Friday, May 12, 2006

Lettuce revisited.

On May 25th …

The first “French Hospital” was set up in London in the early eighteenth century to cater for the Protestant Huguenot refugees from France. In one form or another, in one location or another, the respite facility has continued to the present day to assist the descendants of these refugees.

IN 1905, the thirty-seventh annual dinner was held in aid of funds for the hospital and dispensatory. The French ambassador was in the chair, assisted and supported by the Lord Mayor of London and the the Sheriffs and Under Sheriffs of London. The venue was the Hotel Cecil, and the menu was as follows:

Hors d'Oeuvres Variés
Consommé Carnot Crème Milanaise
Truite Saumonée, Sauce Chablis
Salade de Concombres.
Curry de Homard et Crevettes à l'Indienne
Caille aux Petits Pois à la Française
Aspic de Foie Gras en Belle Vue
Selle d'Agneau à la Broche
Champignons grillés Laitues Farcies
Pommes Nouvelles
Sorbet au Kirsch
Poularde à l'Américaine
Salade NiçoiseAsperges d'Argenteuil, Sauce Mousseline
Fraises Melba glacées
Paniers Nationaux de Petits Fours


Berncastler Doctor
Perrier Jouet, Ex. Sec., 1895
Delbeck. Ex. Reserve Dry, 1893
Duc de Montebello, 1893
ClaretBranairre Ducru, 1893

Dow's 1890

Otard's Liqueur de fine Champagne 1875
Eaux Minérales

It is always good to discover, or re-discover an interesting dish on an old menu. The Consommé Carnot sounds intriguing, and was presumably named for Sadi Carnot, the President of France from 1887-1894, but alas there does not seem to be a recipe for this dish in any of the standard texts of the time. Escoffier does have one for stuffed lettuce however. How long is it since you stuffed a lettuce?

Laitues farcis.
Lettuces, chicken forcemeat, chopped ham, truffle, 3- 4 tablespoons demi-glace sauce, fried croutons.
Blanch the lettuces, cut in half lengthwise and braise as in the preceding recipe.
On each half place 1 tablespoon forcemeat with a little chopped ham and truffle. Fold each half lettuce over onto itself and put into a buttered dish. Sprinkle with a little of the cooking liquor. Cover and put into a slow oven for 4-5 minutes, just long enough to poach the forcemeat. Add demi-glace sauce to the rest of the cooking liquor and strain the sauce over.

Tomorrow: A great culinary mystery.

Quotation for the Day …

I worry about scientists discovering that lettuce has been fattening all along. Erma Bombeck.

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