Vinegar Court Bouillon

Court Bouillon au Vinaigre

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About


  • 3 pints boiling water
  • Salt
  • 1 medium onion (3 to 4 ounces), finely sliced
  • 2 small carrots (3 to 4 ounces), finely sliced
  • Bay leaf, branches of thyme (or 1 teaspoon crumbled), bouquet parsley (plus root if possible)
  • ¼ cup good wine vinegar
  • 10 to 12 whole peppercorns


    Add all the ingredients, except the vinegar and the peppercorns, to the boiling water and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and the peppercorns and continue cooking at a simmer for another 15 minutes or so . . .

    Served directly from the court bouillon, drained a moment on a towel, sliced onto a heated serving platter with bubbling brown butter poured over is the simplest and the purest way to appreciate brains. Chopped parsley may be added; capers are often added; the butter is often black instead of brown (I don’t understand the taste for burned butter—it is, furthermore, indigestible).

    Sliced thickly (or simply split, allowing a lobe per person—lambs’ brains left whole), lightly floured, and cooked in butter; dipped in batter and deep fried in olive oil, alone or in combination with vegetables; “scrambled” (stirred gently with a wooden spoon so as to damage them as little as possible) with eggs kept creamy, butter-crisp croutons scattered at the moment of serving: These and various gratins (béchamel, mornay, duxelles . . .) are all perfect methods of preparing them. See also pumpkin satchels for a gratin of brains and creamed squash or pumpkin. The flavor is attenuated and the voluptuous texture destroyed in all recipes that call for pureeing brains.