Lamprey Pie

    • 308 posts
    April 28, 2012 6:18 PM BST

    Here we go girls, and I would like to know if the UK ladies know about this. I read this in the paper yesterday, with the recipe. It is not quite something that I think I would try. I guess I have been to far removed from the UK culture through the generations of my family.


    Sea lamprey may be one of the most hated species in the Great Lakes, but it's a key ingredient in a traditional English pie that will be given to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II for her Diamond Jubilee in June.


    A simple recipe for lamprey pie from a cookbook printed in 1672 in London:

    To make a lamprey pie:

    Take your lamprey and gut him, and take away the black string in the back, wash him very well, and dry him, and season him with nutmeg, pepper and salt, then lay him into your pie in pieces with butter in the bottom, and some shelots and bay leaves and more butter, so close it and bake it, and fill it up with melted butter, and keep it cold, and serve it with some mustard and sugar.


    Modern recipe>>>>>>>>>>


    'Lamprays Bake'


    This is a translation into modern measurements from an old English recipe from the 15th Century called “Lamprays Bake” from “A New Boke of Olde Cokery,” a collection of medieval recipes by Rudd Rayfield.

    Pastry dough for nine-inch pie crust

    1 pound eel, catfish, or other fish filets

    1/2 C brown bread crumbs (1/3 C if blood is used)

    1/4 C wine vinegar (2T if blood is used)

    1/4 C fresh eel or fish blood (optional)

    1/4 C dry wine

    1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and black pepper

    Salt to taste


    1 C sweet wine

    1/4 tsp. powdered ginger

    3 slices firm white bread

    1 T brown sugar, or to taste

    1. Preheat oven to 400°.

    2. Line a pie pan with the crust, and put it in the oven for ten to fifteen minutes to harden it. Remove it, and reduce oven temperature to 350°.

    3. In a bowl, combine bread crumbs, vinegar, dry wine, cinnamon, salt and pepper (and blood if it is used).

    4. Place the eels or fish in the pie crust, and pour the sauce over them. Cover the pie with heavy aluminum foil, with a few holes poked in it. Put the pie in the oven, and bake it for half an hour to forty-five minutes, or until the eels or fish are done. Remove it, and allow it to cool.

    5. Remove the foil from the pie, and carefully remove the eels or fish from the pie, and arrange them on a serving dish.

    6. In a saucepan, over low heat, combine half of the sweet wine with the ginger and brown sugar. Carefully pour the sauce remaining in the bottom of the pie crust into the saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil, and simmer, stirring frequently, for about five minutes.

    7. Line the bottom of the pie crust with the slices of white bread, and pour over them the remaining sweet wine. Then pour the hot syrup over the bread and wine, and serve the sops in the crust, and the eels or fish separately.

    Serves six to eight.


    NOTES ON THE RECIPE: This pie is simply the container in which the eel (or fish) is baked; it is removed from the crust for serving, but then a sop of bread and spiced wine is put in the empty crust, and that is served separately. The sauce for this dish is similar to the blood sauce for fish, Sauce Pour Lamprey, but I have adapted it so that the blood is optional. Feel free to add it if you have access to fish blood. I also cover the pie with aluminum foil to bake, rather than a second crust, since the cover needs to be removed to get the eels (or fish) out anyway. I add sugar to the wine sops, which helps a great deal.