I love to eat fish but the problem is that where I live we don’t have many grocery stores here and only one place where I want to buy fresh fish. The selection of the fishes is usually very limited and the fresh fish counter is not open on Sunday, which is the best day for me to cook. And I don’t buy fresh fish to storage. I always make them at the same day I have bought them. With no exceptions there are always some fresh water and salt water salmon to buy. Usually there are also some Baltic herring at sale. If I am lucky there are pike perch and/ or European fresh water whitefish (Finnish: Siika). Also they have started selling pangasius fish, which in my opinion doesn’t taste like fish at all and it is from Asia. Very rarely there are other fresh fishes at sale (but you cannot know what is on sale at advance, which makes the planning hard).

So making medieval fish dishes at home for me is quite complicated if I want to use the exact fish that has been mentioned on the manuscript text. One solution for the problem is to try to use as similar as possible fish to the dish (for example if the recipe calls fish that is oily, use oily fish not white flesh fish which is less oily) or one solution is to ignore the type of fish.

This recipe is actually called ”Barbel boiled”. I think that I have never tasted barbel before. I chose to use salmon instead of barbel. I will post the recipes for the two sauces that I made for the fish later :).

Salmon boyled (serves 3)

Harleian MS. 4016, Volume II

Take a barbel, and cut him, and draw him round; And pick in the nape of the head and seethe him in water and salt, Ale and parsley. And when it begins boil, skim in clean, and cast the barbel thereto, And seethe him. And his sauce is garlic or green sauce, And then serve him forth.

500 g salmon

½ l ale

water enough to cover rest of the fish

lots of salt


lots of fresh parsley

In large pot bring ale and water to boil. Season with salt and pepper. Cut salmon in three portions. When the liquid boils add salmon pieces and fresh parsley (you don’t have to chop the parsley). Boil 15-20 minutes in low heat until the fish is done.  Remove the fish from the liquid to the serving platter and serve with sauces.