Some time ago I wrote a post entitled ‘Curried What?’ which included a recipe for Curried Bananas with Rice. I wish I had kept the title for today’s story, because I am going to give you recipes for a couple of very recherché curried dishes.
The term recherché comes from the French, meaning ‘affected, unnatural, desirable, prized, or unusual, well-crafted.’ I can’t remember the last time I actually heard the word in relation to food – in fact, I don’t think I ever have, although it is common enough in Victorian cookery and food books. The last food-context cited in the OED is from 1922, although it gives a few other, later, uses.
Today’s source is a cornucopia of Victorian-era recherché dishes, as the title indicates: Recherché side dishes for breakfast, luncheon, dinner and supper: comprising Hors d’Oeuvres, Savouries, Salads, and Oriental Dishes (1901), by Charles Herman Senn
Senn was an incredibly prolific author, and extracts from a number of his books have appeared in this blog. According to the title page of today’s featured book, he was ‘Inspector & Consulting Chef, National Training School of Cookery, London, so we can safely assume he was an authority on what was considered recherché at the time.
Curried Artichoke Bottoms.
Fonds d’Artichauts a l’Indienne.
Cut an Indian mango into shreds, peel and chop finely two small onions; put both into a stewpan
with an ounce of butter. Place eight or more artichoke bottoms, neatly trimmed, on top of the
ingredients, moisten with rich curry sauce, and cook gently over the fire for half an hour. Have
ready some boiled rice, shape a border on a dish; dish up the artichokes in a pyramid in the centre.
Sprinkle with salt and curry powder. Reheat the sauce, and pour over artichokes.
Curried Potatoes and Apples
Slice six cold potatoes. Peel and slice half the quantity of sour apples. Egg the slices of potatoes, crumb them in a mixture of breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, and curry powder, and fry in hot fat. Dust the apples likewise. Dish them up alternately in the form of a border, season with Krona peppeer, pile up some fried parsely in the centre, and serve.
Quotation for the Day.
The food in such places is so tasteless because the members associate spices and garlic with just the sort of people they're trying to keep out.