I bought me some of this recently:
While I'd read a lot about verjuice I'd never actually tasted any so I bought a bottle. Verjuice is the juice of unripened grapes or apples and was popular during the Middle Ages. Eventually it lost favor with cooks as lemons became more common and vinegar became cheaper. This stuff is made from grapes and it tastes a bit like tart wine. It has less of an acidic bite than either vinegar or lemon juice.
Thinking that we'd turned the corner on winter, I decided to make a 15th century Italian blue summer sauce
from Martino de Rossi's 1465 book on cookery, Libro de arte Coquinaria
. Unfortunately I found no blackberries at Woodman's over the weekend so I made a red sauce instead.
The sauce is very easy to make. It's berries with some ground almond, ginger, sugar, and verjuice. I then served it over a poached chicken breast. Being in the spirit of the 15th century, I prepared it more or less the old fashioned way.
I really need a larger mortar & pestle. The recipe has you crush the berries and then mix in the rest of the ingredients. That being done, the cook then presses the mixture through a sieve so you get a puree. In my case, I pressed it through a conical colander with a spoon. One of those mega pestles would have been perfect. Well, either that or a food processor.
My pictures don't really do the sauce justice because it looked really nice - a beautiful creamy red. It also was very tasty. The berries and ginger were at the front but the verjuice added a nice mellow tartness which couldn't be missed.
The dish is served cold. I'd like to make this again when it actually is summer as it would make a fine light lunch on a hot day. Probably go well with a Kölsch.
Labels: Cooking, Medieval, Medieval cuisine