Primera Mensa, Cena Secunda
First Course, Second Table
Ham with Figs in Pastry
After you have cooked the ham in water, with many dried figs and 3 bay leaves, remove the skin, make reticulated incisions, and fill them with honey. Then work together flour and oil and replace the skin. When the pastry is cooked, remove from the oven as it is, and serve.
[ ----- Apicius, Book VII, Chapter IX, Recipe 1]
25 lb. Ham, cut into 10 serving chunks
Water, as needed
3 lb. dried Figs (i used black Mission figs)
30 Bay Leaves
1 cup Honey
1. Simmer ham with water, figs, and bay leaves, until figs are very soft.
2. Slice ham and stuff with figgy bits.
3. Coat with honey.
30 cups White Wheat Flour (3 cups per serving piece)
1/2 cup Salt (2-1/2 Tb. per serving piece)
Oil, as needed to moisten flour
Water, as needed to moisten flour
1. Make pastry, by mixing flour and salt and cutting in oil.
2. Divide into 10 balls, and roll each one out into large oval.
3. Stack with pieces of waxed paper between them.
At the Feast:
1. Wrap hams in pastry.
2. Bake at 350 degrees F. until crust is golden, about 1/2 hour.
3. Slice and put on serving dishes.
I boiled the hams with the figs and seasonings, but we did not cut the ham into table pieces, nor did we wrap them in pastry. Instead, at the feast site, we sliced it with an electric meat slicer, plated the slices, and topped them with the pureed figs.
Lucanicae : Smoked Sausages
Lucanicae made similarly to the above: crush pepper, cumin, savory, rue, parsley, mixed herbs, bay berries, fish sauce, and mix with well-beaten meat, pounding it well with the ground spice mixture. Mix with fish sauce, whole peppercorns, plenty of fat,and pine nuts, stuff into an intestine pulled very thin and hang in the smoke.
[ ----- Apicius, Book II, Chapter IV]
These are traditionally made with pork. However, since the Prince cannot eat pork of any kind, i wanted a non-pork meat for him to eat (and everyone else, of course).
15 lb. ground Lamb (3 oz per sausage)
1/4 cup and 1 heaping Tb. ground Cumin Seeds
1 Tb. ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup dried Savory
1/4 cup chopped Chinese Celery Leaves or Lovage Herb
1/2 heaping cup chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) Parsley
300 Juniper Berries
1-1/2 cups Tiparos (brand) Thai Fish Sauce
1 Tb. Liquid Smoke Flavoring
1-3/4 to 2 cups whole Pine Nuts
300 whole Black Peppercorns
1. Mix herbs and spices.
2. Add fish sauce and liquid smoke.
3. Divide the meat and seasonings into quarters to assure even distribution of seasonings.
4. Mix seasonings well with ground meat.
5. Mix pine nuts and whole peppercorns with meat.
6. Shape into 80 sausage-kebabs.
7. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until done, turning occasionally.
At the Feast:
1. Thaw sausages
2. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until well-heated through.
Because i couldn't find bay berries i substituted juniper berries.
These were snarfed down with no leftovers and people coming to the kitchen asking for more.
I wanted to stuff them into casings, but it was not easy to find a small quantity of non-pork casings (take a look at the ingredients for those chicken sausages in the supermarket - most are stuffed into pork casings). While a local halal market could get non-pork casings for me, i had to buy a whole package - $45 for enough casings for 50 lb of meat - and to use them, one has to soak the whole package and then untangle them and you can't save what you don't use. And a local butcher, who was going to stuff my recipe into casings for me, said that the synthetic casings are horrible. Maybe some other time i'll make that 50 lb. of sausages and freeze them.
Sinapim : Mustard Sauce
To prepare mustard: Carefully clean mustard seed, sieve it. Wash in cold water. Soak 2 hours. Squeeze by hand. Put in a mortar and grind. Put in a few glowing coals, pour water with natron over it, so bitterness is removed. Pour off all the liquid. For banquets add pine nuts and almonds, grind together thoroughly. Then add vinegar. Mix and strain.
[ ----- Columella, de Re Rustica, 12, 57, edited]
two 2.25 lb jars of Grey-Poupon Dijon Mustard
1 cup Pine Nuts
1 cups ground Almonds
1. Grind pine nuts.
2. Mix with mustard and set aside a clearly marked dish for the Princess.
3. Stir in ground almonds.
OK, OK, so i took the lazy way out. It's not that hard to mix powdered mustard with vinegar. I made Lombard Mustard to put in the Compost i made...
Patina de Persicis : Peaches in Cumin Sauce
Peach Patina: Peel some firm peaches, cut in chunks, and cook. Place in a patina pan and drizzle with oil. Serve with cumin sauce.
[ ----- Apicius, Book IV, Chapter II, Recipe 34]
Cuminatum: Another cumin sauce: pepper, lovage, parsley, dried mint, a large amount of cumin, honey, vinegar, fish sauce.
[ ----- Apicius, Book I, Chapter XV, Recipe 2]
1 Tb. roasted Cumin Seed
1/2 cup chopped Italian (flat-leaf) Parsley
1/2 cup Chinese Celery Leaves or Lovage Herb
1 Tb. crumbled dried Mint
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1/2 cup Red or White Wine Vinegar
3/4 cup Honey
2 Tb. Tiparos (brand) Thai Fish Sauce
1. Roast cumin seed in a dry pan until fragrant and just darkening.
2. Cool somewhat, then grind cumin.
3. Mix roasted cumin with pepper, lovage, parsley, and mint.
4. Put vinegar and honey in a sauce pan on medium heat.
5. Stir in seasonings.
6. Simmer briefly, stirring, until liquefied and well seasoned.
40 fresh ripe Peaches
1 cup Olive Oil
1. Plunge peaches into boiling water briefly.
2. Drain, then remove skins.
3. Halve, removing pits.
4. Cut in chunks - putting 4 peaches on a separate dish for vegetarians.
1. Put 4 peaches for the vegetarians in a small baking pan.
2. Put remaining peaches for everyone else in a large baking pan.
3. Toss all peaches with olive oil.
4. Separate a dish of sauce for the vegetarians. Season with a tsp. of soy sauce.
5. For remaining sauce, stir in fish sauce.
6. Pour cumin sauce onto peaches in baking dishes, keeping vegetarian dish separate.
7. Bake in 350 oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until just barely beginning to bubble.
8. Plate, keeping vegetarian peaches separate.
The peaches were ripe enough to peel without plunging in boiling water. We also didn't cook them. We just cut them up and mixed them with the sauce.
These were incredibly delicious, in part because of the high quality of the peaches which were perfectly ripe. I had bought the case of peaches about 4 days before the feast, and kept them in a cool dark place until the feast. Most of them were eaten and we in the kitchen kept slurping them up. They were my favorite dish of the feast.
Cabbage the Athenian Way
Cabbage should be sliced with the sharpest possible iron blade, then washed, drained, and chopped with plenty of coriander and rue. Then sprinkle with honey vinegar and add just a little bit of silphium.
[ ----- Mnesitheus (4th c. BCE),
quoted in Oribasius, Medical Collections, Book IV, Chapter 4, part 1 (4th c. CE);
another version in Cato (c. 234-149 BCE) and quoted by Pliny the Elder (24-79 CE)]
Oxymeli - Honey Vinegar
Simmer honey until it foams, discard, the scum, add enough vinegar to make it neither too sharp nor too sweet, boil again until it is mixed and not raw. For use, mix with water, just as you would mix wine with water.
[ ----- Galen, Staying Healthy, Book 4, Chapter 6]
1-1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Red or White Wine Vinegar
Mix honey and vinegar; simmer until well blended; cool.
10 lb Cabbage - we used 1 head green and 2 heads napa
3/4 cup chopped fresh Cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh Rue or Chinese Celery Leaves
2 cups Oxymel
1/4 cup Salt
1-1/4 tsp. Asafoetida Powder
1. Finely shred cabbage.
2. Mix herbs, oxymel, salt, and asafoetida.
3. Toss with cabbage.
4. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Silphium, also known as laser, is no more, alas. However, many historians are convinced it was closely related to asafoetida and it appears that, in fact, asafoetida was used as a replacement after siplhium became extinct.
Pulentium : Barley Polenta
Vicenis hordei libris ternas seminis lini et coriandri selibram salisque acetabulum.
20 librae of barley, 3 librae of linseeds and 1/2 libra of coriander, in addition to an acetabulum of salt.
[ ----- Pliny, Naturalis Historia, 18, 73]
2-1/2 lb. Barley Grits (from health food store)
3 gallons Vegetable Broth
1-1/2 cups Flax Seeds/Linseeds
1/2 cup whole Coriander Seeds
additional Salt as needed
additional Water as needed
1. Put all ingredients into automatic rice cookers - this will take several batches, not all at once.
2. Turn on rice cookers.
3. When the rice cookers indicates that it is done, check it. It might not be. If not, start up rice cooker again, or finish on the stove or in an oven.
No store seemed to be carrying the Arrowhead Mills barley grits i had purchased last year!!! So i bought whole barley with the hulls off, (rather than pearl barley, which i later learned the Romans had). Then we ran it through the food processor a few times. It never achieved the character of grits but most of it was broken up to a greater or lesser extent.
The cook in charge of making the polenta decided to do it on stove top, rather than in the rice cookers, as i had done before, which worked fine. Also the coriander seeds and flax seeds didn't make it into the pot with the barley, so we cooked them separately in broth, then mixed them into the barley. While the texture of the barley was much "chunkier" than at the previous feast because of how we had processed the barley itself, it tasted fine.
In reviewing the original recipe, it appears to me that the flax seeds and coriander seeds should also be ground... next time...