aliter patina de asparagis: adicies in mortario asparagorum præcisuras quae proiciuntur; teres, suffundes uinum, colas. teres piper ligusticum coriandrum uiridem satureiam cepas uinum liquamen et oleum; sucum transferes in patellam perunctam et si uolueris oua dissolues ad ignem ut obliget. piper minutum asparges.
What was initially attractive about this recipe was that it uses the ends of the asparagus stalk that, typically, you’d throw away. Interestingly, it only uses them to extract their liquid by smashing them in a mortar. You then add wine and strain; add pepper, lovage (which we’ve still chosen to believe is what celery seed is), green coriander, savory, onion, liquamen, and oil, put it all in a dish, add eggs, and cook.
What you get is a wet sort of scrambled egg dish with a slightly disturbing green tinge from the asparagus juice – I reduced it quite a bit which made it solidify, but also probably intensified the liquamen flavor more than was wise. It’s definitely back to the drawing board on the use of liquamen in large, Apicius type quantities. Lucretius’s idea that you can cut the saltiness with honey is nonsense (experts tell me that Lucretius was more successful in negotiating the diametric opposites of atom and void than he was the opposites of bland and salty) – it just turns the liquamen into the fish sauce equivalent of teriyaki.
With the rest of the asparagus, I followed Apicius’s advice: “aspharagos siccabis, sursum in calidam summittas” (dry the asparagus, put it upright in hot water).