The French people, while known for their love of wine and cheese, also enjoy dishes that seem unusual to the American palate. These dishes make use of rarely consumed types and cuts of meat or foods prepared in unexpected ways.
Raw beef gets finely chopped and combined with mayonnaise, salt, pepper and Worcestershire. The chef shapes this into a ball and makes an indentation in the center into which he cracks a raw egg. Capers, chopped onions, small pickles (cornichons) and thinly-sliced bread accompany the dish, making a light lunch or dinner.
The French do not consider snails garden pests. Garden snails (Helix aspersa) are grown on snail farms throughout France. At maturity, the farmers purge the snails of their stomach contents, which can prove toxic to humans. At restaurants, the snails bake in a white wine and garlic butter sauce, topped with crunchy bread crumbs. Most consume snails as an appetizer, but you can eat them as an entree.
An unusual garnish in France is the red comb at the peak of a rooster's head, known as "crette de coq." Many French chefs use this to add color to poultry dishes. Though a garnish, you can eat the crette de coq, but expect to chew it for a while.
Sweetbreads, known in French as "ris de veau," come from the thymus glands of young animals such as veal or lamb. Braised and breaded sweetbreads appear in a variety of French preparations.
- Photo Credit France image by WSC from Fotolia.com tartare de boeuf Ã la truffe noire image by Eric IsselÃ©e from Fotolia.com escargot image by robert casacci from Fotolia.com coq image by Norbert Pellier from Fotolia.com