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Old-time Dutch cod with capers


For two:


’Old-time Dutch’ since I found this recipe in De volmaakte Hollandse Keuken Meid (1761, The Perfect Dutch Kitchen Maid). The author writes in lovely old Dutch:

Neemt wel gereinigde levendige (= verse) Kabbeljaauw en snyd die in mooten; zout het water terdege en kookt ze, en eet die … met boter, die men met een weinigje koud water om te binden al roerende op het vuur laat smelten. En dan doet men er … eindelyk wat kappers en limoensap op’ (Take a well-cleaned fresh cod, cut it in pieces; pour a liberal amount of salt into the water and cook it, eat the fish … with butter, which you melt on the fire with some water to bind it. And in .. the end put some capers and lemon juice on it).

So I ask the fish monger at the stall for pieces of cod. His anwer: “You are right, fish on the bone is much tastier, but nobody wants to buy it these days.” So I come home with thick fillets, strangely enough called haasjes (tenderloin !) here.

Did people know about capers at the time? For sure. We  find this flower bud in Cruijdeboeck (Book of herbs, 1554) written by Dodonaeus, who lived in Gent (Belgium), then part of our country. Andrew Dalby (Food in the Ancient World, 2003) even states that Kappari (capparis spinosa) were gathered as early as 7000 BCE, as is evident from discoveries in the cave of Franchthi (Aeolian sea).

Wine: Sauvignon blanc


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