Eight recipes from
Around the Roman Table
Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome
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Columella's writings suggest that Roman salads were a match for our own in richness and imagination:
Addito in mortarium satureiam, mentam, rutam, coriandrum, apium, porrum sectivum, aut si non erit viridem cepam, folia latucae, folia erucae, thymum viride, vel nepetam, tum etiam viride puleium, et caseum recentem et salsum: ea omnia partier conterito, acetique piperati exiguum, permisceto. Hanc mixturam cum in catillo composurris, oleum superfundito.
Put savory in the mortar with mint, rue, coriander, parsley, sliced leek, or, if it is not available, onion, lettuce and rocket leaves, green thyme, or catmint. Also pennyroyal and salted fresh cheese. This is all crushed together. Stir in a little peppered vinegar. Put this mixture on a plate and pour oil over it. (Columella, Re Rustica, XII-lix)
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Soft-Boiled Eggs in Pine-Nut Sauce
In ovis hapalis: piper, ligustcum, nucleos infusos. Suffundes mel, acetum; liquamine temperabis.
For soft-boiled eggs: pepper, soaked pine nuts. Add honey and vinegar and mix with garum. (Apicius, 329)
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Lentils with Coriander
Aliter lenticulam: coquis. Cum despumaverit porrum et coriandrum viride supermittis. (Teres) coriandri semen, puleium, laseris radicem, semen mentae et rutae, suffundis acetum, adicies mel, liquamine, aceto, defrito temperabis, adicies oleum, agitabis, si quid opus fuerit, mittis. Amulo obligas, insuper oleum viride mittis, piper aspargis et inferes.
Another lentil recipe. Boil them. When they have foamed, add leeks and green coriander. [Crush] coriander seed, pennyroyal, laser root, mint seed and rue seed. Moisten with vinegar, add honey, garum, vinegar, mix in a littledefrutum, add oil and stir. Add extra as required. Bind with amulum, drizzle with green oil and sprinkle with pepper. Serve. (Apicius, 192)
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Roast Wild Boar
Aper ita conditur: spogiatur, et sic aspergitur ei sal et cuminum frictum, et sic manet. Alia die mittitur in furnum. Cum coctus fuerit perfundutur piper tritum, condimentum aprunum, mel, liquamen, caroenum et passum.
Boar is cooked like this: sponge it clean and sprinkle with salt and roast cumin. Leave to stand. The following day, roast it in the oven. When it is done, scatter with ground pepper and pour on the juice of the boar, honey, liquamen, caroenum, and passum. (Apicius, 330)
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Until the 1980s the ostrich was considered as exotic as an elephant, but since then it has become available in supermarkets. Cooking a whole ostrich is an enormous task, but Apicius provides a recipe for ostrich:
In struthione elixo: piper, mentam, cuminum assume, apii semen, dactylos vel caryotas, mel, acetum, passum, liquamen, et oleum modice et in caccabo facies ut bulliat. Amulo obligas, et sic partes struthionis in lance perfundis, ete desuper piper aspargis. Si autem in condituram coquere volueris, alicam addis.
For boiled ostrich: pepper, mint, roast cumin, celery seed, dates or Jericho dates, honey, vinegar, passum, garum, a little oil. Put these in the pot and bring to the boil. Bind with amulum, pour over the pieces of ostrich in a serving dish and sprinkle with pepper. If you wish to cook the ostrich in the sauce, add alica. (Apicius, 212)
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Ius in cordula assa: piper, ligustcum, mentam, cepam, aceti modicum et oleum.
Sauce for roast tuna: pepper, lovage, mint, onion, a little vinegar, and oil. (Apicius, 435)
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Fried Veal Escalope with Raisins
Vitella fricta: piper, ligusticum, apii semen, cuminum, origanum, cepam siccam, uvam passam, mel, acetum, vinum, liquamen, oleum, defritum.
Fried veal: pepper, lovage, celery seed, cumin, oregano, dried onion, raisins, honey, vinegar, wine garum, oil,defrutum. (Apicius, 335)
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Patina versatilis vice dulcis: nucleos pineos, nuces fractas et purgatas, attorrebis eas, teres cum melle, pipere, liquamine, lacte, ovis, modico mero et oleo, versas in discum.
Try patina as dessert: roast pine nuts, peeled and chopped nuts. Add honey, pepper, garum, milk, eggs, a little undiluted wine, and oil. Pour on to a plate. (Apicius, 136)
Copyright notice: Excerpted from Around the Roman Table: Food and Feasting in Ancient Rome by Patrick Faas, published by the University of Chicago Press. © Patrick Faas. All rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that this entire notice, including copyright information, is carried and provided that the University of Chicago Press is notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of both the author and the University of Chicago Press.source