Those of you who are regular readers will be aware that I love menu recipe books – especially the sort that give you a menu for every single day of the year, with the recipes for each dish. Takes the work out of planning the dinner. Doesn’t take the work out of actually cooking the dinner of course – and in the early nineteenth century, that could represent quite some work.
Here is his menu for April 4, demonstrated by an image to best show how the food was set out on the table with great geometrical precision, as was the habit of the day.
As promised, he included the recipes:
Cut the kidney in neat slices, (about the size of a semell of veal) put them in warm water to soak for two hours, and change the water two or three times, then take the kidney out of the water and put it on a clean cloth to dry the water and juice from it, then put clarified butter in the fryingpan, put the kidnies in and fry them of a nice brown; season them with pepper and salt; put them round the dish and ravigott sauce into the middle.
Put into a stew-pan a very small clove of garlick, a little chervil, a little burnet, a few leaves of tarragon, two or three shalots, chopped mushrooms, thyme, parsley, a little bit of butter, a few spoonfuls of stock, and a little pepper and salt; put the stew-pan on a slow stove to simmer very slow for about ten minutes, then add as much coulis as is requisite for the quantity of sauce wanted, let it boil a few minutes, then rub it through a tammy; return it into the stew-pan and make it hot, then squeeze a little lemon juice in, add a little cayenne pepper and a little salt if wanted.
It is interesting to compare this recipe for ‘Ravigott Sauce’ with one from the mid-twentieth century given in the Larousse, which we saw in a story last year. Just to remind you “ .. sauce Ravigote gets its name from the French verb ravigoter, meaning to cheer or revive. This ability supposedly comes from the four herbs it traditionally contained - tarragon, chervil, chives, and burnet - which together had the reputation for being restorative.”
Monday’s Story …
Rough and Icy.
Quotation for the Day …
Take advantage of the gracious condescension of the elegant calf's kidney, multiply its metamorphoses: you can without giving it any offence, call it the chameleon of cuisine. Des Essarts French actor (1740-1793)