Fake Lenten Roast from the Inntalkochbuch

Here is another example of Lenten foods designed to imitate meat. This dish uses egg, so it is not applicable under conditions of strict fasting.

<<36>> Ein gespikchter praten von vischen

A larded roast of fish

Scale the fish and cut out the flesh, as closely as you can, when it is raw (also rochs) and then take the bones and boil them so that the rest of the meat comes off. Then take the two kinds of fish meat (the one cut off the bone and the one boiled off) and chop them together. Add saffron and a bit of spices, grated (bread? Likely omission) and 2 eggs to a dish, so that it becomes firmer and stronger. Take the chopped fish flesh and form it into a roast. Drop it into boiling broth from a small board in a pan of the type that seems suitable to you. When it has boiled enough, stick it on a skewer and coat it with red egg yolks against the fire on the spit. Take the white of a hard-boiled egg and cut it up like bacon and lard the roast with that, then it is done.

Many recipe collections include instructions on how to prepare mock roasts, sausages, and other coveted dishes using fish. This is a fairly straighforward one, and the idea of using hard-boiled egg whites for ‘larding’ is both ingenious and informative (it tells us the bacon used for larding would have been quite fat, otherwise egg white would not have looked convincing).

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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