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Fish Soup
I came across this little entry in a Byzantine dietary calendar (trsl. and published in A. Dalby's excellent 'Flavours of Byzantium'):

Quote:Fish soups should be spiced with spikenard, anise and coriander

OK, I admit spikenard is not likely to be to everyone's taste and hard to specifically identify, anyway. But the anise and coriander combo is surprisingly tasty. Here's how I tried it:

1 lb fish, firm-fleshed and either filleted or too small for the bones to matter

1 cup shelled chickpeas

1 onion

olive oil




Chop onion and make sure fish has no big bones (really sure. really.) Heat a generous gloop of olive oil in a heavy pot. Put in onion and fish and sautee quickly, then add water to cover and drop in chickpeas. Simmer at very low temperature until the chickpeas turn to mush, adding more water as necessary and stirring occasionally. Season with garum, coriander and a pinch of anise and serve with bread.

A robust, but surprisingly flavourful, distinctly proletarian low-maintenance dish that slow-food fops might adopt for their own if we let them Tongue

The technique (sautee, then simmer), BTW, is familiar from 10th century Arabic sources and continues throughout the Med wherever written evidence shows up afterwards. I suspect it is much older than that and found it works well with some Apician recipes, but it is, nasturally, not genuinely poor man's food.
Der Kessel ist voll Bärks!

Volker Bach
thanks for sharing this. I'm going to try your recipe next time I serve fish!
Big Grin
Sara T.
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