À l’Anglaise is a French expression meaning something cooked “in the English manner.”
It can refer to wildly different cooking methods with no real common element, except that in the French mind it’s how the English would cook that particular food item. It is usually food prepared simply and presented unadorned with no sauce more complex than melted butter.
It can mean:
- something poached;
- something boiled and served with no sauce, save perhaps butter;
- fish that is coated with just oil or butter then grilled and served simply with butter.
- dipped in flour then in a mixture of egg, salt, pepper and oil (in the ratio of 1/2 teaspoon of oil per egg), then rolled in breadcrumbs. The liquid mixture is called “anglaise.”
Up until Elizabethan times, English food preparation involved a great variety of complex and sometimes even exotic sauces. The French perception of “no sauces” is a reflection of more recent times (i.e. Victorian times onwards.)