Recipes from Anonimo Toscano

I’m perusing recipes from the 14th and 15th Centuries in northern and central Italy when I come across two great texts, one of which I posted about earlier this year, and this one, the Anonimo Toscano. Here are a few of the translated recipes that I’d like to try. My favorites are Nucato and Stuffed Peacock (towards the end):

 

Page from Anonimo Toscano
Page from Anonimo Toscano

 

Cabbages.
[1] To make white cabbages, well cooked. Take stalks of cabbage, and clean them well, so that nothing is left of the leaves; and cut them at the softest part of the head: and when the cauldron has come to a boil, with water and oil inside, add said stalks, or rather the white parts of the cabbages, and add fennel bulbs, and let all of it boil until it is rather thick. And if you want, you can put in oil, or meat or capon broth, pepper, ground spices, beaten eggs, saffron for color; and give it to your Lord.

Mustard.
[15] Take mustard greens and boil them in water; and throw away the water, fry them in a pan with oil and salt, or rather set them to cook with meat.

Asparagus.
[16] Take asparagus, and boil it; and when it is boiled, set it to cook with oil, onion, salt and saffron, and ground spices, or without.

Beans [fasoli].
[Translator’s Note: Beans of the genus phaseolus are all New World. While it is unclear exactly which pulses are meant by fasoli in this manuscript, two likely Old World possibilities are black-eyed peas (and relatives such as “cream peas”) and yard long-bean seeds.]
[57] Beans well cleaned and boiled, set them to cook with oil and onions, with aforementioned spices, grated cheese, and beaten eggs.

[58] Another preparation in the style of Treviso. Put boiled beans, shelled, to cook with salted meat, and with pepper and saffron. And this can be served fried in oil, put in a bit of vinegar, starch, and salt.

Chicken in lemon sauce. [Limonia].
[98] Fry chickens with lard and onions, and grind some unrefined starch [amido non mondo] and dilute it with pork broth, and strain it, and cook it with said chickens and spices. And if you do not have starch [amido], thicken the broth with egg yolks; and when it is near the time to serve it, put in lemon juice, bitter orange or citron juice.

Pomegranate Chicken. [Romania].
[100] Fry the chickens with lard and onions, and grind unrefined starch [amido non mondato] in a mortar, and dilute it with strong or sweet pomegranate juice: press and strain them well, and put it with the chicken, and boil it a little, and stir it with a spoon, or beat it, and add spices. And if you do not have pomegranate, you can make this with herb broth.

White garlic sauce with capons.
[101] Take capons boiled well, and with the broth dilute spices, garlic and almonds, and boil it enough until it thickens. This is called white garlic sauce; if you color it any other way, it loses its name. You can make this with roasted and larded capons.

Blancmange.
[102] Take chicken breast, cooked; and having placed it on a board shred it as finely as you can. Meanwhile wash the rice and dry it, and make flour out of it, and sift it with a sieve or strainer; then dilute said rice flour with goat’s milk or almond milk; and set it to boil in a pot washed and cleaned well; and which it begins to boil add said shredded chicken breast, with white sugar and fried white lard; and keep it away from smoke, and let it boil moderately without blocking the fire, until it becomes thick, as rice usually is. And when you are ready to serve it, put ground sugar on top of it, and fried lard. If you like, you can make it with whole-grain rice, prepared and arranged with goat’s milk, in the transalpine manner; and when you serve it, add almonds fried in lard, and sliced white ginger.

To stuff a peacock.
[106] Skin the peacock, keeping the head with its feathers: then take pork meat that’s not too fatty, and also the ground meat of said peacock or another one, and mince and grind them together. Also grind spices, cinnamon and nutmeg, whatever you want; once these have been well ground and beaten with egg whites, mix them together, and beat said spices and meat together thoroughly, and keep the yolk on its own. The stuff said peacock with said minced and ground meat and the aforementioned spices: and wrap said peacock in pork caul fat, and close it with a wooden pick: and thus put it in a cauldron in lukewarm water, and boil it gently. And when it has been boiled solid [i.e., the mincemeat stuffing is fully cooked], roast it on a spit or on the grill, and color it with beaten egg yolks, which you have kept aside; and don’t take all of them, but make apples out of the rest of them, as follows, that is: take raw pork loin and mince it very finely with a knife and chop it thoroughly; then mix said meat with said reserved egg yolks and aforementioned spices, and make it so thick that you can make little apples in the palms of your hands; and roll then in egg yolks and color them and set them to boil in boiling water. Once they have boiled a little you can roast them and color them slightly with egg yolks, using feathers. Some of these apples you can put inside the peacock, and on the outside, under said caul fat. And once this is done, re-clothe the peacock in its coat, skin and feathers reserved, and carry it to the table; and, with the coat taken off, serve it.

Honey boiled with walnuts, called nucato.
[149] Take boiled and skimmed honey, with walnuts chopped slightly and spices, cooked together; dip your hands in water and spread it out; let it cool and serve it. And you can use almonds and hazelnuts in place of walnuts.

SOURCE:

Translations by V. Aureli.

Digital version of the original: Thomas Gloning, 10/2003
http://staff.uni-marburg.de/˜gloning/an-tosc.htm

Thomas Gloning’s text is based on:
E. Faccioli, Arte della cucina, Milano 1966, vol. I, p. 21-57, without Faccioli’s notes.

Faccioli says that he relies basically on the 19th c. edition of Zambrini with some slight changes.
And he was inclined to date it rather from the beginning of the 15th c. than from the late 14th. c.

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