Chef Trick for Browning and Grill Marks

We collect “Cheffy Tricks” for working magic in our own home kitchen. One secret known by many chefs is the clever addition of anchovy filets or anchovy paste to a braising liquid or pasta sauce. We’ve been doing that for years and no one has ever guessed what made the meal so “extra meaty” and delicious.

One especially effective “Cheffy Trick” is for quickly browning a difficult protein like skinless chicken. By difficult, I mean that the item might overcook before it has a chance to nicely brown. Since Golden Brown and Delicious is always a wonderful thing, you might want to make note of how to brown quickly and even put classy grill marks where you’ve never had them before.

The secret is based upon the science of the Maillard Reaction (The Maillard reaction is what makes the outer layer of cooked meat brown.) The reaction requires amino acids found in protein plus sugars found in carbohydrates. More about the science when you click the links.

Mash an anchovy filet with a drizzle of honey then lightly brush it on your chicken, fish, pork, veggies, etc. just before grilling, broiling, roasting, or sautéing. Use very, very little of this glaze otherwise you might overpower the dish or develop too much char. Anchovy paste is a good substitute for the filet. Be sure to oil your grill or pan so the browning doesn’t stick. I like to use this trick for veggies that I don’t want to overcook, yet which benefit greatly from the char and grill marks.

Grill Marks

Try this tip with a broiled or grilled Chicken Paillard.
Maillard a Paillard – I Love it!

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