"Nas never pyk walwed in galauntyne" - To Rosemounde
110 Pykes in brasey. Take pykes and vndo hem on the wombes and waisshe hem clene, and lay hem on a roost irne. Thenne take gode wyne and powdour gynger & sugur, good wone, & salt, and boile it in an erthen panne; & messe forth the pyke & lay the sewe onoward.
142. Galyntyne. Take crustes of brede and grynde hem smale. Do therto powdour of galyngale, of canel, of gyngyuer, and salt it; tempre it vp with vyneger, and drawe it vp thurgh a straynour, & messe it forth.
- Forme of Cury
Pike are a long-snouted freshwater game & food fish, very similar to carp. Pyk are mentioned several times throughout Chaucer's writings, where he alludes to both the pike & the carp. The first recipe above is for pike in a sauce called Brasey; by substituting this sauce for the recipe just below it, we have Pyk in Galauntyne.
Obtaining fresh fish, especially carp & pike, may be a bit difficult for some people; however, most of us can obtain some sort of whole fish from the seafood or frozen food sections of large grocery markets. Look for fish that have been gutted and cleaned, but left whole, and go for whatever variety suits your taste and pocketbook.
Roast or grill the fish until done. Prepare the sauce by bringing the vinegar & red wine to a boil. Reduce heat, add the spices, then beat in just enough of the bread crumbs to make a smooth, slightly thick sauce. Serve the sauce as an accompaniment to the fish; its strong vinegar taste will be liked by some and disliked by others, so allow diners to dress their fish for themselves. Medieval feasters would have used their fingers to delicately dip tiny morsels of fish in the sauce before consuming.
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© James L. Matterer
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Book II. A Chaucerian Feast Part 1 | Part 2
Book I. A Chaucerian Cookery Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3