A dish consisting of two cuts of lamb, both cooked dry. These two pieces are a slice of breast and a cutlet (rib chop) or chop, dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and grilled (broiled) or fried. Philéas Gilbert explains the origins of the term épigramme as follows:
‘It was towards the middle of the 18th century. One day a young marquise overheard one of her guests at table remark that when he was dining the previous evening with the Comte de Vaudreuil, he was charmingly received and, furthermore, had had a feast of excellent epigrams. The marquise, though pretty and elegant, was somewhat ignorant of the meaning of words. She later summoned Michelet, her chef. “Michelet,” she said to him, “tomorrow, I shall require a dish of épigrammes!” ‘The chef withdrew, pondering the problem. He looked up old recipes, but found no reference to anything of the kind. None of his colleagues had ever heard of the dish. But no French master chef is ever at a loss. Since he could discover nothing about the dish, he set about inventing one. Next day, inspiration came and he created a most delicate dish. ‘At dinner, the guests fell into ecstasies over the dish put before them and, after complimenting the lady of the house, desired to know its name. The chef was called. With perfect composure he replied, “Épigrammes of lamb à la Michelet”. ‘ Everyone laughed. The marquise was triumphant, though she could not understand the amusement of her guests. From that moment, the culinary repertoire of France was enriched by a name still used to this day.
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