Of simple Fricasese.
Your simple Fricases are Egges and Collups fried, whether the Collops be of Bacon, Ling, Beefe, or young Porke, the frying whereof is to ordinarie, that is needeth not an relation, or the frying of any Flesh or Fish simple of it selfe with Butter or sweere Oyle.
- 1623. Gervase Markham. Covntry Contentment, or The English Huswife. London. p. 63.
To make a Fricace of a good Haddock or Whiting.
First seeth the fish and scum it, and pick out the bones, take Onions and chop them small then fry them in Butter or Oyle till they be enough, and put in your fish, and frye them till it be drye, that doon : serue it forth with powder of Ginger on it.
- 1591. A.W. A Book of Cookrye. London. p. 27.
Ordinary, a fricassee is a dish of meat that is first boiled and then fried. Gervase Markham upsets this apple cart by identifying two sorts of fricassees: simple and compound. Simple fricassees for him are fried meats or fried eggs (some with meat) or plain fried fish. Tansys , fritters and pancakes and quelquechoses are what he is calling compound fricassees, none of which involve a boiling first step.
Since Plimoth is right on the ocean, ocean fish are common on Plimoth tables for half the year – the summer half. One account states that they send a boat out with 5 or 6 men in the morning, and they’re back in a few hours with enough fish to feed the town.
There will be several fish dishes on the bride-ale table on Saturday, including these two fried dishes.
The fricassee with the powdered ginger on top is also very healthy, according to the Doctrine of Humours : the hot, dry ginger counters the effects of eating the cool, wet fish.
And the flavor is divine.