The History Anorak

The History Anorak

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Try a Roman recipe

As I mentioned in my last post we had chance to try authentic Roman food during our trip to the baths in Bath. It was prepared mostly in kebab-style, and the food historian Sally Grainger (you might have seen her on Time Team) cooked it on a huge barbecue.
I tried to follow her chicken recipe last weekend and it came out remarkably well, though I fried it in olive oil, rather than barbecuing. Grilling would also work. 
No quantities, I'm afraid, that was the Roman way. Flavour to taste.


Marinate pieces of chicken in:
mustard, dill, mint, wine, vinegar, olive oil, and  fish sauce*.
Grill, and serve in flatbreads or pitta breads with shredded green salad and a good olive tapenade.

*"Fish sauce" was a ubiquitous Roman ingredient shipped all around the known world in amphorae and used to flavour practically everything they ate. It was like a sloppy Gentleman's Relish and a bit of that mixed into your marinade would be fine. I used two salted anchovies. Don't be too tied down by the rules. Improvise!


  1. Sounds delicious - I'll ask cook to give it a try. Years since I visited the baths at Bath - amazing place, but can't remember too much so thanks for the excellent update. Like the idea of snacking round the pool...maxime bonus!?

  2. Interesting that you used anchovies for fish sauce. I use anchovies a lot to flavour things because they melt down nicely into a mush. Any left I personally adore in a brown bread sandwich!!!

  3. I've tried authentic Roman food though mostly sweet things which are really good. I'm afraid that I can't cope with the thought of fish sauce though knowing precisely what it is:) As I don't like anchovies I haven't got that option either. In Roman times presumably I'd have grown up with it and not been quite so picky:)

    1. Do you use Worcester Sauce? That has anchovies in it. You could try a dash of that instead.


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