1950s Archive

From the Notebooks of Louis Diat:Shallots, Shad Roe, and Lamb

continued (page 3 of 4)
Maitre d' Hôtel Butter

Cream ½ cup butter and gradually work into it 1 teaspoon chopped parsley and the juice of half a lemon. Season the butter with salt and white pepper to taste.

Shad Roe Bonne Femme

In a shallow pan. melt 2 tablespoons butter and add 3 tablespoons finely Chopped shallot, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, ½pound sliced mushrooms, ½teaspoon salt, and a little pepper. Arrange 4 shad roe (or 6 if small) on the vegetables and pour over about ¾ cup dry white wine. Cover the pan with a circle of waxed paper with a tiny hole in the center. Bring the wine to a boil, cover the pan, and simmer the roe for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the roe to a serving dish and cook the liquid in the pan until it is reduced to one-third its original quantity. Add ¼cup cream, correct the seasoning with salt, and finish the sauce by stirring in beurre manié made by creaming together 1 tablespoon butter with 1 teaspoon Hour. Pour the sauce over the roe.

Notes on Lamb

I'm often told that many Americans won't eat lamb. I can hardly believe it, because lamb is so much appreciated by nearly all Europeans. And I know how popular lamb is in New York; at least it used to be at the old Ritz Carlton. Whenever we featured lamb on the menu, we seemed to exhaust our supply well before the orders stopped coming from the dining rooms.

As with other meats, the quality of lamb is important, but any reliable butcher can supply either the prime or choice grades. The flesh of young animals will be a good red color, the fat firm and a pinkish white.

Those who question the savoriness of lamb might start by cooking the chops. They may choose from among the three available types, loin, rib, and shoulder. The loin and rib are the most expensive —and the most desirable, in that order. A loin chop has a small bone with ft little piece of meat on one side of it and a larger piece on the other side, both very tender. The bone of a rib chop is much longer and the meat lies on only one side of it. Some people consider this meat even sweeter and more delicate than the loin. Shoulder chops have more meat, a smaller bone, and more fat running through the meat, but they are not quite so tender.

Lamb and rib chops are usually broiled or sautéed. Broiling is always preferable except when the chops have been cut very thin; if so, sautéing them in butter seems to be more successful.

As a technique, broiling is a quick method, and an exacting one. Even a minute or two of overcooking—or insufficient broiler heat—can spoil the meat. But a little experience at estimating the required cooking time, according to the thickness of a chop, will make of any cook a competent grillardin, as the grill chef in a French restaurant is called. A few pointers may prove helpful; Fat smokes and catches fire easily in the broiler, so it is best to cut off most of the far, leaving only enough to protect the edges of the chop. If the heat comes from a charcoal fire under the meat, rather than a gas or electric unit above it, fat dripping down always makes the fire flate. A chef lakes care of this problem with a clean whisk brush and a pan of water, picking up just a little water on the bristles and then carefully Hipping the water on the flames so that he extinguishes them without cooling the fire.

A professional grillardin has the chops cut thick, never less than an inch, usually two inches or more. He spreads one side with butter, seasons it, and broils it. Then the chop is turned and the other side buttered, seasoned, and finished. The surface should become a very dark brown, but not scorched; the inside is pink or medium rare according to taste. The grillardin never pierces the meat itself, but inserts the fork in the fatty part. He judges degree of doneness as follows: When the chop is medium rare, tiny drops of pink juice appear on the surface of the side being cooked. But tapping with the linger tells him the story, if the meat is soft to the touch, it is not dune: if firm but still springy, it is medium rare; if very firm, it is well done.

Thin chops, less than an inch thick, are sautéed, and the French way of preparing shoulder chops is to cook them with vegetables.

Subscribe to Gourmet