Lady Sheherazahde Lachesis (sheherazahde) wrote in cooking,
Lady Sheherazahde Lachesis
sheherazahde
cooking

Ancient Roman Meat Rolls Wrapped in Caul Fat

I had heard that the ancient Romans had food venders on the street and ate something like a hamburger that contained sweet white wine and pine nuts. It turns out that isn't really the case. They did have street food. Every civilisation has street food and the ancient Romans were no exception, but this recipe that was touted as a "Roman Hamburger" is more of a sausage. They are called "crépinette", "seftalia", or "kromeskis" in modern cooking.

Here is the original recipe from Apicius de re Coquinaria ("About the Kitchen" by Apicius)

Apicius, #47
Aliter Isicia Omentata
pulpam concisam teres cum medulla siliginei in vino infusi.
piper, liquamen, si velis, et bacam myrtam extenteratam simul conteres.
pusilla isicia formabis, intus nucleis et pipere positis.
involuta omento subassabis cum caroeno.

Translations:
Otherwise: Sausages wrapped in Caul Fat
smoothly pulp pieces, with the finest winter wheat infused with wine.
add pepper, fish sauce, if you wish, and crushed Myrtle berries at the same time.
form small balls, set nuts and pepper inside.
wrap with caul fat serve with reduced sweet white wine.

Apicius expects the reader to know what that means. There are no quantities and some of the ingredients are not specified such as the kind of meat or nuts.

Here is my first try

Roman Pork Burgers Wrapped in Caul Fat
Ingredients
1/4 c Semolina flour
1/4 sweet white Wine
1 lb ground Pork
1/2 tsp ground black Pepper
4 tsp Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)
12 Juniper Berries, crushed (I didn't have Myrtle berries)
1/4 c Pine Nuts
1/4 lb Caul Fat
1 1/2 c sweet white Wine

Instructions
Mix the semolina flour with an equal quantity sweet white wine and allow to soak.
Put the ground pork, and semolina mixture in a large bowl and flavor with pepper, fish sauce, juniper berries, and pine nuts. Form into four patties and wrap each patty in caul fat.
Fry the patties briefly to brown then add the remaining sweet white wine and simmer until cooked through and the wine is reduced to a gravy.

Serve with hearty whole grain rolls.

They were tasty but very fatty and they didn't hold together well.
So I tried again

Roman Beef Sausages Wrapped in Caul Fat
Ingredients
1 c Semolina flour
1 c pale dry Sherry (I was out of White Wine)
1 lb ground Beef
1/2 tsp ground black Pepper
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce (Nam Pla)
16 Juniper Berries, crushed (I didn't have Myrtle berries)
1/2 c Pine Nuts
1/4 lb Caul Fat
2 c pale dry Sherry (I was out of White Wine)

Instructions
Mix the semolina flour with an equal quantity pale dry sherry and allow to soak.
Put the ground beef, and semolina mixture in a large bowl and flavor with pepper, fish sauce, juniper berries, and pine nuts. Form into sausages and wrap each sausage in caul fat.
Fry the sausages briefly to brown, pour off the excess fat, then add the remaining pale dry sherry and simmer until cooked through and the sherry is reduced to a gravy.

Still a little bland. Maybe I should have chopped the pine nuts and used more pepper, or served them with a bit of prepared mustard.
Tags: meal: dinner, meat: beef, meat: pork, meat: sausage
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