A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents


PERIOD: England, late 15th c. | SOURCE: MS Pepys 1047 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Whole fish served in vinegar.

Facsimile of receipt from the original manuscript:

Transcription of original receipt:


Take and lay hym in Water over nyght seth hym and let hym kele and lay hym in vyneAger or yn Aysell (24.1) that sauce is kyndely ther to serue hit furth.

Modern translation:


Take and lay him in water overnight. Boil him and let him cool and lay him in vinegar or in aysell (24.1). That sauce is kindly there to. Serve it forth.

(24.1) Aysell - cider or wine vinegar. See: Austin, p. 128: Eysel, sb., 28; Eysel Wyne, 31. Eisel; wine vinegar. O.F. Aiseil, Eisil. See also: Hieatt and Butler, Curye on Inglisch, p. 169: aysell/eysel n. vinegar, usually cider vinegar.

Modern recipe:

  • 1 sturgeon, or a similarly large fish such as a salmon, etc.
  • cider or wine vinegar
The fish should be gutted and cleaned, but left whole. Place in a large baking dish and add enough water to immerse about 2/3 of the fish. Place in a 375º F oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the fish is thoroughly cooked and flakes when tested with a fork. Remove from pan and place on a large serving platter; pour the vinegar over the sturgeon, allowing the fish to lay in a small amount of the "aysell." Serve immediately.

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