Reader question: For a long time I was practically a vegetarian but then discovered the French butcher’s cut bavette and was converted to beef! French butchers sell bavette d’aloyau, the best variety. What is the English equivalent?
A bavette is a long, flat piece of meat that is taken from the abdominal muscles of the cow.
It is known for being rich in flavour and loose in texture, and is most often served rare as otherwise it risks becoming tough.
Bavette literally means ‘bib’ and aloyau is a larger part of the animal, to the side and back, from which this cut is taken.
It is related to alouette (lark), either because the prepared meat was thought in the Middle Ages to have some resemblance to larks prepared for cooking, or because both could be cooked on a spit.
Eleanor O’Brien, managing director of the UK trade association National Craft Butchers, said:
“The majority of UK butchers would be very likely to know the term bavette and be able to cut to a customer’s specification.
However, the closest English terminology would flank skirt steak.”
Ms O’Brien said there could be regional differences, meaning the two cuts of meat are not always guaranteed to be identical but that is the nearest equivalent.