Saturday, December 10, 2016

Médaillon – A Medallion. A Round or Oval Cut of Beef, Fish and More. Médaillons in French Cuisine.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman

Médaillons de Cerf
Medallions of venison served with a sauce poivrade, mashed potatoes, and sweet potato puree. (A sauce poivrade is based on beef or veal stock and red wine and traditionally served with meat and game).

Médaillon in French cuisine may be a round or oval cut of meat or poultry, beef, lamb, pork,,veal, fish or vegetables.  A médaillon may be small but thick, or the menu may offer médaillons, in the plural; in that manner indicating that the medallions are individually thinner or smaller.   For chicken and other poultry, a médaillon will be a cut from the breast. For fish, the médaillon may be a filet or a cut across a thick portion, like a monkfish tail or in other cases a  fish filet may be sliced and then formed into a round or oval shape. For vegetables, a médaillon will describe vegetables cut into a circle or oval shape. 

Médaillons on French Menus:
Le Médaillon de Bœuf Bardé au Jambon Séché, Petite Sauce au Poivre Vert de Madagascar et Vin Blanc –  A roasted or grilled medallion of beef barded (wrapped) in cured ham and served with a light sauce made with the green peppers of Madagascar and white wine. This cut may be a cut from the tenderloin or a cut from a rump steak.  Ask.
 (A Petit Sauce usually indicates a sauce developed from one of France’s mother sauces; such a sauce may also be called a child of the mother sauce. However, the Petit  Sauce in this menu listing seems to be indicating a light green pepper sauce without indicating its maternal origins so ask).

Medallions of red cabbage
Les Médaillons de Filet de Veau et Leurs Brochettes de Ris de Veau Poêlés, Jus Court au Gingembre et Radeau de Macaroni au Reblochon  - Veal medallions cuts from the fillet, the tenderloin, served with lightly fried brochettes (skewers) of veal sweetbreads.  The dish is accompanied by a light court bouillon sauce flavored with ginger and served with reblochon cheese on a base of macaroni.

Sweetbread Medallion

Médaillon de Lotte Cuit dans sa Bisque de Crustacés,  Légumes Automnales, Etuvée de Blancs de Poireaux au Lard A round cut from a monkfish tail cooked in a bisque of crustaceans and served with Autumn vegetables and the white part of leeks steamed with bacon. (The crustaceans in the bisque will be mainly shrimps).
Médaillon de Lotte Rôtie aux Zestes de Yuzu Confits, Brisures de Blé Noir et ses Légumes de Saison - A cut across the tail of a monkfish flavored with the zest taken from the slowly cooked Yuzu fruit; accompanied by cracked buckwheat and the season’s vegetables.
 The Yuzu is a member of the citrus family and originated, like all other citrus fruits,  in China.  The Yuzu has a taste somewhere between that of a grapefruit and an orange. In the Japanese kitchen, its rind is popular as it adds lots of flavor and the Yuzu's popularity among French chefs is growing.  In this menu listing the flavor is taken from a Yuzu confit. The word confit indicates that the fruit was slowly cooked with wine, wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar. Brown sugar may have been added, and when ready the flavor will have been taken from the confit which will have the consistency of jam.

Médaillons de Chevreuil, Sauce à la Réduction de Vin Rouge aux Bourgeons de Sapin et Airelles - Medallions of roe deer served with a sauce made from the natural cooking juices flavored with red wine, pine buds, and European cranberries.  In France roe deer are farmed; but despite that, during the limited hunting season wild roe deer may be on the menu as Chevreuil Sauvage.
Médaillons de Canard au Orange – Medallions of duck breast prepared with an orange sauce.

Nutmeg flavored goat cheese medallions
on a salad with mustard and honey dressing

Médaillons de Foie Gras de Canard aux Cèpes Maison, Pain aux Noix  - Round cuts from fattened duck liver served with wild French porcini mushrooms prepared in the restaurant’s unique manner and accompanied by walnut bread made with whole wheat flour
Médaillons de Porc avec Sauce aux Pommes Caramélisées - Medallions of pork served with a sauce and caramelized apples. Here the medallions will be cut from the pork fillet, the pork tenderloin.

Médaillons de Porc
Pork medallions with spätzle, chanterelle mushrooms, and cream.
Spätzle are small dumplings from the Alsace region in France and also Germany; these dumplings look something like overweight bumpy noodles and will be served as a garnish instead of potatoes or rice.

Steak de Cerf avec Sauce à l'Échalote Accompagné de Salade et de Médaillons de Pommes de Terre A venison steak served with a shallot sauce accompanied by a salad and round cuts of potato.

Venison medallions served in juniper flavored cream
with Romanesco broccoli and hazelnut accented spaetzli.
Visitors to France from North America may be confused with the French usage of the word medallions though the usage of the word in all cuisines came from the French. North American butchers have created medallion cuts; these are cuts from inside the T-bone and have no connection to the French médaillons.
Elsewhere in the USA, the term medallions may be used to refer to the small round cuts from the end of the beef tenderloin (the fillet).  The misuse in of the word Filet Mignon, in the USA, which is used for most cuts from the tenderloin, has created problems for North American visitors to France.  In France, where the word originated, the word Filet Mignon means a dainty filet; a whole tenderloin in the USA weighs between 2.25 to 2.75  kilos ( 5 - 6 lbs), and that is not dainty.  On French menus without any further information, a filet mignon will be a cut from a pork tenderloin, the pork fillet. For a beef filet mignon, the cut will be from the narrow end of the tenderloin with the thicker part being cut as fillets in France. 

A police medallion from Arlington County, Virginia, USA, 
This is the shape that gave its name to the original French médaillons.

Medallions in the languages of France’s neighbors:
(Catalan - medallóns), (Dutch - medaillons),(German – medaillons), (Italian - medaglioni), (Spanish -  medallones).

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Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2016.
For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman

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