Culina Quarantina: A Series of Roman Recipes
By Alicia Lopez
Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and baking to help pass the time in quarantine, so I decided to look into what cooking would have been like in Ancient Rome. Here are some of my favorite ancient recipes to help get you through quarantine. Bonam fortunam!
Dill Chicken (serves 2)
Loosely based on Apicius’ De Re Coquinaria book V recipe #235
In pullo elixo ius crudum: adicies in mortarium anethi semen, mentam siccam, laseris radicem, suffundis acetum, adicies caryotam, refundis liquamen, sinapis modicum et oleum, defrito temperas et sic mittis.
“Put in the mortar dill seed, dry mint, laser root, moisten with vinegar, fig wine, broth, a little mustard, oil and reduced must, and serve.”
- Handful of Fresh Dill
- Handful of Fresh Mint
- 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Liquamen
- 5 Dried Dates
- 1 tbsp Wholegrain Mustard
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Caroenum
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- Add the dates to a mortar, removing the stones if there are any. Add just enough water to cover the dates, then crush with a pestle to form a date paste.
- Wash the dill and mint leaves. Chop them finely, or tear apart and add to the mortar alongside red wine vinegar, liquamen, mustard, and caroenum/balsamic glaze. Crush everything until it is well mixed.
- Dice the chicken into bite-size pieces. You’re going to cook the chicken using the hob, so heat the oil in a saucepan/frying pan/casserole/earthenware dish. When it is hot enough, add the chicken pieces and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the dill sauce to the pot, mix everything together, and cook on a low heat for 15-20 minutes. If you have a lid, use it to keep moisture in. If not, add a bit of water if it starts to look too dry. The sauce should be quite thick, so don’t add too much water.
Alicia Lopez (College ’23) is a student at the University of Pennsylvania studying Classical Studies and English.