As a lifelong francophile, I was acutely aware of the different grocery and department stores that dot the city of light. But when we arrived that first summer, I noticed there was a store I had never heard of called Picard and as I peered through the windows it became clear to me I needed to investigate. Picard sells only frozen food. And I chuckle when I tell you this because I don't frequent the frozen food section of my own grocery stores so it seemed odd that I would be so intrigued by one that sells exclusively frozen food. I find that I end up spending more money when I buy already prepared food than if I construct it myself. So really, I'm just being cheap.
Picard stores are generally small, very quiet, and have both chest and stand-up freezers to hold their products. They have some of the most interesting frozen food I've ever seen and one week when the lamb chops were on sale, I discovered they also have very good flash-frozen meats. But after busting my butt during summer number one to find stock, broth, or concentrate but could only find bullion cubes, I discovered in our local Picard early in the second summer something called Fond. We often refer to the caramelized sugars and proteins on the bottom of our roasting pans as fond and those bits are what we scrape up when we deglaze a pan with wine or stock in the process of making a sauce. Picard sells little white bags with frozen 1oz cubes of fond in various flavors. Some in basic stock flavors and others in complicated, already made sauces. I started using these as I needed stock but I quickly realized that all I had to do was toss one in after I removed meat from a roasting pan and in minutes I'd have a terrific sauce for my dish.
The reason why I am telling you all this is because I am starting to see good little frozen gourmet short-cuts in our grocery stores here. While I have not seen the magic fond cubes, I suspect they might exist on this side of the Atlantic but that I just haven't found them. What have found, and have fallen in love with are Dorot's frozen seasoning products. In particular, I am
A few of my new favorite recipes call for ginger so this makes getting those meals on the table that much easier on our busy nights. Do you have a favorite time-saving food product?