As they are with modern Romans, sauces and marinades were an essential element in ancient Roman cuisine. One of the most popular was garum, a salty, aromatic, fish-based sauce. Like so many other Roman treasures, it was borrowed from the ancient Greeks. Apicius used it in all his recipes, and the poet Martial wrote of it: "Accept this exquisite garum, a precious gift made with the first blood spilled from a living mackerel."

Garum is really simple.

Fish, preferably Mackerel, but any 'oily' one will do such as sardines.
Salt and then Herbs; dill, coriander, fennel, mint, oregano, etc.

Layer these starting at the bottom with herbs, fish, salt, herbs, fish, salt, etc.
Fill container(s) with this and let sit in the SUN! After a week to ten days stir/mix every other day for three weeks. Then filter it through coffee filters, or cheese cloth until it looks like a slightly cloudy herb tea.

Use fatty fish, for example, sardines, and a well-sealed (pitched) container with a 26-35 quart capacity. Add dried, aromatic herbs possessing a strong flavor, such as dill, coriander, fennel, celery, mint, oregano, and others, making a layer on the bottom of the container; then put down a layer of fish (if small, leave them whole, if large, use pieces) and over this, add a layer of salt two fingers high. Repeat these layers until the container is filled. Let it rest for seven days in the sun. Then mix the sauce daily for 20 days. After that, it becomes a liquid.

- Gargilius Martialis, De medicina et de virtute herbarum, reprinted from A Taste of Ancient Rome
If you like Roman cooking try :
'A Taste of Ancient Rome' by Ilaria Gozzini Gicosa
ISBN 0-226-29032-8

'Roman Cookery, Ancient Recipes forModern Kitchens' by Mark Grant
ISBN 1-897959-39-7

Thanks to "Lucius Equitius Cincinnatus Augur" (a.k.a. Michael Cope), for sending me this recipe.

More Roman Recipes HERE

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