Salmon Pastries or To bake a ioll of fresh Salmon

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I wanted to find a fish recipe to make for Christmas Eve, one of the few fish days that have continued to modern times.

The following recipe tells one to bake a salmon in the oven for 2 hours. I am making small hand pies and not an entire salmon. Salmon cooking times are usually around  4 to 6 minutes per half-inch of thickness–if you were not wrapping it in pastry. While high-quality salmon can be eaten raw, it is dry and chewy if over cooked. Its recommended that salmon be cooked until its temperature reaches 145 F.

To bake a ioll of fresh Salmon. TAke Ginger and salt, and season it, and certaine Corrans, and cast them about and vnder it, and let the paste be fine, and take a litle Butter and lay about it in the paste, and set it in the Ouen two houres, and so serue it in. The good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin  (1594)

Ingredients:

  • 1 100g piece of salmon per person
  • enough pastry to wrap each piece
  • 2 tsp of butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger, ground
  • 20 currents
  • pinch of salt

Directions
1) Pre-heat oven to 350.
2) Lay out pastry and rub it with butter.
3) Spread out 1/2 tsp of ginger and salt on top of the butter.
4) Put 10 currents down on one half of the pastry. Place piece of salmon on top of the currents, then place 10 currents on top of salmon.
5) Using water to stick pastry edges together wrap the pastry around the salmon.
6) Brush top of pastry with butter and then bake pastry for 40 minutes, until pastry is golden and internal temperature reaches 145. Serve hot.

Gone Fishing

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I love the idea of someone in medieval costume, sitting beside a bubbling brook. Beside them rest a book, and half a bottle of wine. A fishing rod made out of a stick and string held loosely in hands, while they napped under a large hat.

And accidentally catching a trout and ruining the quiet of the day.

Took cook your trout you need to scrape the scales on the outside of the fish with the side of a knife and wash them off the fish, the knife, your hands and everything you touched in the last 24 hours. You then cut the fish’s belly open from anus to neck and remove all the squishy guts from the pocket there, and wash the fish again. Pat dry.

You can grill a 1/2 lb trout on a high (500F) heat and it will cook in about 5 minutes. Pan frying is about that time, on each side.

Boiling takes a little longer, 10 minutes for every inch thick your fish is. The medieval cook would put 2 cups of wine or vinegar into the water with the fish.

In all cases cooked fish flake away from the bone easily.

The medieval cook will pair the fish with a sour sauce of your choosing:

Le Viandier de Taillevent (1380):
Salmon trout. Peeled, head and all, and then cooked in water or roasted; eaten with verjuice.

Le Menagier de Paris (1393)
Trout are cooked in water with a lot of red wine, and should be eaten with a cameline sauce and should be cooked in chunks about two fingers thick. 

Libre del Coch (1520)
And if they want to eat it roasted, it must be eaten with orange juice and water and salt and a little oil, and all the good herbs; and prepare the plate of the roast trout. And cast this juice on top of everything. And know that the best morsel of it is the snout.