Yield: 6 servings
To make mortreux of fisch. Tak plays or fresch meluel or merlyng & seth it in fayre water, and then tak awey the skyn & the bones & presse the fisch in a cloth & bray it in a mortere, and tempre it vp with almond melk, & bray poudere of gynger & sugre togedere & departe the mortreux on tweyne in two pottes & coloure that on with saffroun & dresch it in disches, half of that on & half of that other, & strawe poudere of gyngere & sugre on that on & cleme sugre on that other & serue it forth.
600 g/1¼ lb skinned cod fillet Sea salt 125 g/4 oz ground almonds 2 teaspoons rice flour or cornflour 3 tablespoons deep yellow saffron water or food colouring ½ teaspoon ground ginger ¾ teaspoon white sugar
(Serves six as a starter)
The 'standing' (thick) pottage or pate' called mortrews could contain either fish or meat. Its thickening made it a better-than-usual dish, even without extra colour. 'Departed', as it sounds, just means that the dish is 'parted in two', that is, bi-coloured. The Goodman suggested a chicken liver or meat mortrews, but I think his young wife would have clapped her hands over this one on 'fysshe dayes'.
To make it, poach the fish fillet in about 575 ml/1 pint/2 ½ cups of salted water until cooked through. Drain off the cooking liquid into a measuring jug. Pour 275 ml/10 fl oz/1 ¼ cups of the hot measured liquid over the almonds in a bowl.
Press the fish under a cloth or kitchen paper to squeeze out excess moisture, then flake it. Strain the almond 'milk' into a jug, stirring to separate the free liquid from the almond sludge in the strainer. Put the liquid into the goblet of an electric blender, followed by the flaked fish, and process until smooth. If the mixture is too stiff to process easily, add a little more fish cooking liquid. Turn the mixture into a bowl.
In a small saucepan, cream the rice flour or cornflour with 3 or 4 tablespoons of fish cooking liquid, then heat the mixture gently until it thickens. Stir this 'cream' into the fish mixture and season with salt.
Put half the mixture into a separate bowl and tint it a deep gold with the saffron water or good colouring. Combine the ground ginger and ¼ teaspoon of the sugar and mix into the golden fish, reserving a little of the mixture for sprinkling. If you like ginger, increase the quantity.
Serve the mortrews in six scallop shells or small saucers, putting a coloured and a plain spoonful of mixture side by side in each. Chill until needed. Just before serving, sprinkle the remaining ginger/sugar mix on the gold portions and the remaining ½ teaspoon plain sugar on the white portions.
from The Medieval Cookbook by Maggie Black Chapter 4, "The Goodman of Paris" posted by Tiffany Hall-Graham From: Tiffany Hall-Graham Date: 05-26-94
Submitted By DALE SHIPP On 04-20-95