heat up your skillet. You cooked something delicious. You remove it from the pan. You notice little bits of food stuffs stuck to the pan. You throw it into the sink to wash later.


Don't even think about it!

That dirty pan is flavor and you don't want to waste it!

It is called the fond. The fond is all those little bits of goodness, yes, you heard me right, goodness, stuck to your dirty pan. It is super easy to collect that goodness and bonus it makes cleaning your pan easier. This is one way chefs will add an extra layer of flavor to their food. Making it more complicated and helping to meld all the flavors together.

All you have to do to extract that beautiful flavor from your pan is deglaze it. All you need is a liquid and a wooden spoon. I like to use a flat wooden spoon like this one. It makes it easy to get all the bits off the bottom of the pan & into the corners.

While the pan is hot, add a splash of liquid and use the spoon to scrape up all that goodness. What liquid should you use? Just about any liquid. You can use water, but that's no fun, choose something that will add a bit of flavor to those flavor bits! Stock, Wine, Vinegar, Juice, Soy Sauce; really your choices are unlimited. Keep in mind, adding liquid to a hot pan will cause steam. If there's a lot of fat in your pan, drain that off first or you'll have a nasty spitting mess on your hands... and arms.

Here are my 3 Favorite Ways to use The Fond


A beautiful glistening sauce that clings to your food. This is my go-to, TOP SECRET, favorite way to make use of that beloved fond.


1 dirty pan (after cooking meat/ mushrooms)

1 cup liquid (stock/ wine/ cooking vinegar)

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh ginger, minced/ grated

1 tbsp fresh herbs (parsley/ chives/ basil- whatever you love!)


1. Put the pan on medium-high heat & once hot add liquid to deglaze. Scrap the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the yummy bits of flavor.

2. Let the liquid reduce until it starts to get saucy (sticks to the back of a spoon but is still nice & runny). This only takes a few minutes.

3. Add garlic & ginger, cook for 60 seconds, until aromatic.

4. Remove from heat & stir in herbage.

5. You've got yourself a bangin sauce to drizzle, pour or dunk.


After deglazing the pan you can throw some veg in there and let it cook in the deliciousness that you left behind. This not only cuts down on dishes to wash (you can thank me later) it also works to marry the flavors in your meal. Easiest side dish ever.

You can substitute or omit any of the spices/ herbs. Have fun with it & let me know how it turns out. Try this with any veggies you like and you'll be amazed how flavorful steamed veggies can be.


1 dirty pan (after cooking meat/ mushrooms)

2-4 cups stock

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

1 tsp red pepper flakes, crushed in your fingers (optional)

1 tsp cumin, ground

1 tsp coriander, ground

salt & pepper to taste

1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped


1. Put the pan on medium-high heat & once hot add 2 cups of stock to deglaze. Scrap the pan with a wooden spoon to release all the yummy bits of flavor.

2. Add cauliflower, toss in liquid.

3. Sprinkle with spices, salt & pepper.

4. Toss every few minutes. Keep an eye on the liquid level. If it starts to get low, add another splash.

5. Use a fork to check a larger piece and see if they're tender. You want the fork to go in easily. If you're unsure, taste it- is it what you like? Then it's done! Too crunchy? Keep cooking.

6. When it's tender, add parsley and toss.

7. Enjoy the most amazing steamed veg ever!

Three. ADD it to a SAUCE/ SOUP

There's never a reason to waste that fond. If you don't have anything else to cook, deglaze your pan and save it for tomorrow. Add it to your tomato sauce or a soup. Those little bits of goodness need to be used!

What do you think?

Are you going to use those bits of goodness next time you cook?

Comment below.

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