Garum (Fish Sauce) Completed

PREVIOUSLY ON ANTHROCHEF!. . . .

We started a batch of what the Romans called Garum, a delicacy across Ancient cultures: fish sauce! The gross way to say it? Fermented fish guts.

(NOTE: In a couple weeks, I will merge this post with part 1 into one post)

It’s been almost 8 weeks. My layers of salted, chopped sardines have been fermenting in the fridge, their essence dissolving in salt, for 8 weeks.  This could go for much longer, but I think it’s ready to strain and try!

I made Liquid Gold:20190124_125250.jpg

Line a mesh strainer with two double layers (yes, a lot) of cheese cloth, pouring in the fish mixture. It will take a long time to strain this way, but you will be rewarded with a cleaner sauce. Feel free to stir to help the process along.

I HIGHLY suggest doing this outside!

And that’s it! The end result is a sauce that’s similar, but also distinct from fish sauce bought in the store.  It’s actually less fishy, with more of a delicious, meaty, umami blast of saltiness.  It’s great in stirfries, mixed with other things into dipping sauces, or added just a couple drops at a time to nearly anything to give great depth of flavor.  It’s no wonder civilizations across history and geography have all enjoyed their own versions of garum.

Homemade Garum (Fish Sauce) — PART 1

If I had to name just one ingredient that was key to the ancient world’s cuisine, it might be fish sauce.

All you need are fish and a lot of salt.   An ingenious method of food preservation, its invention too deep in the past to ever know, alongside other legendary foods of yore like bread, beer, and cheese.

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From Sumer onwards, almost all civilizations seem to have made the stuff.  But it was the Romans who called it “garum” and recorded it into history.   Fish sauce could be made at home by poor fishermen families, but there was also a highly expensive market for the very finest vintages of garum. Whatever quality, you can’t make Roman cuisine without it.

Continue reading “Homemade Garum (Fish Sauce) — PART 1”