29 December 2007

To the Cat’s Taste

In retrospect, I think I unconsciously created an English (or English Major nerd?) theme this week. First, there were tea cookies (bite- and toddler-sized, in my version), followed by the actual tea on Thursday. Today, I couldn't resist the urge to try something out of To the Queen's Taste: Poached Salmon.

The thing I love about this cookbook is that it includes an original, Elizabethan recipe, as well as a "modern" (circa 1976) adaptation of the recipe by Lorna J. Sass, the book's author. In most cases, the Elizabethan version assumes a high level of self-confidence: cooking time and measurements are subjective, or entirely absent. Thankfully, the author lists her own measurements and times. This particular recipe, as well as being enhanced by modern conveniences like measurements, also could translate just fine to a portable burner.

[Illustration of how to skin a fish, from the late 16th century.]

Sass calls this a "delicate preparation," in which the beer and rosemary end up as the strongest flavors. The salmon tasted light, maybe even a little dry, but it went well with brown or wild rice. And the cats loved it. All three of our clowder were circling the table. Occasionally – though only for mere moments before they were scooped back onto laps – even circling on the table. It's normal for them to beg, as we're all suckers for the Puss in Boots routine, but it's definitely not normal for them to act like we just bombed the carpet in catnip. I guess that makes this recipe people tested and cat approved (hah).

[Once sated, this one just wanted to nap, and didn't much appreciate having her picture taken.]

Elizabethan Poached Salmon

((very slightly) adapted from To the Queen's Taste)

Things raided from the pantry:

¾ cup water

¾ cup beer (dark beer works well)

2 tablespoons parsley

¼ teaspoon rosemary

¼ teaspoon thyme

¼ teaspoon salt


3-4 salmon steaks

  1. Combine all ingredients sans fish in a large saucepan. Bring up to a boil, then down to simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Add fish to pan, ladling liberally with broth, top with extra sprinklings of rosemary, thyme, and parsley.
  3. Cover fish and poach for 8-10 minutes.

Or the original, from The Good Huswives Handmaid (1588)

To seeth Fresh Salmon Take a little water, and as much Beere and salt, and put thereto Parsley, Time and Rosemarie, and let all these boyle togethere. Then put in your Salmon, and make your broth Sharpe with some Vinigar.


1 comment:

Emma said...

Those lucky lucky lucky cats. Man. I might have to try this - my cats turned up their noses at the tuna sashimi I brought home from the sushi restaurant the other night.