30 January 2023

Meaty Monday


In Paris, vegetarian and vegan options are getting easier to find but for now, meat is king.  Especially beef. In most café-restaurants, bistros and brasseries steak is on the menu, with all the usual suspects on board - côte de boeuf, entrecôte, bavette, faux-filet, rumsteak, filet mignon and plain old steak, bifteck. [Note: unless filet mignon is followed by the word boeuf, it's always pork!] Paleron and gîte get simmered to tenderness in colder-weather stews such as Boeuf Bourguignon or Pot-Au-Feu. Côte de boeuf, beef on the rib or côte, is greatly prized. It's pricier, might have to be reserved in advance and, because of its size, shared. No T-bone here.
At the butcher's, the race bovine or cattle breed is proudly displayed, often with a photo: Charolais, Salers, Aubrac, Limousin, Rouge des prés, Gasconne, and for the past few years, Angus. Where the beef comes from (origine France for example) is required to be posted, somewhere. 
A particular cut of steak is expected to appear on plates in a particular way, and that’s all part of it. So sauce béarnaise and frites maison are the usual accompaniments to côte de boeuf and sometimes, a marrow bone is thrown in. Seared entrecôte will arrive with a just melting pat of beurre maître d'hôtel. No bavette, a sort of flank steak, is worth its weight if not served with sauce à l'échalote, a wine-shallot sauce. And so it goes.
American tastes usually find that meat in France - and this includes lamb and duck - is underdone when it comes to their desired cuisson: saignant (rare), à point (medium/medium rare), bien cuit (well done). The most popular (French) choice for steaks is saignant and à point for cheeseburgers. The good news is, meat that's not cooked enough to one's liking can always be sent back to the kitchen to be cooked up. The bad: just ordering beef "well-done” (Anglo style) is usually a non-non and could elicit a comment here, a pffft there, or, as recently happened to a friend visiting from New York who ordered her steak well done, she turned around and caught the waiter making grimaces behind her back. - BPJ

Above: côte de boeuf (between saignant and à point) w/three sauces

Below: a
côte de boeuf (saignant


No comments: :

Post a Comment