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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Rissole as a culinary term, has a simpler meaning in English than in French. An English rissole is normally composed of chopped meat, bound with something such as egg, flavoured to taste, shaped into a disc or ball or like a sausage, and fried in a pan. Around this basic formula there exists a penumbra of variations which permit making fish rissoles and vegetarian rissoles (even a fruit rissole, in the 14th century); adding other main ingredients, especially potato; coating with breadcrumbs before frying; and, of course, serving with a sauce if desired. Some authors have supposed that the Latin word isicia, which certainly meant something of the sort, could confidently been translated as rissoles, and have remarked that apicius declared peacock rissoles to be the best (followed by pheasant, rabbit, and chicken) and listed the ingredients for three different thick sauces which could be used.