Two crawfish galantines from the Kuchenmaistrey

Two variations of jellied crawfish.

1. ix. Item crawfish in galantine (gesultzt krebß), you make a courtly and well-digestible dish that causes no harm thus. Boil the crawfish with wine and peel the claws, necks and tails. Reserve the other (parts) and season it separately. Now make the broth thus: Take basses that are small. Boil them in wine and vinegar, as many as you wish to have or need. Pour them off, and take the gall from the heads. Then take the bellies, claws and tails. Pound them well in a mortar. Pass them through a cloth mixed with the broth they were boiled in. And after that take fresh crawfish, and only the shelled claws and also tails. Put them into the pureed crawfish in a pan. Boil them up slightly once and finish them with spices and salt. Try them to see what they lack, and let them cool.

1.x Item another galantine (galradt) for crawfish in sauce. Take crawfish, as many as you wish. Boil them in wine and vinegar. Remove the shells and take the bitter (things) out of their heads. Shell the claws and the bellies and put them in a mortar with almonds and a little white breadcrumbs. Pound it well with good wine, pass it through a cloth and put it into a pan. Add fat to it and season it with spices and salt. Try it, if it be too strong, temper it with water so that vinegar, spices and wine have their proper measure. Serve them, set them on the table warm or cold. Strew it with Italian raisins or with fresh ginger if you serve them warm. If you wish to serve them cold and well congealed (wol gestanden), stick it with almonds.

In this case I think the first recipe describes a jelly, made with the gelatin produced by the small fish cooked whole. The instructions are not entirely clear. The second dish may well be expected to congeal simply from the thickening effect of the bread, though crawfish also contain gelatin that may aid the process.

The ‘fresh’ ginger mentioned here is most likely freshly ground dried gingerroot. It could be a reference to sugar-preserved ginger for faking which there is a recipe in Meister Hans (recipe #153). Actual raw gingerroot is highly unlikely.

My current project are recipes from the Nuremberg Kuchenmaistrey produced around 1490. This was the earliest printed cookbook in German (and only missed being the earliest printed cookbook in any language by a few years). The Kuchenmaistrey (mastery of the kitchen) gave rise to a vibrant culture of amended and expanded manuscript copies as well as reprints spanning almost a century. The recipes seem designed to appeal to a wealthy, literate and cosmopolitan clientele.

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