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History Cookbook: Grilled Trout (Neolithic)

This recipe is in categories Baking, Main courses, Prehistoric
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  • Grilled Trout
    Grilled Trout
About this recipe
Healthiness : (205 votes)
Difficulty:  4 out of 5 difficulty
View a modern version of this recipe

Fish was an important part of the hunter-gatherer diet, providing protein and many other nutrients. It was also probably more easily caught than many land animals.

It was often cooked, skewered over a fire, as in this podcast, but also sometimes baked in clay, which more easily kept it whole. 

Marsh samphire, used in this recipe, can be found growing wild near the sea; it is tasty and succulent and often gathered to this day as a vegetable.

With thanks to Steve and Jo Parish  of Past Alive for their help with this podcast.

  • 1 trout per person, gutted
  • a little salt
  • unsalted butter
  • samphire
  • 5 sharpened, peeled hazel sticks
  • a bunch of marsh samphire
  • Large knife
  • Hazel sticks
  • Wooden cooking frame
  • Wooden serving bowl
  • Wooden surface or board for preparing ingredients
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Split open the trout with a knife from below the gills to the tail
  2. Pull the sides open to flatten the fish out, this will allow it to cook evenly
  3. Thread three hazel sticks horizontally in and out of the fish, one at the neck, one towards the tail and one at the middle. Push the sticks through the fishes side, going just under the spine and out through the other side. This will keep the fish open and flat
  4. Thread the last 2 sticks vertically down the sides of the fish, going under and over the sticks already put in. The sticks will allow you to handle the fish easily over the fire
  5. Rub a little salt and butter on the fish
  6. Place the fish on the wooden frame angled over the fire to cook
  7. Lay the samphire above the fish, dotted with butter to cook
  8. The flesh will be firm and pink when cooked. Use the sticks to remove the fish from the fire
  9. Carefully remove the samphire
  10. Eat hot or cold
Grilled Trout (Neolithic) - print view  Grilled Trout (Neolithic) - print view

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There are 2 comments for this recipe.
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Name: Donadela 26th November 2012
Very nice, but how authentic is Neolithic butter? Wouldn't they use animal fat, if anything? There is evidence that Neolithic peoples in Switzerland were involved in dairy, milking goats etc. It is impossible to be sure exactly what was done with this milk but both souring and churning are very simple processes. We do our best to make our historical recipes as accurate as we can and always welcome comments about them. By all means use fat if you feel it would be more commonly available. The Cookit Team
Name: Jiri 19th March 2012
These pictures remind me of that Brad Pitt movie, A River Runs Through It. I think they were flyfishers, but it looked similar. I remember loving watching those scenes, something kinda spiritual about it all somehow. Maybe that sounds silly, but your images evoke that same kind of feel. Great work.
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