Sunday, July 16, 2017

Gentlemen's Relish

Gentlemen's Relish (picture from Dabbler via Wikimedia Commons)
Ever heard of Gentlemen's Relish?  I had not, before stumbling across the term on the Internet, but that's probably because it's a British product that doesn't seem to have made its way over the pond.  

According to Wikipedia, it's a seasoned paste made from "anchovies (minimum 60%), butter, herbs and spices," and "[i]t has a strong, very salty and slightly fishy taste."  It is also called Patum Peperium. The recipe was invented in 1828 by an Englishman named John Osborn, and is presently made by one licensed manufacturer:  Elsenham Quality Foods in Elsenham, England.  EQF also makes two similar products:  Poacher's Relish (same idea using salmon as the base fish) and Angler's Relish (same idea, mackerel-based).  

Gentlemen's Relish (as likely is the case with its more recent derivatives) is typically eaten as a spread on toast, but may also be added to other foods, such as scrambled eggs, Scotch woodcock, mincemeat, or fish cakes.  No doubt other uses could be made of it as well.

Similar fish paste recipes were used in Roman times.  I will be posting about Roman fish sauces, including the famous garum, soon.

EDIT:  (7/16/2017)  For a bit more history of this concoction, go here. Although the recipe used by Elsenham is proprietary, reverse-engineered recipes pop up all over the Interest, the location of which is left as an exercise to the interested reader. 

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