FRENCH CLASSICAL MENU
1) Hors D'oeuvre
Being of a highly seasoned and piquant in nature, this course is used to manipulate the appetite for the dishes that are to follow. Inrecent years, hors d’oeuvres have gained in popularity, and now appear even on simple menus in modest eating places. Although the actual term “hors d’oeuvres” applies to the service of various cold salads and morsels of anchovy, sardines, olives, prawns, etc., it also covers whatever items are served before the soup.
Examples of such hors d’oeuvres:
· Melon Melon Frappe
· Oysters Huitres Nature
· Smoked Salmon Saumon Fumee
· Caviar Caviar
· Grapefruit Pamplemousse
· Potted Shrimps Petites Pots de Crevettes
· Shrimp, Prawn or Lobster Cocktail
· Fruit Cocktail Coupe Florida
· Souses Herrings Hareng Dieppoise
· Pate of Goose Liver Pate de Foie Gras
There are also quite a number of items that may be served
hot, such as Bouchees, Croquettes, Fritters, etc., and these are known as ors d’oeuvres chaud.
The French have three separate words for soup. Consommé
is a clear, thin broth. Soupe refers to a thick, hearty mélange with chunks of food. Potage falls somewhere between the two in texture, content and thickness. A potage is usually puréed and is often thick, well-seasoned meat or vegetable soup, usually containing barley or other cereal or a pulse (e.g. lentils). Today, the words soupe and potage are often used interchangeably. On good-class à la carte menus, a fish soup is also usually offered for selection, the two most common being “Bisque d’Homard” or “Bouillabaisse.”
Oeufs are the dishes made from egg. The omelette is the
most popular item, but there are other styles of cooking and preparation of eggs such as boiled, en cocotte, poached or
scrambled. This course is not included in the dinner menu. Some examples are omelette, Espagnole, Oeuf en Cocotte a la crime, Oeuf poche florentine.
This is Italy's contribution to the courses of the menu. It
includes different kinds of rice and pasta. Pasta dishs are spaghetti, lasagne and gnocchi. Pasta is made from durum wheat semolina or milled durum wheat to which water is added to form a dough. It can be coloured and flavoured in various ways. There are more than 200
varieties of pasta. The ingredients, size, shape and colour determine the type of pasta. Some examples include Spaghetti Bolognaise, Lasagne Napolitaine and Macaroni au gratin.
Poisson are the dishs made from fish. Fish, being soft-fibred, prepares the palate for the heavier meats that follow. Deep-fried or grilled fish dishes do not generally occupy a place on the “classical dinner menu,” but are freely offered on the shorter-coursed luncheon menu. This also applies to the coarser members of the fish family, and the dinner menu is usually comprised of the finer fish prepared and cooked in the more classical manners. Ideal fish for dinner menu compilation are: Sole, Salmon, Halibut, Escallops, etc. Rarely seen on a menu for the evening meal are: Cod, Bass, Haddock, Brill, Hake, and Plaice. One deep-fried fish dish, which normally finds itself on the dinner menu, however, is “Blanchaille”, and this only because Whitebait are so light and in no way too filling for the comfort of the guest.
This is the first of the meat courses on a menu. It is always a complete dish in itself. It is despatched from the kitchen garnished and sauced in the manner in which it is intended to be served. The “entrée” is always cooked and garnished in an artistic manner and usually served with a rich sauce. The “entrée” can be devised of almost anything light. This course consists of all the small cuts of butcher’s meats, usually sautéed, but never grilled. Grilled steaks, cutlets and chops invariably replace the joints as the roast (roti) course.
The following items, with their appropriate garnishes and
sauces, can be successfully served as entrées.
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