Patina de Asparagis Frigida
Asparagus and Figpecker Patina
IV quail (or chicken breasts)
IV 1/2 lb.
For the sauce:
I Tbs. garum
I Tbs. Wine
I Tbs. passum
II Tbs. olive oil
The Romans considered Figpeckers, songbirds with thin
beaks, particularly delicious fare. Because they are
obviously hard to find today, you can use quail or
chicken breasts in their place.
The recipe assumes that the plucked and cleaned birds
have been half-cooked before they are arranged on the
bottom of an ovenproof dish.
Prepare the sauce as described above: grind the
pepper, add the garum
and mix; follow with the wine, passum,
and olive oil, and heat.
Boil, drain, and strain the asparagus. Beat VI eggs
well and mix with the asparagus. Then add the sauce and
mix well. Pour this mixture over the birds and bake at
375 F. for XXV-XXX minutes.
This dish may also be served cold, as its Latin title
Olive Paste on Toast Points
Pit olives, then mix in a blender with the herbs,
olive oil, and vinegar. Avoid the temptation to add any
salt, since the olives we buy today are already
The Greeks and Romans ate this olive paste together
with cheese, whence the derivation of its name
(epityrum = over cheese). Varro (De lingua Latina
7, 86) described it as a Greek recipe, and Columella
(12, 49, 9) suggested that the olives be seasoned with
salt, lentiscus, rue, and fennel.
Olive paste is available for sale today, so you can
purchase it instead if you are pressed for time.
However, it is far more aromatic and flavorful if you
make it from scratch.
You can serve this olive paste following ancient
custom, that is, as an appetizer together with ricotta
or other fresh cheese; or you can spread it on small
slices of toast. In this latter case, you should offer
both green and black olive paste to make a more
-- from A Taste of
Ancient Rome, by Ilaria Gozzini