2. Any idea about the etymology of this?

  3. No, but I suspect it’s French in origin. The clue is in the 2006 citation, where a pronunciation is explained. If, in fact, the word is pronounced with a short E (making it something like “su-PREMM”) then it might be spelled “suprême.” However, none of my French dictionaries have anything food-related under “suprême” or “supreme.”

    Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, available here for free if you watch a short advertisement, has the following food-related definitions:

    1. suprême: a rich white sauce made of chicken stock and cream—called also sauce suprême.

    2. also supreme: a tall footed sherbet glass with a large bowl.

    3a.: a made dish (as an entree) dressed with a sauce suprême <a >suprême</i> of sole> b also supreme: a dessert served in a suprême.

    So a completely speculative and unreliable theory I have is that a citrus fruit, when cut in half and relieved of its slices, might leave a bowl of fruit skin that looks a bit like the suprême in sense 2, influenced perhaps by the citrusy nature of many sorbets.

  4. Bill Simon says:

    In French cooking, a suprême de volaille is a boneless and skinless breast of chicken; the term “suprême” is used to describe the same cut of duck (“suprême de canard”) or other birds. By extension—meaning something from which all skin, bones, & other impediments to eating have been removed, it has long been applied to a skinless fish fillet.  Now it has apparently been extended to a citrus section from which skin & membrane are removed. See Larousse Gastronomique, Julia Childs’ first cookbook (Mastering the Art of French Cooking) or the ever-reliable Marling Menu Master.

  5. A-ha! That’s very interesting, Bill. It seems like a very good theory.

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