À la Colbert is a French cooking term for which we have found at least three possible meanings.
- A method of trimming and presenting a fish, often an inexpensive one, such as codfish, whiting (a member of the codfish family) or sole. You make a slit in the back of the fish from head to tail, then cut the backbone in three places. Then you dip it in egg, roll in breadcrumbs, and deep-fry it. After cooking, you then bone the fish, and stuff it with herbed butter (butter, tarragon, chervil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.) You dilute some of the herbed butter with melted butter, pour it on the fish, and pop in the oven for a few minutes to reheat through.
- Pierre Blot (c.1818 to 1874), in his “Hand-Book of Practical Cookery”, defined “À la Colbert” as poached eggs on the side. He used the poached eggs to accompany seafood such as lobster, crab and crayfish.
- In the same book, Blot also gave directions for a Colbert sauce. It was a meat gravy, in which mushrooms and truflles are simmered for five minutes, then butter added, and stirred in until melted and mixed in.