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Monday, July 2, 2018

SIFIUM WITH ROMAN RECIPE FOR SILPHIUM SAUCE

Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum)
Photo from: Chcuk Kime
L. silphium(Firulanarthex)Ar. anjudān, Fr.silphium, Eng. silphium. It is a Mediterranean plant also called laser and laserpitium. The Arabic “’Ūd al-raqqa” is the “mahrūth”or root of silphium from which the resin or juice is extracted. This yields asafœtida, also called Devil’s dung, fetid gum or resin. 

The Ancients used the juice medicinally for its extensive heeling properties. It was added to food in small quantities to give it a fragrant effect. Too much spoils the food. 

Romans used the powdered root is a condiment as much as liquamen. Barbara Flower recommends it for fish specially. It is thought that it was used for its aphrodisiacal effect and in food prepared for banquets especially. It was a major export from Cyrenaica as it grew in large quantities there but was extinct by Pliny’s time. Apicius provides two rcipes for Silphum Sauce.

In North Africa it was grown especially in Cyrene where it was cultivated for export. There it was used in medicine and in cooking. The Anon al Andalus calls for it in "Tabahaja," a dish of fried goat meat. Today, several Middle Eastern recipes call for asafœtida. [Anón/Huici.1966:250:149; Apicius/Flower. 1958:28-29:57; ES: Lord “Asafœtida,” posted Feb 28, 07; ES: Anon/Perry. Sep 5, 02; and Pullar. 1970:242] 


APICIUS BOOK 1, XVI SILPHIUM SAUCE


Ingredients[1]


silphium
vinegar
liquamen
pepper
parsley
dry mint
silphium root
honey
vinegar


Preparation

“Dissolve silphium from Cyrenaica or Parthian silphum
in luke-warm water and mix with vinegar and liquamen; or mix pepper, parsley, dry mint, silphium root honey, vinegar, liquamen.


[1] Measurements are not indicated. 
[2] le asafoetida.
.

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