Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

Complet-Anglr-msg - 5/26/00


A collection of recipes taken from The Compleat Angler, published 1653, written by Izaak Walton.


NOTE: See also the files: fish-msg, seafood-msg, stockfish-msg, fish-feast-art, feasts-fish-msg, eels-msg, fish-pies-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 09:57:51 SAST-2

From: "Christina van Tets" <IVANTETS at botzoo.uct.ac.za>

Subject: SC - Compleat Angler part 1


Hello! Herewith the first of the recipes from the Compleat Angler:


Book 1, The third day, chapter 3

The Chub, though he eat well thus dressed [they have just eaten one -

CJvT], yet as he is usually dressed he does not.  He is objected

against, not only for being full of small forked bones, dispersed

through all his body, but that he eats waterish and that the flesh of

him is not firm, but short and tasteless.  The French esteem him so

mean as to call him _un vilain_;  nevertheless, he may be so dressed

as to make him very good meat;  as, namely, if he be a large chub,

then dress him thus:-

   First, scale him, and then wash him clean, and then take out his

guts; and to that end make the hole as little and near to his gills

as you may conveniently, and especially make clean his throat from

the grass and weeds that are usually in it;  for if that be not very

clean, it will make him to taste very sour.  Having so done, put some

sweet herbs into his belly; and then tie him with two or three

splinters to a spit, and roast him, basted often with vinegar, or

rather verjuice and butter, with good store of salt mixed with it.

Being thus dressed, you will find him a much better dish of meat than

you, or most folk, even than anglers themselves, do imagine:  for

this dries up the fluid watery humour with which all chubs do abound.

   But take this rule with you, that a chub newly taken and newly

dressed is so much better that a chub of a day's keeping after he is

dead, that I can compare him to nothing so fitly as to cherries newly

gathered from a tree, and others that have been bruised and lain a

day or two in water.  But the chub being thus used, and dressed

presently, and not washed after he is gutted (for note, that lying

long in water, and washing the blood out of any fish after they be

gutted, abates much of their sweetness), you will find the chub

(being dressed in the blood, and quickly) to be such meat as will

recompense your labour, and disabuse your opinion.

   Or you may dress the chavender or chub thus:-

   When you have scaled him, and cut off his tail and fins, and

washed him very clean, then chine or slit him through the middle, as

a salt fish is usually cut;  then give him three or four cuts or

scotches on the back with your knife, and broi8l him on charcoal, or

wood-coal that is free from smoke, and all the time he is a-broiling

baste him with the best sweet butter, and good store of salt mixed

with it;  and to this add a little thyme cut exceedingly small, or

bruised into the butter.  The cheven thus dressed hath the watery

taste taken away, for which so many excep against him.  Thus was the

cheven dressed that you now liked so well, and commended so much.

But note again, that if this chub that you ate of had been kept till

to-morrow, he had not been worth a rush.  And remember that his

throat be washed very clean, I say very clean, and his body not

washed after he is gutted, as indeed no fish should be.


End of how to cook a chub.  Are you waiting with baited breath for

the next instalment?





Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 10:20:59 SAST-2

From: "Christina van Tets" <IVANTETS at botzoo.uct.ac.za>

Subject: SC - Compleat Angler #2 pike


Compleat Angler, Book 1, Chapter 8, the fourth day


... this direction how to roast him [ie. a pike] when he is caught is

choicely good, for I have tried it, and it is somewhat the better for

not being common;  but with my direction you must take this caution,

that your pike must not be a small one, that is, it must be more than

half a yard, and should be bigger.

   First, open your pike at the gills, and if need be, cut also a

little slit towards the belly;  out of these take his guts and keep

his liver, which you are to shred very small with thyme, sweet

marjoram, and a little winter-savory;  to these put some pickled

oysters, and some anchovies, two or three, both these last whole;

for the anchovies will melt, and the oysters should not:  to these

you must add also a pound of sweet butter, which you are to mix with

the herbs that are shred, and let them all be well salted:  if the

pike be more than a yard long, then you may put into these herbs more

than a pound, or if he be less, then less butter will suffice:  these

being thus mixed with a blade or two of mace, must be put into the

pike's belly, and then his belly so sewed up as to keep all the

butter in his belly, if it be possible:  if not, then as much of it

as you possibly can;  but take not off the scales:  then you are to

thrust the spit through his mouth out at his tail;  and then take

four, five or six split sticks or very thin laths, and a convenient

quantity of tape or filleting:  these laths are to be tied round

about the pike's body from his head to his tail, and the tape tied

somewhat thick to prevent his breaking or falling off from the spit:

let him be roasted very leisurely, and often basted with claret wine

and anchovies and butter mixed together, and also with what moisture

falls from him into the pan:  when you have roasted him sufficiently,

you are to hold under him, when you unwind or cut the tape that ties

him, such a dish as you purpose to eat him out of;  and let him fall

into it with the sauce that is roasted in his belly;  and by this

means the pike will be kept unbroken and complete:  then, to the

sauce which was within, and also that sauce in the pan, you are to

add a fit quantity of the best butter, and to squeeze the juice of

three or four oranges:  lastly, you may either put into the pike with

the oysters two cloves of garlick, and take it whole out, when the

pike is cut off the spit;  or to give the sauce a _haut-gout_ let the

dish into which you let the pike fall be rubbed with it:  the using

or not using of this garlick is left to your discretion. - M.B.

   This dish of meat is too good for any but anglers, or very honest

men; and I trust you will prove both, and therefore I have trusted

you with this secret.





Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 10:40:26 SAST-2

From: "Christina van Tets" <IVANTETS at botzoo.uct.ac.za>

Subject: SC - Compleat Angler #3 carp, eel


Compleat Angler #3:  Carp, eel




Part/book 1. chap 10, fourth day


But, first, I will tell you how to make this carp, that is so curious

to be caught, so curious a dish of meat, as shall make him worth all

your labour and patience;  and though it is not without some trouble

and charges, yet it will recompense both.

   Take a carp, alive if possible [aargh - CJvT], scour him, and rub

him clean with water and salt, but scale him not;  then open him,

and put him, with his blood and his liver, which you must save when

you open him, into a small pot or kettle;  then take sweet marjoram,

thyme, and parsley, of each half a handful, a sprig of rosemary, and

another of savory, bind them into two or three small bundles, and put

them to your carp, with four or five whole onions, twenty pickled

oysters, and three anchovies.  Then pour upon your carp as much

claret wine as will only cover him, and season your claret well with

salt, cloves, and mace, and the rinds of oranges and lemons:  that

done, cover your pot and set it on a quick fire till it be

sufficiently boiled;  then take out the carp and lay it with the

broth into the dish, and pour upon it a quarter of a pound of the

best fresh butter, melted and beaten with half-a-dozen spoonfuls of

the broth, the yolks of two or three eggs, and some of the herbs

shred; garnish your dish with lemons, and so serve it up, and much

good do you.


To cook an eel:


Book 1, chap. 13, the fourth day


And to commute for your patient hearing this long discourse, I shall

next tell you how to make this Eel a most excellent dish of meat.

   First, wash him in water and salt, then pull off his skin below

his vent or navel, and not much further;  having done that, take out

his guts as clean as you can, but wash him not:  then give him three

or four scotches with a knife, and then put into his belly and those

scotches sweet herbs, and anchovy, and a little nutmeg grated, or cut

very small;  and your herbs and anchovies must also be cut very

small, and mixed with good butter and salt:  having done this, then

pull his skin over him all but his head,, which you are to cut off,

to the end you may tie his skin about that part where his head grew;

and it must be so tied as to keep all his moisture within his skin:

and having done this, tie him with tape or packthread to a spit, and

roast him leisurely, and baste him with water and salt till his skin

breaks, and then with butter;  and having roasted him enough, let

what was put into his belly and what he drips be his sauce.





Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 11:07:51 SAST-2

From: "Christina van Tets" <IVANTETS at botzoo.uct.ac.za>

Subject: SC - Compleat Angler #4 minnow, trout


More Compleat Angler, this time minnow and trout:




Book 1, chap 18, fifth day


... in the spring they make of them excellent minnow-tansies;  for

being well washed in salt, and their heads amd tails cut off, and

their guts taken out, and not washed after, they prove excellent for

that use;  that is, being fried with yolks of eggs, the flowers of

cowslips, and of primroses, and a little tansy;  thus used they make

a dainty dish of meat.


[In _The Cookery of England_, by Elisabeth Ayrton, another quote is

used, apparently also from this work.  I can't remember the exact

wording, and my book is out on loan, but it runs something like 'on

your way home from fishing in the early morning, collect primroses

and cowslips from the fields, and tansy from your garden ...'  Maybe

this was just her poetic interpretation of what Walton said?  Does

anyone else have Ayrton?  Can you throw some light on this?  CJvT]




Book 2, chap 11, third day


Take your trout, wash, and dry him with a clean napkin;  then open

him, and having taken out his guts, and all the blood, wipe him very

clean within, but wash him not, and give him three scotches with a

knife to the bone, on one side only.  Aftyr which take a clean

kettle, and put in as much hard stale beer (but it must not be dead),

vinegar, and a little white wine and water as will cover the fish you

intend to boil;  then throw into the liquor a good quantity of salt,

the rind of a lemon, a handful of sliced horse-radish root, with a

handsome light faggot of rosemary, thyme, and winter savory.  Then

set your kettle upon a quick fire of wood;  and let your liquor boiul

up to the height before you put in your fish;  and then, if there be

many, put them in one by one, that they may not so cool the liquor as

to make it fall.  And whilst your fish is boiling, beat up the batter

for your sauce with a ladleful or two of the liquor it is boiling in.

And being boiled enough, immediately pour the liquor from the fish;

and being laid in a dish, pour you butter upon it; and strewing it

plentifully over with shaved horse-radish, and a little pounded

ginger, garnish the sides of your dish, and the fish itself, with a

sliced lemon or two, and serve it up.

   A grayling is also to be dressed exactly after the same manner,

saving that he is to be scaled, which a trout never is:  and that

must be done either with one's nails, or very lightly and carefully

with a knife, for fear of bruising the fish.  And note, that these

kinds of fish, a trout especially, if he is not eaten within four or

five hours after he is taken, he is worth nothing.


- ----------------

Here endeth the collection of recipes which I have found in The

Compleat Angler, published 1653, written by Izaak Walton.


I find it interesting that he specifies good butter about as often as

Chiquart insists on a clean pot.  I presume this is a reaction

against poor quality butter, as opposed to differentiating cooking

butter from May butter, which, as I understand, was a medicinal item?


Were oysters likely to be pickled any differently from vegetables or

other fish?


Were anchovies just salted, or was there more done to them than that?

Or were they preserved in brine, rather than dry-salted, being small?





<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org