1. Don’t Prepare Garlic and Onions in Advance
Chopping garlic and onions releases sharp odors and strong flavors that become overpowering with time, so it’s best to cut them at the last minute. Soaking sliced or chopped onions in a solution of baking soda and water (1 tablespoon per cup of water) tames their pungency for raw applications; just be sure to rinse them thoroughly before using.
4. Strike Only When the Pan Is Hot
The temperature of the cooking surface will drop the minute food is added, so don’t rush the preheating step at the start of most sautés. Wait for the oil to shimmer when cooking vegetables. When cooking proteins, wait until you see the first wisps of smoke rise from the oil.
6. Season with Sugar, Too
Browned food tastes better, and the best way to accelerate this process is with a pinch of sugar sprinkled on lean proteins (chicken and seafood) or vegetables.
9. Add a Little Umami or Savoriness
Soy sauce and anchovies contain high levels of glutamates, which give dishes a savory, meaty boost. Add a teaspoon or two of soy sauce to chili, or cook a few minced anchovies along with the vegetables in a soup or stew.