We wouldn’t educate you about it if we didn’t think that it was of pertinent importance. Those crispy bits leftover in the bottom of the pan after roasting or sautéing – those are what’s relevant. “Fond,” the word the French use for “base,” is the word for those little roasty bits left at the bottom of a pan when something delicious has been cooked. Basically, fond is concentrated flavor, and it’s the little browned bits that chefs extract from the bottom of the pan (via deglazing) to make a sauce with. The fond serves as the base for a number of classic French pan sauces.
Fond is also the word that the French use for stock. “Fond blanc” is a white stock, “fond brun” is brown stock, and “fond de vegetal” means vegetable stock. But we’re more interested in the little caramelized meat bits.
How to properly deglaze a pan (and get the best fond):
• Make sure that there is nothing burnt on the pan you are going to deglaze. Those bits should be deep brown, not blackened.
• Pour off most of the fat in the pan.
• Turn the heat up to high.
• Add cold liquid to the hot pan. The liquid will start boiling very quickly, bringing up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
• Using a spatula, scrape off the fond as the liquid boils.
• Once the fond is distributed throughout the liquid, turn down the heat. Voila, sauce.
For the deglazing liquid: Water is boring. Use white or red wine, beer, brandy, stock or vinegar.