Pepper Sauces for Fish from Cgm 384 II

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More sauces. The second one is interesting.

9 Black Pepper Sauce

Also prepare a black pepper sauce that is thick as though for venison to serve with carp (karpffen) or bream (brachsne) or tench (schligen) or other fish. Also prepare a black pepper sauce with honey to serve with whole fish, bullheads (groppen) or gobies (grundlen) and others, whichever kind you wish. Sweet other pepper sauces (are served) with fish and pureed peas, (made) of pepper bread (pfefferbrot), or flour and of onions, of pepper and dry pepper (duirre pfeffer). Prepare them as is your habit.

10 Pepper Sauce

Make a pepper sauce to serve with crawfish thus: Take crawfish and boil them as is described before, and pass them through with wine and with vinegar. Then shell the boiled crawfish, their claws and bellies and tails. Boil the legs from their bellies and add that to the passed-through crawfish. Season it as you wish and boil it up, if you wish, as a pepper sauce.

In the first recipe, we learn that pepper sauces were served with fish and that sweetened sauces were especially suited to bottom-dwelling fish. Again, pepper bread, probably a kind of gingerbread, is mentioned, and so is duirre pfeffer, something that is rather hard to understand. All pepper in medieval Germany was dried, so what exactly would qualify it for the attribute of ‘dry’ is a mystery. The explanation may lie hidden in some medical text, for all I know.

The second is more directly applicable. It is basically for crawfish served in a sauce made of pureed crawfish, wine, and vinegar. The instruction to season it as you wish and boil it up as a pepper sauce suggests that the spicing is meant to be heavy and the sauce bound with bread or something similar. There are several recipes that point in a similar direction, though they differ in detail. In several of them, the shells are used for colouring, but I do not think that is the case here. Crawfish generally seem to have been a popular status food through much of Southern Germany, prepared in all kinds of inventive ways.

Bound together with medicinal, veterinary, and magical texts, the culinary recipes of Munich Cgm 384 were partly published in 1865 as “Ein alemannisches Büchlein von guter Speise“. The manuscript dates to the second half of the fifteenth century. My translation follows the edition by Trude Ehlert in Münchner Kochbuchhandschriften aus dem 15. Jahrhundert, Tupperware Deutschland, Frankfurt 1999, which includes the first section of recipes not published earlier.

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