Apicius 329


In ovis hapalis

Piper, ligusticum, nucleos infusos. Suffundes mel, acetum, liquamineº temperabis.



Sauce for soft-boiled eggs

Pepper, lovage-seed, soaked pine-kernels. Add honey, vinegar, dilute with garumº.





i remember well the first time I tried my hand to this recipe. It was while I studied Greek and Latin; we were a group of students responsible for editing a periodical, we knew our Latin, but wee quite ignorant of culinary matters. The eggs, of course, were boiled too hard and floating in a sourish honey with pine-kernels embedded like insects in amber.
Time brings wisdom: every Apician recipe that begins with 'piper, ligusticum' makes me automatically reach for the mortar. Even if not explicitly stated, for anyone familiar with the recipes from De re coquinaria it is obvious that one should first grind the dry ingredients in a mortar, after which they are to be diluted with the liquids to make a sauce. Moreover, from other recipes than this one it becomes evident that pine-kernels were seldom used in a decorative manner, as nowadays, but as a binding agent.
About 2 oz. of pine-kernels, some freshly ground pepper, a teaspoon of lovage-seed are ground toghether in the mortar. One or two tablespoons of honey, a few teaspoons of white wine vinegar and then mix well. Add just a few drops of garumº and stir well until it all turns into a sauce with the thickness of our mayonaise.