Poached Mullet with Cameline Sauce

Gornault, Rouget, Grimodin

These are three similar types of mullet. Taillevent suggests poaching and serving them with a favorite medieval spiced sauce called cameline, which resembles a relish. Alternatively, he describes how to broil/grill them while basting with verjuice and spices, exactly as fish is barbecued today. Long pepper is a variety of peppercorn, not related to chili peppers which came from the New World about 150 years later.

Clean the stomach of the fish, and wash them well, then put them in the pan, with salt on top, then water, and cook them; and eat them with cameline sauce; or, if you wish, the shoulders should be split along the back, and then wash them, and put them to roast, plunge them often in verjuice and spice powder.

For cameline, pound ginger, plenty of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, mace, long pepper if you like, then sieve bread soaked in vinegar and moisten all and salt it to taste.

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  • 4 mullet or other small fish such as red snapper or trout, 12 oz-1 lb/375-500 g

For the Sauce

  • 4 fl oz/½ cup/125 ml wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 5 slices bread, crusts discarded
  • tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • seeds of 2 cardamom pods, crushed
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground mace
  • ½ tsp pepper and salt


  1. For the sauce: pour the vinegar over the bread and let stand 5 minutes or until soft. Add the cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, mace and pepper and purée the mixture in a food processor; it should be just thick enough to fall from a spoon. Add salt to taste.
  2. Heat the oven to No 4/350°F/175°C. Clean and scale the fish. Wash them thoroughly and dry them on paper towels. Put them in a baking dish, and add salted water to almost cover. Cover with foil or a lid and poach in the oven until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, 20-25 minutes. Drain them on paper towels and serve with the sauce separately.