My cooking went through a major transition a couple of years ago. I’d like to say that it was something I learned at the Culinary Institute of America or something like that. It wasn’t. It was a simple observation. Good cooks taste their food before they serve it. I know – revolutionary huh?
These days I keep a small supply of tablespoons nearby when I’m cooking. If I’m developing a sauce (the other night I made one up with Lemon Zest, English Peas, Fresh Basil, Roasted Garlic and Cream that was pretty damn good) I taste it as I’m cooking it to make sure it’s right. I use each spoon one time. Some cooks use their stirring spoon to transfer food to the spoon they’re tasting with.
This simple step will keep you from adding too much salt, help you know that a dish is too spicy, etc.
I know this seems extraordinarily basic, but it happens all the time. When all else fails, taste it and see if it’s good!