À La Zingara refers to any dish that is served with a classic French garnish or sauce made from finely chopped ham, tongue, mushrooms and truffles and flavored with a tomato-based demi-glaze, Madeira and tarragon essence. In the French language, zingara means gypsy woman and À La Zingara means according to the style of the gypsies. The actual sauce that is used in dishes is referred to as sauce zingara and it may be served with meat, fish or eggs. This sauce is also referred to as zigeunersaus, gypsy sauce or Zigeuner Sauce in German and Dutch cooking and it has a few slightly different ingredients. Not much is known about the exact origin of the sauce but there are several popular readymade versions in German, Dutch and French cooking. Researchers state that the prefix “Zigeuner” is a German term which means paprika and it may be used for any dish that uses paprika along with tomato sauce. As gypsies were a nomadic people, it is possible that the dish could have migrated along the European continent resulting in different variations in different countries.
Ingredients and Preparation
There are many different methods that are used to prepare the sauce. One version of preparing À La Zingara sauce is by simmering wild dry or fresh mushrooms in white wine. Demi-glace is poured into the wine and the sauce is reduced by half. Tomato sauce, finely chopped ham, julienned truffles and mushrooms are added to the sauce and simmered to make the sauce thick. The sauce is strained and served as a garnish on meat, fish or poached eggs.
- Oeufs à la zingara refers to special poached eggs that are served on oval deep-fried bread croutons. The croutons are then covered with thin slices of ham, Zingara sauce which is a tomato-flavored demi-glace along with finely sliced ham, mushrooms and truffles.
- Roast veal in zingara sauce is a very popular dish served in French restaurants. Veal is roasted and served À La Zingara made with the pan juices, sliced ham, tongue, tomato sauce, demi glaze, mushrooms and wine.
- Chicken Schnitzel is a very popular German dish that can be served À La Zingara. Breaded chicken steaks are deep fried or baked and then served with a sauce made from butter, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, paprika, tomato paste, chicken stock, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper. This dish is also referred to as Zigeunerschnitzel or Gypsy Schnitzel.
A single serving of À La Zingara contains 156 calories. The total fat content is 5%, the total cholesterol content is 9%, the total sodium content is 34%, the total carbohydrate content 3% and the total protein content is 14%.
There are several modifications of the À La Zingara sauce that are prepared commercially in Denmark and Germany. For example, Knorr makes a really popular Zigeuner sauce which is sold only in Europe while Kuhne makes a German version which is sold in a few select areas.