Behind the French Menu gives a tasty background to French cuisine, French dishes, how they are made and how they should be served.
Where there is a story behind a dish's creation and
that story may aid the diner's enjoyment then that will also be included. Bon appétit!
Lotte or Baudroie - Monkfish. Monkfish on French Menus.
Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
Monkfish are one of the tastiest sea fish.
In France monkfish are so popular that the variety of dishes created especially for this fish are endless.
Photograph courtesy of Stu_Spivack.
Lotte, Lotte de Mer, Gigot de Mer, Diable de Mer, Baudroie, Baudroie Commune- The Angler Fish, Monkfish or Goosefish; monkfish is the name most often seen on English language menus.Monkfish is one of the tastiest of all sea fish with succulent, very firm, very white meat; on French restaurant menus I would place monkfish as number two out of the top ten in sea fish popularity.
Apart from this fish’s meat, all of which come from its tail, its cheeks and liver have always been considered a Provencal and Japanese delicacy; now the monkfish’s cheeks are also growing in popularity in the rest of France and they will be on the menu as joues de lotte or joues de baudroie.
Photograph by courtesy of anjuli_ayer,
N.b. On some restaurant menus there may be another fish called lotte or lote de rivière; this is a freshwater fish.In English this fish is the burbot and while it cannot compete with the monkfish it is a meaty fish; by the lakes and rivers where they are caught in France they will be on the menu. The burbot may look somewhat like a catfish, but it is a freshwater member of the cod family. If the menu is not clear ask.
Blanquette de Joues de Lotte, Soufflé de Légumes de Saison et Riz. - A stew made with the cheeks of the monkfish served with a soufflé made with the season’s vegetables and rice.
A blanquette is a stew originally created for white meats, that is: rabbit, lamb, pork and veal; today a blanquette will often be seen with fish.Blanquetterecipes usually include mushrooms and white wine ina cream or crème fraiche sauce. Now that the cheeks of the monkfish have begun to be enjoyed outside of Provence they may be on your menu; theytaste somewhat similar to scallops with a different texture. The renewed popularity of monkfish cheeks in the north of France where they were originally ignored has sent the prices up. Additionally the popularity of monkfish cheeks has brought the cheeks of many other fish into contention. Other menus show that French chefs are experimenting with cod cheeks, tuna cheeks and more.
Bourride de Baudroie - Provence’s most popular and famous monkfish stew, often flavored with saffron; monkfish are the only fish in the bourride de baudroie. The Bourride de Baudroie is traditionally a large stewa so you may pass on any hors d’oeuvres or entrees unless you are really very hungry. The only fish in this stew are the monkfish; the rest of the stew is vegetables and, of course, plenty of garlic flavor and aioly or garlic mayonnaise. Depending on the chef this stew will be accompanied by potatoes and usually additional aïoli, garlic mayonnaise or a rouillesauce with garlic toast will be on the side. For more about fresh mayonnaise in France see my post:Mayonnaise Fraise - Fresh Mayonnaise.
Monkfish in safaron.
Photograph by courtesy of horax zeigt hier
Lotte de Quiberon Rôtie, Risotto Carnaroli aux Cèpes FrançaisRoastedmonkfish from the area of Quiberonin Bretagne, Brittany,accompanied by a risotto made with the Italian carnaroli rice and French porcini mushrooms.
When I saw this menu item I wished that I had been able to order it right there and then; all the parts of the dish offered are special, and when offered with a carnaroli rice risotto they become unique. The fish and seafood from Bretagne are considered among the very best in France and so their origin will be noted on many menus; however, here the chef is indicating a specific place and so for the cognoscenti Quiberonmust be a very special source for monkfish. Monkfish are also one of the few fish that really can be roasted and that alone would make this dish special. Quiberonis a peninsula on the southern coast of the départementof Morbihan and apart from its fishing industry and oyster and mussel farms Quiberonis a very popular summer holiday vacation spot for the French.In July and August do not even think about looking for a free hotel room; the hotels are often booked up to one year in advance.The carnaroli rice used for the risotto is the rice that 99% of all Italian and French chefs will agree is unbeatable where risotto is concerned. The Arborio and Baldorices may be better known, but carnarolirice which comes from the same part of Italy as the Arborio and Baldo is accepted as even better.Here the risotto is made with those very tasty French porcini mushrooms; what could be better.French porcini mushrooms are equally tasty family members of the better known Italian porcini mushrooms. For more about the French porcini mushrooms see my post:The Cèpe, The Porcini Mushroom Grows Wild in France.
Lotte Rôtie, Bouillon de Homard aux Herbes Fraîches, Rattes Safranées et Brunoise de Légumes. A roasted cut of monkfish served in a lobster bouillon accompanied by saffron flavoredratte potatoes and vegetables cut in the brunoise manner.
Rattepotatoes are one of France’s favorite potatoes and their name actually does mean a rat a or a mouse; however, that is nothing to do with their taste. Their name indicates that some can be considered a modern art version of a rat or a mouse when they are as yet uncut and uncooked. Brunoise is one ofthe ten or more special French cuts used for the shapes and sizes of vegetables and some fruits; a vegetable cut brunoise denotes a cut about 2mm thick.
Only rarely will you see a whole monkfish in a fish market as there is no meat on the body and its head is quite ugly; apart from its tail, cheeks and liver there is nothing to sell to most customers; the fishmonger will sell the head and body for those who are making fish stock.
The meaty tails mostly weigh over one kilo, 2.2 lbs, and will be sold skinned; the cheeks and liver will both be sold separately and that is often to restaurants.Monkfish livers may, however, may not be on too many menus as their price has risen very year, over the last few years;the demand from Japan has created a very active export market. (German -seeteufelor angelfisch), (Italian - coda di rospo, rana perscatrice or diavolo di mare),(Spanish – lophiusorrape,)
Bryan G, Newman
Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 1013.
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