A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

Sauce Pour Lamprey

PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS. 4016 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Blood Sauce for Fish


Take a quyk lamprey, And lete him blode at the nauell, And lete him blode in an earthen potte; And scalde him with hey, and wassh him clene, and put him [on a spitte;] and sette the vessell with the blode vnder the lamprey while he rosteth, And kepe the licoure that droppeth oute of him; And then take oynons, and myce hem small, And put hem yn a vessell with wyne or water, And let hem parboyle right well; And then take awey the water, and put hem in a faire vessell; And then take pouder of Canell and wyne, And drawe hem thorgh a streynour, and cast [hit to] the oynons, and set ouer the fire, and lete hem boyle; And cast a litull vinegre and parcely there-to, and a litul peper; And then take the blode and the dropping of the lamprey, and cast thereto [& lete buille to-gedrys till it be a litell thykke, & cast thereto] pouder ginger, vynegre, salt, and a litull saffron; And whan the lamprey is rosted ynowe, ley him in a faire chargeour, And caste all the sauce apon him, And so serue him forth.

- Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888.


  • 2 to 3 pounds of whole fish
  • 1 C dry wine
  • 1/2 C white bread crumbs (optional if using blood)
  • 1/4 C fresh fish blood
  • 1/4 C juice from roasting pan
  • 1 T wine vinegar
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced
  • 1 T parsley, finely minced
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. saffron
  • Salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Clean the fish, reserving one quarter cup of fish blood or minced liver.

3. Put the fish in a covered roasting pan, and put it in the oven. Bake for twenty to thirty minutes, or until the fish flakes. Remove from the oven.

4. Pour off and reserve one quarter cup of juice from the bottom of the roasting pan.

5. In a saucepan, over high heat, bring water to a boil. Add the minced onions and boil them for five minutes. Strain out the onions and reserve.

6. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine wine and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring frequently until the mixture gets viscous.

7. Stir in the juice from the pan, boiled onions, parsley, blood or liver, (or bread crumbs in place of blood), pepper, saffron and salt.  Simmer, stirring frequently, for ten minutes.

8. Place the fish on a serving platter and pour the sauce over it.

Yields about one and one half cups of sauce.

Serves four to six.


The portions of this recipe in square brackets are interpolated from Douce MS 55. This is an expansion of the galantine sauce theme; this one adds blood and drippings for thickening and flavor. If you choose not to use fresh fish blood, you may thicken this sauce with a little bread. I bake the fish in a pan rather than spit roast it.

Sauce Pour Lamprey is featured in Servise on a Fisshe Day

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

A Boke of Gode CookeryRecipes from A Newe Boke of Olde Cokery

Sauce Pour Lamprey © 2002 Rudd Rayfield | This page © 2002 James L. Matterer

A Newe Boke of Olde Cokery

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