In French, a brochette is a skewer, and foods cooked on a skewer are said to be en brochette. The word has been adopted into the English language, and English speakers usually interpret “brochette” to refer to food which has been cooked on a skewer, typically in a French style. In some parts of the American south, especially Louisiana, many types of brochettes are available, an enduring testimony to the French cultural influence in these areas. Brochette is available in some French restaurants as well, and it can also be made at home.
Many cuisines around the world have some version of the brochette. In Greece, it is known as souvlaki, while Thais call it satay and many Middle Easterners know it as kabob. As a general rule, people use specific ethnic terms to refer to foods from that nation, and “brochette” is usually used to discuss French food. However, a great deal of fusion between cuisines has occurred, leading to French style brochette served with Thai peanut sauce, for example.
The core of any brochette is, of course, the skewer. Foods are pierced with the skewer for cooking, whether they are grilled, baked, sauteed, roasted, or broiled. Diners can eat food directly off the skewer, sometimes using the skewer as a handle to dip the food in sauce, or they can tease the food off with an eating utensil for more tidy consumption. Typically, foods are coated in a marinade or rub before they are cooked.
Meats such as lamb, chicken, game, and seafood are common offerings in brochettes. Vegetables and fruits can also be used, and many cooks mix the two for flavor variation. Brochette may be served on its own, sometimes with a dipping sauce, or it may be part of a larger plate, as is the case with brochette served over rice or pasta. It is a common inclusion at buffet spreads, since brochettes can be easily picked up and handled by guests.
Making a brochette at home is quite easy. You'll need skewers and whatever ingredients you would like to cook on them, along with a marinade. For a very basic marinade, try mixing olive oil, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, finely chopped onions, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cut the food into evenly sized chunks, and marinate it for at least half an hour before putting it on the skewers. Cook the skewers using your method of choice, and serve warm with slices of lemon.