From Head to Tale Explores 500 Years of Seafood

From Head to Tale cover cookbook

From Head to Tale is a seafood cookbook that explores five centuries of Western seafood history. Learn which species of fish and shellfish have remained popular through the centuries. Each chapter focuses on a particular species and includes information and its history as a food fish. From Head to Tale will show how ingredients, cooking methods and even recipe formats evolved over time. While some of these recipes are fairly archaic, many of them sound delicious even today.

From Head to Tale: A Journey through Western Culinary History

Recipes included range from timeless classics to forgotten Medieval dishes. From Head to Tale will reveal a trove of culinary delights that any seafood lover will enjoy.

From head to tale codfish

From Head to Tale includes over four hundred recipes, arranged chronologically by species, including recipes for appetizers, salads, soups and sauces. The cookbook also contains dozens of historic seafood images ranging from fine art to vintage advertising.

Historic Recipe: To Make a Bisk with Carps and Other Several Fishes (1685)

Make the corbolion for the Bisk of some Jacks or small Carps boil’d in half white-wine and fair spring-water; some cloves, salt, and mace, boil it down to jelly, strain it, and keep it warm for to scald the bisk.

Then take four carps, four tenches, four perches, two pikes, two eels flayed and drawn; the carps being scalded, drawn, and cut into quarters, the tenches scalded and left whole, also the pearches and the pikes all finely scalded, cleansed, and cut into twelve pieces, three of each side, then put them into a large stewing-pan with three quarts of claret-wine, an ounce of large mace, a quarter of an ounce of cloves, half an ounce of pepper, a quarter of an ounce of ginger pared & slic’t, sweet herbs chopped small, as stripped time, savory, sweet marjoram, parsley, rosemary, three or four bay-leaves, salt, chesnuts, pistaches, five or six great onions, and stew all together on a quick fire.

Then stew a pottle of oysters the greatest you can get, parboil them in their own liquor, cleanse them from the dregs, and wash them in warm water from the grounds and shells, put them into a pipkin with three or four great onions peeled, then take large mace, and a little of their own liquor, or a little wine vinegar, or white wine. Next take twelve flounders being drawn and cleansed from the guts, fry them in clarified butter with a hundred of large smelts, being fryed stew them in a stew-pan with claret-wine, grated nutmeg, slic’t orange, butter, and salt.

Then have a hundred of prawns, boiled, picked, and buttered, or fryed. Next, bottoms of artichocks, boiled, blanched, and put in beaten butter, grated nutmeg, salt, white-wine, skirrets2, and sparagus in the foresaid sauce.

Then mince a pike and an eel, cleanse them, and season them with cloves, mace, pepper, salt, some sweet herbs minct, some pistaches, barberries, grapes, or gooseberries, some grated manchet, and yolks of raw eggs, mingle all the foresaid things together, and make it into balls, or farse some cabbidge lettice, and bake the balls in an oven, being baked stick the balls with pine-apple seeds, and pistaches, as also the lettice.

Then all the foresaid things being made ready, have a large clean scowred dish, with large sops of French bread lay the carps upon them, and between them some tench, pearch, pike, and eels, & the stewed oysteres all over the other fish, then the fried flounders & smelts over the oysters, then the balls & lettice stuck with pistaches, the artichocks, skirrets, sparagus, butter prawns, yolks of hard eggs, large mace, fryed smelts, grapes, slic’t lemon, oranges, red beets or pomegranats, broth it with the leer that was made for it, and run it over with beaten butter.

From Head to Tale: Soups, Stews & Chowders