Tag Archive for 'anchovies'

The Haunted Liver

The Haunted Liver

From this point on, for the most part I will be focusing more on individual recipes and less on giant epic meals, though I do have some planned for the holidays. I have been and am going to be doing a lot of pickling from now through September, including genuine Mango Chetney (Caution: Chetney contains no mangos. Do not taunt happy fun chetney.).

I. Pickled Eggs

Because my house needs to have more of the atmosphere of a ye olde pub, I decided to pickle eggs. The jar can sit on a shelf with some relics from the Crusades, and the shelf can sit next to a giant taxidermied black bear.

Measure twice; cut once

The pickling spice was black peppercorns, Jamaica pepper (a.k.a allspice), and fresh ginger in vinegar.

You simmer this for ten minutes. I chose white wine vinegar, as I have been for my projects lately, because I feel like it is pretty middle of the road as far as vinegars go–about as close to “neutral” as you are going to get. White vinegar always seems too harsh for anything except cleaning the floor and dying eggs, and anything else has too much character.

16 naked hardboiled eggs stand before me.

I put the eggs into a jar and then you put the pickling juice over them. Easy!

I shall call my pub The Haunted Liver

I will come see you again in a month, girls. Wikipedia says that “pickled eggs have been linked to unpleasant smelling intestinal gas.” I enjoy the fact that this is mentioned under the subheading, “Uses.” Beeton says,”A store of pickled eggs will be found very useful and ornamental in serving with many first and second course dishes.” Indeed, a few recipes suggest garnishing with hardboiled eggs. This should work as well.

II. A Simple Supper

Last night I quick-fried flounder fillets and they were completely scrumptious. I have been wanting to make more fish recipes, and I hit on the recipe for fried flounder as something that was both “in season” (I know seasonality is practically moot now, and indeed the fillets arrived frozen, but Beeton says they were in season from August to November), and something I have never tried. I have fried fish many, many times in panko and “ordinary” crumb, and in corn and wheat flours.

What made this slightly different is that the recipe called for garnishing with fried parsley. Were the Victorians even cooking PARSLEY inappropriately? You bet your hook-and-eye boots they were.

A casual look reveals something that looks like ordinary parsley, but it had a nice snap and green flavor. I love parsley, but I find it overpowering at times. Frying it really mellowed the flavor. A recipe is hardly needed–make oil hot, gently set parsley in, and remove with a slotted spoon. Beeton called for quickly drying them fireside so I popped them into a warmed oven on a paper towel-covered plate to let them drain and stay crisp.

Fried flounders with parsley

And it worked very well with the texture of the flounders.

I served it with a simple cucumber dish which is titled “To Dress Cucumbers.” I think it’s funny that so many dishes are listed as “To Cook X” or “To Make X.” When people ask what they are eating, it makes things somewhat unwieldy. “What’s this? It’s To Cook Carrots in the German Way.” If anything else, I suspect it just reveals the diversity of Beeton’s sources and her haste in the editing process. I have been staring at this book for so long I can sometimes guess if she stole a particular recipe from Eliza Acton or M. Ude.

The salad was VERY simple, featuring cucumbers, salad oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. A good pairing with the fried fish.

III. Anchovy Redux

Last time I posted I was pretty excited about anchovy butter. I did it again:

I think you can see little fish-bits, maybe? They are very finely minced. I spread the butter on toast.

And broiled them for a couple of minutes.

This is really an excellent alternative to garlic bread. I served these with a tomato-heavy salad with vinaigrette, but I could see these with meat or a bolognese. I rewrote the recipe, below. Obviously, it is easy to divide this recipe. I used one American stick of unsalted butter (4 oz.) and mixed in two anchovies.

Anchovy Butter [1637.]

Ingredients.

To every lb. of room-temperature unsalted butter allow 6 jarred anchovies

1 small bunch of parsley, finely minced

a pinch of salt if desired

Mode.—Finely chop anchovies and mix well all ingredients, and make the butter into pats immediately. This makes a pretty dish, if fancifully moulded, for breakfast or supper.

Sufficient to make 2 dishes, with 4 pats each.

Seasonable at any time; delicious on corn on the cob, spread on good bread and then broiled or toasted, chicken, or mild fish.

****

I am going out of town this weekend. When I return, I will write about my recent adventures with booze and cordials.

Umami Wears Army Boots

Umami Wears Army Boots

Hello Victorianophiles, I suppose you must think I fell down some consumption-induced rabbithole in my quest for authenticity. Have I been in a syphilis-induced fugue? WORSE! I moved. It went very well, and I have moved to another rental. Many people assumed I was buying, but no, no interest in doing that in the city I currently reside in. I understand from my readings that sometimes Victorians would enter into leases up to seven years, and that most people rented at that time. It’s interesting to me that there was some minority of people who held the majority of the real estate if this was the case.

I come to you selfishly with a short update that is meant more as a kick in the pants for me to start again than anything profound or detailed. I have discussed this with other bloggers, and we often agree that the longer you wait, the harder it is to restart again.

So, I bring you a picture of my Strawberries Preserved in Madeira.

Rather puce

As you can see, the color has been somewhat bleached out of them. I pulled one out the other day, about two months later, to see what they are like. They are getting a little “hairy” (not mold, but kind of fruit softening around the edges), but still have a firmness to them at their center. They almost completely taste of Madeira now, with a very slight fruit undertone. This is yet another recipe in Beeton’s that does not explain what to do with fruit preserved in this fashion. I think I will make a cake from the BOHM soon and try the fruit over that. It will be fun to strain the wine off and drink it as well.

I took pictures of the sliced strawberries before they went down mine and my daughter’s eager hatches, and I also photographed a reconstituted bowl of Portable Soup. I can show you what the cubes look like, but not the soup, because somehow I deleted both the soup and the sliced berries pictures. Again, I blame the move. Sigh.

Recently, I also made Anchovy Butter [1637.] which, unsurprisingly, appears twice with slight variations. I used one that called for mixing anchovies, butter, and chopped fresh parsley.

I am no fan of anchovies, really, though I do generally like fish. I added two jarred anchovies, the kind you lay on pizza, chopped, to a stick (8 ounces) of butter, and a small handful of flat chopped parsley from the garden in the old house. (There is a major lack of herbs at the new house, which I am working to remedy as soon as possible.)

I was prepared to dislike anchovy butter, but surprise! I did like it very much. I served it soft in a dish and that night we spread it on chicken breast, steamed corn on the cob, and french bread. I will tell you what happened: Reader, I umami’d them. Okay, so the bread ended up tasting slightly fishy. But the other two foods were totally kicked up. I will make it again.

So, I am back on duty. For the rest of the summer I am going to concentrate on reworking meat and veggies recipes. I hope your summer/winter is going well (depending on where you are).