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Zombie Dachshund
Feb 25, 2016

Great thread! This is one of those things I've dipped my toe in and I'm excited to see what others have done.

mostlygray posted:

Some of the stuff from "Apicius de re Coquinaria" is not too bad.

The difficulty is that liquamen/garum and laser aren't described. Laser is extinct and garum is pretty much just fish sauce but who can say if it's different than modern fish sauce.

Agreed that Apicius has some interesting recipes, and many that feature unexpected flavor combinations. On garum: we actually know a ton about it. We have descriptions (from Pliny, for example) of how it was made and the difference between garum (made with fish guts) and liquamen (made with whole fish). Garum also has its own academic subfield, with culinary historians, economic historians, and archaeologists all weighing in. It's super interesting if that's your bag. The closest you can get to it today is colatura di alici, which is worth trying.

I've made several Roman dishes, including the panis quadratus from the Tavola Mediterranea blog. This recipe makes a huge loaf that didn't really fit in my pan well; it ended up a little too heavy. I'm going to make it again but cut the proportions to about 2/3.

What I'm most proud of was adapting the Apicius recipe for lucanica sausages (from book II) and making Roman-style salami, with pine nuts, cumin and fish sauce.

It's a nice salami: I chickened out and made it with half fish sauce and half salt, which gave it a nice funk. Next batch, I'll use 100% fish sauce for salting. The pine nuts don't really stand out, but like the Dude's rug, they really tie the whole thing together.

I'm planning to make another batch in the near future and if there's interest, can document the process. I'd like to serve it up with homemade Pompeii-style bread and Roman-style cheese; a nice ancient snack!


Zombie Dachshund
Feb 25, 2016

Big Beef City posted:

I'd loving die to know what garum was.

Have I got a deal for you, friend: you can find out for about $25.

Zombie Dachshund
Feb 25, 2016

Iíve been making salumi for a few years now. A while back, I adapted a recipe, from Apiciusí cookbook, for lucanicae sausages. As Apicius describes them, they are smoked, but itís not obvious whether the end product is fresh (that is, needing to be eaten right away) or dried. You can find lots of adaptations of the recipe out there, but they always assume that the lucanicae are fresh. I wanted to make a dried salami.

Hereís Apiciusí recipe:

"Apicius posted:

Lucanicas similiter ut supra scriptum est: Lucanicarum confectio teritur piper, cuminum, satureia, ruta, petroselinum, condimentum, bacae lauri, liquamen, et admiscetur pulpa bene tunsa ita ut denuo bene cum ipso subtrito fricetur. Cum liquamine admixto, pipere integro et abundanti pinguedine et nucleis inicies in intestinum perquam tenuatim perductum, et sic ad fumum suspenditur.

and my translation:


Lucanicas are made much as is written above: to make lucanicae, grind pepper, cumin, savory, rue, parsley, condiment, laurel berries, liquamen, and mix it into the well-beaten meat*, so that it can be blended with the ground spice mixture. Stir in the liquamen, whole pepper, abundant fat, and pine nuts. Stuff them into a very thinly drawn out intestine and hang it by the smoke.


Apicius is notorious for being vague, so thereís a lot of room for interpretation here. Right off the bat, I avoided rue, which is hard to get (and is mildly toxic). I also left out parsley because I forgot to pick any up at the store, and used bay leaves instead of laurel berries. Apicius includes "condimentum" ("condiment") which seems to be just "spice"; I put in a little oregano.

The toughest question I had was how much fish sauce to use. For safety sake, cured meats generally need over 2% salt by weight. Knowing just how much sauce (that is, liquid salt) to use isnít obvious. Last time I went 50/50 on salt/fish sauce. I didnít die and it wasnít aggressively fishy, so this time I went with a 2:1 ratio. (I recently found out that Red Boat makes a fish salt, and Iíll order that for next time; itís less authentic but itís easier to be consistent.)

Here are the ratios I used:

Pork butt (85%), ground
Pork fat (15%), hand-cut
Black pepper (ground) 1%
Savory (dried) .1%
Oregano .1%
Cumin (ground) .4%
Pine nuts .8%
Bay leaves (ground) .1%
Black pepper (whole) .2%
Fish sauce 1.8%
Salt .9%
Cure #2 .25%
Dextrose .3%
Bactoferm F-RM-52 starter culture

Here are the non-meat ingredients (apologies for lovely phone pictures):

I stuffed it all into hog casings, which frankly I donít like working with (I prefer wider casings), but they seem like what a Roman cook would use. Hereís a loop:

These all went into the cold smoker for about six hours, then fermented for another eighteen hours. After that, into the curing chamber (recently cleaned, so theyíre alone in it for now) to dry:

Iím guessing these will take about six weeks to be ready: I want them to lose 40% of their weight. I'll report back when they are done.

Zombie Dachshund
Feb 25, 2016

chitoryu12 posted:

They at least sound good!

Thanks! I'm looking forward to seeing how these turn out. The last batch was good and I'm hoping that more smoke and more fish funk will make them a little more interesting.

Zombie Dachshund
Feb 25, 2016

Update on lucanica salami: it's done! (actually, it was done earlier in the summer, but I was too lazy to post)

Good flavor, glad I upped the % of fish sauce in the recipe. A little bit of funk, and I just love the cumin.

Next time I'll make two changes: first, go all the way and make it with 100% colatura di alici, and second, smoke it a little more. It could stand 2-3 overnight cold smoking sessions. In the meantime, it's a nice addition to a charcuterie plate.

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