Why are most entrees limited to one type of meat?
- ipsedixit Oct 22, 2006 02:37 AM
With the exception of surf 'n turf offerings (lobster/steak), most entrees generally feature only one type of meat.
Why not have a dish of tilapia and dover sole, and just reduce the portion of each type of fish?
Or how about pork and lamb? Maybe scallops and prawns?
There are plenty of entrees that feature multiple meats, but they are generally known by names that don't describe the meats they contain so they may seem less obvious (paella, jambalaya, cassoulet, mixed grill, club sandwich, etc.).
Also, most of the above are casserole or single-pot dishes. Seafood dishes often will contain a medley of different proteins, since they all cook quickly and in the same sautee pan. (Except when I cooked at Oceana. The poor kid on the line next to me had to sear off each kind of fish for the bouillabaisse separately. In a different pan. TO ORDER.) The only other fish dish I can recall that combined different species was this precious french dish wherein I had to actually braid together long strands of salmon, sole and bass before steaming the braid in court-bouillon. I always thought that was kind of a dumb dish. As for mixed grills, I've served my fair share and let me tell you it is NO FUN to have to mark off and moniter temps on four pieces of meat for every single cover that comes your way. The degree of difficulty, the lack of storage for all those proteins ( without cross-contaminating them )under the line, and the simple fact that they're clunky, presentation-wise ( no matter what you do, you basically got a heap o' brown on your plate) may all factor into their scarcity on most chefs' menus.
There are many things that go into planning a menu. First is to balance the menu with number of poultry, seafood and meat entrees. That takes care of certain diners that do not want lamb or can't eat pork or allgeric to shrimp but not scallop. If there is lamb and pork in one entree, it won't satisfy either a pork hater or a lamb hater. Also certain marinade or preparation or sauce is better suited for one type of meat. There is also the sides to consider...mashed potato may go well with a beef dish but not a lamb, eggplants might go better with lamb and not beef.
One of my best meals of 2005 featured roasted monkfish with shredded braised beef ribs. It was amazing. I had some qualms when ordering it, as I couldn't picture fish with beef, but I was so pleased once I did.
This meal was at Vincent in Minneapolis (a top French restaurant), but they change the menu frequently, so this dish is long gone - alas. I could eat it every day.
It's quite traditional to cook chicken with ham or even certain types of fish with ham in Cantonese dishes. And of course the luxurious Buddha Jump Over the Wall has several types of meats and seafood all in the same dish.