Fond, pronounced “fahn”, is a French word for “base” and in the culinary sense refers to the brown bits and residue at the bottom of a pan after cooking meats or vegetables. Why should we care about fond? Because fond is flavour country! It’s the base for all the goodness that starts the pan gravies and sauces that are fundamental to cooking.
To retain the fond and release the sticky, caramelized residue and drippings from the pan, the pan is deglazed. Deglazing is the action of pouring a liquid (water or stock) into the pan and stirring with a spoon to unstick the fond from the bottom of the pan.
Again, while fond is often used as the starting point for pan sauces and gravies, I also like to use deglazed fond in soups to add a richness in flavour that can only come from the roasted goodness that comes from the bottom of the pan. This is often how Japanese chefs make such amazing stocks as a base for ramen… the bones and meats that are roasted for the stock leave a fond on the pan which is deglazed for use in the best ramen soup broths.
Photo Credit: Jypsygen