Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .lij. Gyngaudre.

Image result for medieval fishes
Illustration from The Book of Wonders of the Age” (St Andrews ms32)


This is one of several recipes that I will interpret but will not prepare. Eating fish offal is just a little bit more adventurous then I prefer. While eating offal is part of the new movement of nose to tail dining, where no part of an animal is wasted, eating specific fish offal carries with it particular risks related to toxins in our water. Cod liver is enjoyed in many parts of the world and if you cannot find it at your local fish market, it can be ordered through Amazon. The liver is described as being creamy and fishy and mild in the bitter offal flavor.

If you are feeling adventurous you can prepare the recipe below, and if you are not feeling so adventurous, you can prepare this using an assortment of fish fillets and omit the livers. Fish heads contain a surprising amount of meat, including the cheek and jowl and collar considered to be the tastiest and most succulent bits of meat on a fish.  You can also eat the tongue, the area around the eye socket, lips and eyes.

There is a question about what a fish pouch is.  I attempted to research this but to no avail.  I then asked a Chef friend what he thought the fish pouch might be and he believes it might refer to the sack of roe.  Alternatively "pouch" could be a misspelling of "paunch" referring to the fish belly. I have interpreted it to mean the roe sack.  I will leave it to you to do your best guess.

.lij. Gyngaudre.Take þe Lyuerys of Codlyngys, Haddok, Elys, or þe Hake hed, or Freysshe Mylweƚƚ hedys, þe Pouches, & þe Lyuerys, an sethe hem in fayre Water; þan take hem vp on a fayre bord, & mynce smal þe pouches; þan take gode freysshe brothe of Samoun, or Turbut, or of Elys, & cast þe mynced pouches þer-to, & pouder Pepyr, & let boyle; þan take þe brothe, þe pouches & þe lyuerys wer sodoun in, in a stipe*. [? meaning. ] or on fayre brede, & draw þorw a straynoure, & þan mynce þe lyuer in fayre pecys; & [leaf 13 bk.] whan þe pouches haue boylid, an þe licoure, caste þe leuer þer-to, an let boyle a whyle: þan caste þer-to þe lyuerys, Wyne, Venegre, Safroun, Salt, & late it boyle a whyle, and serue forth þat rennyng.

lij - Gyngaudre. Take the Lyuerys of Codlyngys, Haddok, Elys, or the Hake hed, or Freysshe Mylwell hedys, the Pouches, and the Lyuerys, an sethe hem in fayre Water; than take hem vp on a fayre bord, and mynce smal the pouches; than take gode freysshe brothe of Samoun, or Turbut, or of Elys, and cast the mynced pouches ther-to, and pouder Pepyr, and let boyle; than take the brothe, the pouches and the lyuerys wer sodoun in, in a stipe (Note: ? meaning) or on fayre brede, and draw thorw a straynoure, and than mynce the lyuer in fayre pecys; and whan the pouches haue boylid, an the licoure, caste the leuer ther-to, an let boyle a whyle: than caste ther-to the lyuerys, Wyne, Venegre, Safroun, Salt, and late it boyle a whyle, and serue forth that rennyng.

52 - Gyngaudre - Take the livers of Codlyngys (a young or small cod, possibly preserved in some way), Haddock, Eels, or the Hake Head, or Fresh Milwell (a kind of cod) heads, the pouches, and the livers, and boil them in fair water; then take them up on a fair board and mince small the pouches; then take good fresh broth of salmon, or turbut, or eels and cast the minced pouches thereto, and powder pepper, and let boil; then take the broth, the pouches and the liver were cooked in, in a stipe, or on fair bread and draw through a strainer, and then mince the liver in fair pieces; and when the pouches have boiled, and the liquor, cast the liver there-to, and boil awhile: then caste there-to the livers, wine, vinegar, saffron, salt and let it boil a while, and serve forth that running.



Interpreted Recipe                                                                            Serves 1, 2 as a Side

1 fish head (Cod, Haddock, Hake preferred), livers and roe sacks or 1/4 pound fish fillets
3/4 cup fish stock
1/4 cup vinegar mix (1 tbsp each white wine, white wine vinegar and water)
Pinch of saffron
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

Boil your fish heads, livers until cooked, remove from broth and allow to cool.  Remove flesh from the head and mince the roe and the liver.  Strain stock and return to pot. Add saffron, salt and pepper and return your fish to the pot.  Bring to boil and serve.




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