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Monday, November 3, 2014

GARO WITH GARUM, A ROMAN FISH SAUCE RECIPE

Anchovies
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Gr. garós, Eng. garus. A forgotten a species of the gar family that became extinct. It was make garum. The disappearance of this fish forced garum makers to use tunny, mackerel and other small fish. Note one chapter of the Archpriest of Hita is dedicated to a nun called Garoça, who joyfully goes off with the friar. He greedily wants to devour her flesh, thus indicating the gluttonous regard medieval society had for meat flavored with garum. 

Also see almorí, alosa, aloxa, budhaj, garum, hídromel, liquamen, muria, nouc-man salsugo, ventresea and vicias.


Boiling Fish, Herbs and Salt
Photo by: Lord-Williams
[Bolens. 1990:191; Castro. Alimentación.1996:179; and Ruíz/Brey. 1965:1399a-d:214]

ROMAN FISH SAUCE – GARUM OR LIQUAMEN ADAPTED FROM COQUINARIA[1]
- RECIPE FOR CHEAP AND FAST GARUM[2]

Ingredients

1 lb small fish (smelt, sprats, anchovies, sardines)
1 c sea salt
1 ¼  tbsp oregano 
½  tbsp dried mint 

Preparation
Rinse the fish under running water, leave them intact (do not remove gills, innards or other parts).
Straining the Mixture
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Put fish, salt and herbs 1.5 qt pan, add enough water to cover the fish with one or two inches of liquid on top. Bring to the boil, let boil for 15 minutes until the fish are cooked to a pulp.

Crush the fish more with a wooden spoon; continue boiling until the liquid starts to thicken, about twenty minutes.

Boiled Garum
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Begin straining. First use a coarse strainer or colander to remove all the larger bits and pieces. Then strain the liquid several times through a cheesecloth until the liquid is clear. Make sure that during the last straining turn the garum has cooled to room temperature. Depending on the fish used, and how long it is boiled, the resulting liquid will range between a pale yellow to deep amber colored liquid.

Keep the garum in sterile glass jars or bottles in the refrigerator. Salt crystals may form at the bottom of the jar. When the garum returns to room temperature, the crystals will dissolve again.

Because of the high content of salt, this sauce will keep for years. It will last a long time as only a teaspoon or tablespoon is used in each recipe. Take care use a clean spoon when removing garum from the jar.

The main difference with modern Eastern fish sauce is that this sauce is not fermented but cooked. Moreover, Roman garum is made with herbs, which adds an extra dimension to its taste




[1] http://www.coquinaria.nl/english/recipes/garum.htm
[2] The difference with this recipe and the garum made by the Romans is that the fish are boiled, not sun dried or fermented.  

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