Fun With Words: 'Brochette'
Have you ever eaten a brochette? You probably have, even though you may never have heard the word. You may have called it a skewer, or possibly a kebab. But let me tell you about the word we used in Quebec, because it has an interesting story behind it.
We were taking with an acquaintance last summer at the market, and he said something light-hearted about shish kebabs. I believe he was wondering aloud if the “shish” referred to the vegetables, as he had recently seen a “kebab” that consisted only of meat.
He wasn't expecting an answer, but he got one! The thing is, the Wolf and I each spent several decades living in Montreal and being able to enjoy a wide range of different world cuisines. The Wolf learned a lot about Middle Eastern foods, when as a young man he worked in a restaurant owned by a Lebanese family. So he was able to educate the gentleman about the differences between different sorts of skewered meat dishes, shawarma, gyros, and a whole bunch more!
We like our food, and we like our words. In several languages! The Wolf can even manage to carry on simple conversations in Arabic. But like me, he's most likely to call a skewered meat dish a “ brochette .”
To cook something “ en brochette ” means to put it on relatively small skewers (not on a spit, as you might if you were roasting a whole chicken , which is the bigger guy – the “ broche ” with no diminutive.) The actual brochette is the skewer itself, and it's also the name used in French to describe the skewered food. Brochettes are a common fast food in the Montreal area, where you can readily find them in pizzerias and in delicatessen-style restaurants.
A brochette can be made from cubes of beef or lamb, though you'll probably find many more made with chicken or pork. Sometimes they are also made with seafood, such as shrimp . The brochette can be made with just meat, or it can include vegetables as well.
The most popular type of brochette in Quebec has got to be souvlaki, a Greek kebab that is frequently served in a wrap of pita bread. The meat is removed from the skewer after cooking, and wrapped in the pita along with fresh vegetables and a garlic sauce made from yogurt, tzatziki . This is a popular food among students and commuters, alike, and is usually very affordable.
Image credit: Brochette by Jon Sullivan/Wikipedia (public domain)
Image Credit » http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Barbecue.jpg