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Friday, June 17, 2016

MERO WITH 13TH CENTURY RECIPE FOR FISH, JIMLI STYLE, FISH LOVERS' DELIGHT

mero
Photo by: Mª Angeles :)
cherna, cherne, L. Epinephelus marginatus, Ar. manānī, Eng. grouper, dusky grouper. It is found in the Atlantic as far as England but it is very rare even in the southern part of the island. It is more commonly found on southern coasts of the Iberian Atlantic and the southern Atlantic Ocean.

Gonzalo del Bercero (1220-1250) listed it as a common fish in Spain. Consumption in Guipuzcoa is reported to have been large. Villena in the 15th C confirmed the former fact and advised it to be carved lengthwise like sturgeon (see esturión).

In the 15th-16th C. Andalusians sailed, with their nets to Sidi Ifni, at the mouth of Lac d’Ifni and the banks of Cape Bojador in West Africa to catch grouper. From 1449 the Duke of Medina Sedonia dominated this area. His fleet, however, did run into a few problems with
this fish for if it realizes that it is being chased it swims into very deep water. It is not active in winter.

It is a tropical food fish from 1.2-1.5 m. long. The grouper can weigh up to 50 kg and live 50 years. It is dark brown on top, with three white spots, and yellow underneath. It is prized in the Mediterranean for the excellent quality of flesh. There is a Spanish proverb, “De la mar el mero y de la tierra, el carnero,” (‘From the sea grouper and from the land lamb’ insinuatis that is a good diet’).

[Castro. Alimentación. 1996:322:325; Corbera. 1998: 139-141; ES: Cosas. Feb 7, 04; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:233; Rumeu.1975:296; and Villena/Calero. 2002:23a:38a]

RECIPE FOR ROAST FISH, JIMLI STYLE, ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN, AL-ANADALUS #357 PLATO DE PESCADO AL ESTILO DE “ŶIMLĪ,” p 196

Ingredients


1 large fish[1]
1 lb fish for meatballs
        1 tbsp parsely
         2 huevos
         1 tbsp breadcrumbs
         a pinch of salt

Ingredients for sauce:
Fish Lovers' Delight
Photo by: Lord-Williams

2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp murri
3 tbsp oil
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp saffron
1 tsp cumin
6 citron leaves
1 tsp thyme
2 tbsp pine kernels
3 laurel leaves
1 tsp celery seeds
1 garlic clove
1 tsp cinnamon



Preparation

How to Pamper Your Best Friend!
Photo by: Lord-Williams
PREHEAT OVEN TO 400ºF/200ºC


Select a large grouper or other fish.  Scale it. Make a bed of salt. Place the fish in this and cover with salt. Leave overnight.

The next morning remove the salt. Wash it and scald it   in a pan large enough to hold the fish. Save the water from scalding. It should be between 2 and 2 ½ cups.

Make fish meatballs with any fish available by removing the skin and flaking it. Mix with parsley and eggs. Form balls and coat with breadcrumbs and set aside.

Make a sauce mixing the ingredients as indicated above. Select a pan big enough to hold the whole fish and meatballs. Mix the sauce with the water from scalding and pour it over the fish.

Place in preheated oven. Watch carefully and add more water as necessary.  When the top side of the fish is brown, remove from oven and turn over all the fish and the meatballs. Return to the oven and browns the other sides. Remove before the sauce burns.

If more sauce is needed make one with the ingredients above. Put them in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Strain and set aside until ready to serve.

Serve the fish on a large platter intact with sauce on the side.


[1] Mero was not used as it is so expensive. Pomfret was used as a substitute for its white meat and simular appearance.


HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF ANÓN, AL-ANDALUS #357 


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