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Green isn't a common color for modern sauces, but it was a very popular color in medieval cooking. This particular sauce is a typical example of what was apparently the preferred shade of green - one tinted with yellow, sometimes called "vertgay". It's flavor might be a bit too sharp for some, but that can be helped by replacing some or all of the vinegar with more white wine.

4 slices bread
1/2 cup fresh mint
1 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup vinegar
1 cup white wine
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. pepper
pinch saffron

Grind the mint and parsley well, adding a little of the wine if necessary. Place in a bowl with the rest of the wine and the vinegar, and the bread. Allow to steep for ten or fifteen minutes, until the bread has turned to mush. Strain into a saucepan, pressing out as much of the liquid as possible, and discard the solids. If the color is not as green as you'd like, grind more parsley and mint with wine and strain into the pan. Add remaining spices and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer until it thickens.

Source [Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, T. Austin (ed.)]: Sauce Verte. Take parcely, Mintes, Betany, Peleter, and grinde hem smale; And take faire brede, and stepe hit in vinegre, and drawe it thorgh a streynour, and cast thereto pouder of peper, salt, and serue it forth.

Source [Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, T. Austin (ed.)]: Sauce vert. Take percely, myntes, diteyne, peletre, a foil or .ij. of costmarye, a cloue of garleke. And take faire brede, and stepe it with vynegre and piper, and salt; and grynde al this to-gedre, and tempre it vp with wynegre, or with eisel, and serue it forthe.

Source [Liber cure cocorum, T. Gloning (ed.)]: Pur verde sawce. Take persole, peletre an oyns, and grynde, Take whyte bred myude by kynde, Temper alle up with venegur or wyne, Force hit with powder of peper fyne.

Source [Forme of Cury, S. Pegge (ed.)]: VERDE SAWSE. XX.VII. Take parsel. mynt. garlek. a litul serpell and sawge, a litul canel. gyngur. piper. wyne. brede. vynegur & salt grynde it smal with safroun & messe it forth.

Source [A Noble Boke off Cookry (Holkham MSS 674), R. Napier (ed.)]: To mak vert sauce tak parslye mynte sorell cyves and sauce alone then tak bred and step it in venygar do ther to peper and salt and grind them and temper them upe and serue it.

Source [Le Viandier de Taillevent, J. Prescott (trans.)]: Green Sauce. Take bread, parsley and ginger, crush well, and steep in verjuice and vinegar.

Published: May 10, 2008



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