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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

MORENA ONLY FOR FISH LOVERS - 15TH CENTURY RECIPE FOR MORAY EEL


Moray Eel
Photo from: Mellie Smith
1. sheaf; pile of straw.

2. L. Muraenidae helena, Eng. moray eel. This is a two and a half foot long dark red cylinder shaped fish with yellow spots. From the first half of its loin is a thin fin that rounds the tail and extends to the anus. Where the head begins are two round holes, which expel water swallowed. It lays its eggs between July and September. It is found in the eastern Atlantic between the British Islands and Senegal and in the Mediterranean.

During the Middle Ages, the fish was kept alive until cooked as it was thought more flavorable. It was killed by knocking its head against something hard like a stone. In his recipe “Morena en pan” (Conger Eel Pie), Nola warns to take care as its bite is poisonous. He recommends whipping it to death because that way the bones go down the tail. If scalding it to death, this does not happen.

Villena states that it should be carved lengthwise like the conger. See congrio.
3. loaf of brown bread, made with finely sifted flour. [Corbera. 1998:76; Fernández Muñiz. 1994:187:188; Nola. 1989:lxii-1; Villena/Brown. 1984:172; and Villena/Calero. 2002:23a:38a]

MORAY EEL IN A POT ADAPTED FROM NOLA'S lxii-2 MORENA EN CAZUELA

Ingredients

1 moray eel
2 lbs salt
a drizzle of olive oil

Gently Removing the Skin
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Stuffing:

½ c almonds
½ c raisins
20 gr pine kernels
2 tbsp basil
1 tbsp dill
½ tsp white pepper
a drizzle of olive oil

Garnish

Parsley or other herb on hand

Preparation

Nola instructs that if the moray eel is alive, be careful as its bite is poisonous. Whip it to death. That way the bones descend to the tail; if scalding it, this does not happen. Cooking destroys the poison.
As the Medieval Spanish Chef did not share Nola’s experience, first the fish was cleaned and washed. Then a bed of salt was poured into a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and lay the cleaned fish on top.

Spread salt over the top of the fish and drizzle with olive oil.


Prepare the stuffing. Fill the gut with it and sew it closed. If there is left over stuffing but it in a cloth bag. Tie it and put it on the bottom of the roasting pan to catch the drippings from the fish. Put the eel on top of this.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 ºF/175ºC


Roast 1 hour or until done. Remove all the salt. If necessary wash it off.

Remove the tail and the head. Discard or safe for fish broth.

Eel Surrounded by Nut and Herb Stuffing
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Remove skin by pushing the skin away from the meat using one’s fingers going from the tail to the head. Gently turn the fish over and do the same on the other side.

Carefully open the fish in the middle of the bottom side and fold the meat from there to upper side into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Remove the stuffing from the gut and set aside. Remove the stuffing from the back and set aside with the stuffing from the inside of the fish.

Pull the bones up, starting at the tail, lifting them up to pull them out hole. Remove and discard.

Replace the upper side on top of the bottom side. Carefully put the fish on a platter. Surround it with the stuffing.

If necessary, reheat in microwave. Garnish with parsley or other herb on hand. Serve warm.


NOLA'S lxii-2















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