Apicius 6.2.6 – “Another Recipe for Boiled Crane or Duck” (Green Sauce for Duck)

aliter in grue uel anate elixa: piper ligusticum apii semen erucam et coriandrum mentam careotam; mel acetum liquamen defritum et sinape. idem faciet et [si] in [caccabo] assas.
Apicius – De re coquinaria

Another recipe for boiled crane or duck
Pepper, lovage, celery seed, rocket and coriander, mint, date, honey, vinegar, liquamen, defrutum and mustard. It is equally suitable for roast [or grilled] (birds).

This text and translation are taken from Sally Grainger and Christopher Grocock’s Apicius (2006) (p224-225).

Like many recipes in Apicius, this recipe is just a list of ingredients. Because this can be served with roasted or grilled birds (Grocock and Grainger, 2006, 225), I have interpreted it as a sauce.


3 tbs rocket 15mL wine vinegar 1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbs coriander 15mL fish sauce 1/2 tsp celery seed
2 tbs mint 15mL vino cotto 30mL honey
40g dates 15mL mustard 1 tbs lovage


  1. Finely chop all the herbs.
  2. Finely grind all the
  3. In a mortar and pestle, pound the dates to a paste.
  4. Combine all the other ingredients in the mortar and pestle and combine well into a sauce.
  5. You can also combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulverise.
  6. Serve at room temperature.


  • Lovage is a herb with a very similar taste to celery leaf. Sally Grainger (2006, 23) believes the seeds were more likely to be used than the leaves, as lovage is generally listed among the spices rather than the herbs, but the leaves and seeds have a similar flavour, so if you can’t find the seeds, use the leaves. You will probably have to grow it yourself, but it is easy to grow from seeds, and you can generally find plants at nurseries.
  • Liquamen is a fish sauce, probably thinner in texture than the better known garum. (Grainger, 2005).
  • Careonum is thought to be a syrupy sauce made from boiling down the must left over from wine making (Grainger 2006, 30). This is similar to the modern vino cotto, which I use as a substitute.

Green Sauce for Duck

Further Reading

Click on the links below to order directly from The Book Depository.

Grainger, Sally. “Towards an Authentic Roman Sauce.” 2005 Oxford Food Symposium
Grainger, Sally. Cooking Apicius.
Grocock, Christopher and Grainger, Sally. Apicius.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.