À la Genevoise is a French cooking term that indicates fish served with a sauce made from a fish fumet, with mirepoix and red wine, finished with butter.
Variants on the sauce may be made with the broth that the fish was poached in, thickened with a roux or beurre manié.
The term used to be “à la genoise” in the time of Carême. Over time, it evolved to “à la genevoise”, perhaps to avoid confusion with a “pâte à génoise”, or to avoid confusing Geneva with Genoa.
Now, though, some sources are using “sauce genoise” again to describe a sauce that has been made as above, but with white wine instead of red.
The term “à la genevoise” is also applied to dishes which seem to have in common only that they call for a Geneva wine, such as:
- The tripe dish, Tripes à la genevoise, which is tripe that is oven-braised in Chasselas de Genève white wine, with grated cheese on top;
- Fricassée de Porc à la Genevoise, which is cubed pork cooked in Gamay de Geneve, a red wine.
Literature and Lore
The early nineteenth-century chef Louis Eustache Ude gave directions for his version of fish with a Genevoise sauce. Note that he wanted the wine used to be white.
“No. 6.—Salmon with Genévoise Sauce. Take a few shalots [sic], some roots of parsley, a bunch ditto seasoned with spices, thyme, bay-leaves, and a few carrots. Let the whole be lightly fried in a little butter. Then moisten with white wine (Madeira in preference). Let it boil for three-quarters of an hour. When the marinade is done, drain it through a tammy over the fish, which stew in that seasoning. As soon as the fish is sufficiently stewed, drain it, pick off all the scales, and return it into the vessel where it has already boiled, with some of the liquor to keep it hot, and mind to cover it to prevent it from drying. Now reduce some of the marinade with a good Espagnole, skim off all the fat, throw in a good piece of butter, well kneaded with flour, a little essence of anchovies, the juice of a lemon, some Cayenne pepper, and a little salt. When you have drained the fish, cover it with the sauce, and send some likewise separately in a sauce-boat.” — Ude, Louis Eustache. The French Cook, sixth edition. London: John Ebers. 1819. Page 82.
“À la Genevoise” is French for “in the style of Geneva, Switzerland”.