Strange idea to name a kitchen utensil after an origin. The most widespread hypothesis supposes that at the time when Chinese was democratized in France, at the end of the 19e century, the cooks of that time associated its conical and flared shape with that of the hats that the peasants wear in certain regions of China to protect themselves from the rain and the sun. In that case, why not “lampshade” or “ice cream cone”?
Still, the Chinese – or the pass-sauce, another name suggested by the kitchen dictionary by Eric Glatre (BPI, 2009) – still remains one of the scullions’ most faithful allies. The pierced stainless steel container, whose diameter varies from 10 to 25 centimeters, makes it possible to rinse or drain food before and after cooking; to filter a liquid or a semi-liquid (puree, cream, sauce, etc.) by separating it from its solid or aromatic elements; and sifting or sprinkling fine dry particles over a preparation.
The narrower and tighter the holes, the clearer the liquid of its unwanted substances. When the meshes are so fine that they form a sieve, we speak of “chinese cheesecloth”. The handle, which is always long, protects against any splashes of hot liquid.
In the kitchens of Georges, the gourmet restaurant of the Grand Monarque, in Chartres, Thomas Parnaud makes daily use of Chinese. The young chef has developed a recipe in which he uses it in at least three different circumstances. “There is a classic from the culinary repertoire that I love to appropriate and deconstruct, these are French peas, he explains, showing us the three types of strainers that sit on his worktop.
Before cooking my sweet onion royale, this set cream that will garnish the bottom of the plate, I need to pass my appliance through a cheesecloth strainer, in order to make the preparation as smooth as possible. I use it again to pass a cream of pea pods whipped in butter. The Chinese with large holes, meanwhile, will allow me to filter a cream sauce infused with smoked bacon that I will emulsify by the minute.
At the time of dressing, he concludes, I use a very small Chinese cheesecloth, called strainer, to sift a powder made from the skin of dried peas on the plate. This is what will come to bring a little texture under the tongue. » In the middle of the small hill of green grains with golden highlights from the butter, Thomas Parnaud hides five or six large pieces of bacon, sage leaves and a few fresh pea shoots. The leader sends; the pass-sauces go diving to take a little rest – it’s well deserved.
Perforated strainers, strainer strainers with reinforced sieve or fine cloth strainers, from €10 at E. Dehillerin