Renaissance Pork Tenderloin with Garlic Sauce


Today we prepare pork tenderloin served with an aromatic garlic sauce from Bartolomeo Scappi’s cookbook, one of the most famous cooks of the Italian Renaissance, who worked at Rome during the 16th century as the private cook for two popes.
Agliata, that means garlic sauce, was a widely used sauce during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. There were many recipes, anyone different from the others. This is a white sauce prepared with walnuts, almonds, and fresh ginger, a little spiced and delicious.
Below, you find the original recipes and the English translation with a note about ingredients and method.

1 pork tenderloin
pork caul fat
spices (black pepper, coriander seeds)
coarse sea salt
1 slice of bread
chicken broth
peeled almonds
fresh ginger

Grind in the mortar coriander seeds and coarse sea salt, then add the pepper. Sprinkle the spices on the tenderloin and wrap it in the caul fat, then skewer it. Put the tenderloin on the charcoal turning it often.
Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Pound in the mortar the ginger after peeling and mincing it, add two parboiled garlic cloves and one raw clove, and grind with the almonds and walnuts. Soak a few breadcrumbs in broth and add them in the mortar, pounding all together with a little broth.
When the tenderloin is done, serve it coated with the garlic sauce.

Pork Tenderloin and Garlic Sauce - Renaissance Recipe 2.jpg

Note about the text
Bartolomeo Scappi doesn’t specify what sauce has to be paired with his tenderloin recipe, he just says that it ought to be served coated with some sauce. We chose this agliata because it is delicious to accompany spit-roast pork meat.
The author prefers using fresh walnuts and almonds for this recipe, but says also in other parts of his book that they can be substituted with dry ones.
We changed a little the ratio of the ingredients for the sauce to adjust the recipe to a smaller quantity.
You can use meat or fish broth, the author writes, according to your taste.
Black pepper, coriander seeds, and ginger, both fresh and dry, are among the most common spices used during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Pork Tenderloin and Garlic Sauce - Renaissance Recipe

Original text
Per fare agliata con noci fresche et amandole. Piglionsi sei once di noci fresche monde, et quattro di mandole ambrosine fresche, et sei spigoli di aglio perlessati et uno et mezo crudo, et pestinosi nel mortaro con quattro once di mollica di pane insuppata in brodo di carne o di pesce, che non sia troppo salato, et come saranno peste, pongavosi un quarto di genegevero fresco. Questo sapore essendo ben pesto, non occorrerà che sia passato, ma solamente stemperato con uno dei suddetti brodi.

Per fare il lomboletto di porco domestico […]. Quando il lomboletto sarà di porco giovane, si potrà spolverizzare di sale, pitartamo pesto, et pepe ammaccato, et involgersi in una rete, et cuocersi nello spedo, et servirsi caldo con alcun sapor sopra.

To make agliata with fresh walnuts and almonds. Take six ounces peeled fresh walnuts and four fresh ambrosine almonds, and six parboiled cloves of garlic and one and a half raw. Pound them in the mortar with four ounces of breadcrumbs soaked in meat or fish broth, not too salty. When they will be well pounded, add a quarter of one ounce of fresh ginger.
Being this sauce well pounded, it will be unnecessary sieve it; just mix it with one of the aforementioned broths.

To make domestic pork tenderloin […]. If you have young pork tenderloin, you may sprinkle it with salt, ground coriander seeds, and pounded black pepper. Wrap in caul fat and skewer it. Serve it hot coated with a sauce.

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