Fish sausages from the Inntalkochbuch

Another expensive illusion food for Lent.

<<31>> Pratwürst von vischen

Bratwurst sausages of fish

Chop the pike finely and add good spices and use caraway in it. Place that on a skewer and roast it, and baste it with fat. Serve it with sugar, ginger, and traget (a spice mixture)

There is not much to this recipe – it is a shaped dish made from finely chopped fish like we have many in the medieval corpus. In this case, the sausage shape is created not by filling a gut (or swim bladder), but by shaping the mass around a spis, a spit or skewer. Given the typical size of bratwurst sausages, this is likely a small implement, something like the köfte skewers used in Turkey today. Beyond that, we learn little worthwhile about technique. Other such recipes describe using egg or flour to give the mass cohesion and shaping it with moistened hands. That may well have been done here, too. As with all fresh fish recipes, this was an expensive pleasure.

The Inntalkochbuch is from a monastic library in Bavaria’s Inntal region (the Inn is a tributary of the Danube), dating to the late 15th/early 16th century. It is written in Upper German and strongly reflects local culinary traditions, though some of its recipes are commonplaces found elsewhere.

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