Fried Frogs - Bartolomeo Scappi, Italian, active 1540 -1570
48 frog legs, 3 spoons of minced parsley, some crushed garlic cloves, the juice of 1 lemon, flour, oil for frying, salt and pepper
Keep the frog legs in cold water for a few hours. Dry them off. Add salt and pepper to the flour and then use it to flour the frog legs. Fry them until they are lightly browned and tender, adding the garlic cloves about halfway through frying. Drain the frog legs and remove the garlic, then allow the legs to dry off on absorbent paper. Add salt, garnish them with parsley and lemon juice and then serve.
Chicken casserole with peas - Francois Pierre de La Varenne, French, 1615-1678
One whole chicken of about 2.5-3.5lbs, 3 cups of chicken broth, 1 large romaine lettuce (cut to 5cm pieces), 30g butter, 350g fresh peas, ½ cup water, 1 teaspoon sugar, salt and pepper, 4 slices white bread without crust.
Place the chicken, stomach up, in a large and deep pan. Pour 2 cups of broth into the pan and slowly bring it to a simmer. The chicken breasts will be cooked by steam while the legs will be immersed in the broth. Cover the pan and let it boil for an hour or until the chicken becomes tender. Take the chicken out and keep it hot. Continue boiling the broth until it has reduced to 1 cup. Wash the romaine lettuce in cold water and dry it. Melt the butter in a casserole and add the peas, cook over a low flame for a few minutes without letting the peas brown. Add the water, sugar, salt, pepper and lastly the lettuce. Cover the casserole and let cook for 5 minutes until the peas are soft. Shred or grate the bread. Bring the remaining broth back to a boil and add the bread, then cook until it takes on the consistency of semolina. When the chicken is done, place it on top of the lettuce and peas. Pour the bread and broth sauce onto the chicken and serve.
Boston Stewed Beans - Fannie Farmer, United States, 1857-1915
1kg dried beans, 250g dried salted pork, 1 spoon salt, 1 spoon molasses, 3 spoons sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons powdered mustard.
Keep the beans in water overnight, then start cooking them, bringing the water slowly to a simmer. Let simmer for about 2 and a half hours. Preheat the oven to 120 C /250 F. Slightly boil the pork by putting it in cold water and then bringing it to a boil. Dry it off, then make a few deep cuts into the pigskin about 1.5cm apart and cut off a thin slice from the bottom. Dry the beans, throw out the water. Place the pork at the bottom of the pot in which you cooked the beans (or a casserole if you prefer), then cover it with the beans while keeping the pigskin uncovered (the pot should be almost full). Mix the salt, molasses, sugar and mustard in a cup of water. Add boiling water to cover them, put the lid and place in a pre-heated oven and bake for 6-8 ore, removing the lid for the last two hours.
Muffins - Isabella Beeton, English, 1836-1865
180g butter, 250g flour, 120g sugar, 1¼ milk, 2 egg yolks, a few drops of lemon extract, 1½ spoons powdered yeast, 12 muffin forms.
Preparation: Grease the muffin forms and heat in a preheated oven (190C/375F). Cut the butter to pieces, place it in a bain marie and mix until it becomes creamy but not melted. Take it off the heat and add flour and sugar, mixing all the while. Let the milk reach near room temperature then mix it the with egg yolks and lemon extract. Pour the milk-based mixture in with the flour-mixture, add the powdered yeast and whisk for about 10 minutes. Place the resulting dough in the muffin forms and bake in a preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes or until the muffins are firm and golden brown.
Stuffed Tomatoes - Francesco Leonardi, Italian, active 1750-1790
1kg medium-sized tomatoes, 2 slices of pancetta, 2 slices of prosciutto cotto, 150g boiled chicken meat, 10g bread with no crust, 80g grated parmesan cheese, 3 egg yolks, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 cup broth, salt and pepper
Preparation for this antique recipe: Wash and dry the tomatoes. Remove their core and seeds with a teaspoon. Soak the bread in water, strain it and place it in a bowl. Mince the chicken meat and then mix it with the butter (softened), parmesan and the egg yolks. Add abundant salt and pepper then mix well. Finely chop the onion, the pancetta, the prosciutto and the carrot. Spread half of each over the bottom of a casserole dish, place the tomatoes on top with the hole face down. Cover them with the remaining chopped ingredients, add salt and pepper and wet with the broth. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200?C/400?F. Arrange the tomatoes on a serving plate and cover them with the chopped ingredients from the bottom of the casserole and serve either hot or at room temperature.
David Russo, VMD, PhD
Veterinary Scientist, Gourmet Lover and Amateur Cook
GOURMET MEATS AND SEAFOOD