Friday, March 11, 2016

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge 5: Roasts

A day late but it's done! Since it's Lent, I did a Salmon Roast based on several 15th Century English recipes.

samon Rostyd In Sause
This is an excerpt from Gentyll manly Cokere (MS Pepys 1047)
(England, ca. 1500)

The original source can be found at James L. Matterer's website
Samon rostyd in sause. Cutte thy samon in Rownde pecys and roste hit on a roste Yre take wyne and powder of cannell and draw hem throwgh a streynner. Do ther to onyons mynsed small boyle hit well take vynegyr or verius and pouder of gynger and salt do ther to lay the samon In dyshys and pore the syrrppe ther on and serue forth.

samon Roste In Sauce
This is an excerpt from Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books
(England, 1430)

The original source can be found at the University of Michigan's "Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse"

Samon roste in Sauce. Take a Salmond, and cut him rounde, chyne and all, and roste the peces on a gredire; And take wyne, and pouder of Canell, and drawe it thorgh a streynour; And take smale myced oynons, and caste there-to, and lete hem boyle; And then take vynegre, or vergeous, and pouder ginger, and cast there-to; And then ley the samon in a dissh, and cast the sirip theron al hote, and serue it forth.

To Mail samon Rost In Sauce
This is an excerpt from A Noble Boke off Cookry
(England, 1468)

The original source can be found at

To mak samon rost in sauce tak a samon and cutt hym in round peces and rost hym on a gredirne and tak wyn and pouder of canelle and draw them throughe a stren and mynce onyans smalle and do ther to and boile them then tak vergius pouder of peper and guinger and salt and do ther to then lay the samon in a disshe and pour on the ceripe and serue it.

My translation of all three (since they really don't differ much):

To make a salmon roast in sauce, take a salmon and cut it in round pieces. Roast the pieces on a grill (or a roaster in the 1500 one). Take wine and cinnamon powder, passing them both through a strainer. Mince onions and boil them in the wine and cinnamon. Take vinegar or verjuice, ginger powder, and salt as well. Lay the salmon in a dish and pore the syrup over it. Serve forth!

The only difference really is that the recipe from 1468 calls for pepper as well. After tasting it, I think it's perfectly fine without the pepper - which would have been long pepper most likely at this point and not black pepper.

My Recipe:

1 cup white cooking wine
1~tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1 small onion, minced - I ended up with about 1/4 cup of onion
1 tablespoon of Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar (I buy it at Under the Olive Tree for any other DC locals. There is a similar store in OBX as well at mile marker 6)
1 teaspoon powder Ginger
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 flank of salmon

I got my salmon frozen at IKEA. Yes, they have salmon in their grocery store. It was on sale for $8 for four flanks in a package so I cooked one of the pieces for this recipe.

I didn't cut it up into round pieces for a couple of reasons: I couldn't think of a logical reason to do so; I'm not sure if they really meant round or if them just meant to clean it. Since it was already clean and cutting it into round pieces seemed more a chef Ramsey thing than actually necessary, I just left it. I preheated the oven to 390F since that's what I've cooked other salmon dishes at. I put the salmon piece into one of those tin foil bread things you get for $1 at the grocery store. Once the oven was preheated, I threw in the salmon and got to work on the sauce.

I minced the onions and ground up the cinnamon. I did start to use the mortar and pestle but it was too messy (chunks of cinnamon bark kept falling to the floor because I was smashing it) so I did use the modern blender - which got the job done in a few seconds. I put the cinnamon in the strainer and poured the cup of cooking wine over it. I then threw the onions in and let them boil.

Once the onions started to boil, I put in the Vinegar, ginger, and salt. At the ten minute mark for the oven, I took the salmon only partially out and poured the still quite liquid wine/vinegar/onion mix over the salmon. I let it cook for another ten minutes.

Final verdict: It was quite tasty! I served it on a bed of wild and brown rice (that I heated up in the microwave) which they probably would have done in the 15th Century.  The bed of rice, not the heating up in the microwave.  I'm not a fan of onions - I love cooking with them to get the taste but I tend to avoid actually eating them. However, I did eat a few of these with the salmon and rice and it works. It's sort of a sweet and sour dish. The final calorie count for this one ended up being just over 500 calories - which is excellent if you are on a diet like me. I think I might have it again next week because it's not a hard recipe at all and it's actually pretty modern in taste really. It really took maybe a total of 25 minutes for the prep and the cooking.

As far as cost:

Cinnamon Sticks25 ¢
Ginger??On hand
Cooking Wine$1.50 for the amount used
Vinegar$2.00 for the amount used
SaltOn hand

For one dish, it was probably about $6 once you figure out the cost of the salt, ginger, and the rice.


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