Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I made food: Roman-style buttered carrots

This week I decided to make two vegetable dishes from A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook. I've made a couple recipes from this cookbook already and they turned out great. I like how for each dish, the authors give both a modern take and one inspired by a medieval or Roman recipe. It's interesting to see how people in the past cooked differently, especially with respect to seasoning.

Anyway, my first recipe was Roman buttered carrots (from the King's Landing section, if you're interested).

For this recipe, you boil the carrots very briefly, then add raisins, honey, white wine vinegar, melted butter, cumin, and pepper. You roast them in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes, then add a little white wine to deglaze the dish, and you're done!

You can tell by the ingredients that this dish is primarily sweet, but the cumin and pepper prevent it from being too one-note. I think I would use a bit fewer raisins next time, but other than that I liked it!

Looking at the original recipe (from the 4th century cookbook by Apicius, a big source of our knowledge of Roman cooking), it called for parsley, dried mint and lovage (a kind of herb), olive oil instead of butter (of course), and fish sauce, which the Romans put on basically everything. (You can still buy it!) As far as I can tell, it's pretty similar to Asian fish sauce, so I might try adding that next time for a more salty and savory twist on the recipe.

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