Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Copeaux on a French Menu? Copeaux means shavings or slivers.


Behind the French Menu.
Bryan G. Newman
Lightly boiled green asparagus spears served with shavings of Parmesan Cheese.
Photograph by MonkeyBusiness through Yaymicro.com
    On French menus the word copeaux may indicate more than thin shavings. The word  may indicate thin cuts or slices from cured ham, foie gras, vegetables, truffles,as well as the obvious hard cheeses.  For desserts shavings added to a chocolate cake may be noted.  Shavings with a contrasting taste may also add a great deal to the enjoyment of many dishes.

Baked eggs with shaving of the black Perigord Truffle.
Photograph courtesy of  Premshree Pillai

White truffle shavings on a small entrecote steak.
Photograph courtesy of  Hamburger Helper.
    Most shavings do not add to the cost of a dish, however, that is not always the case;  truffles would be a good example of expensive shavings.  Truffles are extremely flavorsome, and the best will be very expensive.  Unfortunately  often too little truffle will be used while the cost of the dish offered may be still be relatively high. More to the point all truffles are not equal and not all truffles influence flavor in small quantities.  Less flavorsome truffles may be unique and special, but then they should be part of dishes where these truffles are the center-piece and not just a shaving. Ask questions when truffle shavings, truffle oil or truffle essence are on the menu.

A cup of chocolate with whipped cream and shavings of chocolate on top.
      Photograph by elanthewise through Yaymicro.com   
    Salade d'Asperges, Œuf Poché, Copeaux de ParmesanAsparagus salad served with a poached egg and slivers of Parmesan cheese.
    Salade Mêlée aux Copeaux de TruffesA mixed salad with shavings of truffle. When the menu does not note the name of the truffle it will not be a very expensive one.  Ask.
   Carpaccio de Boeuf de Fin Gras du Mézenc, Copeaux de Foie Gras Beef Carpaccio from then Fin Gras du Mézenc, AOC cattle, served with shavings of foie gras, the fattened liver of ducks.
Bryan G.  Newman
Behind the French Menu.
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