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Roman recipes
Patina de apua fricta
(Patina of fresh sardines/anchovies)

Patina de apua fricta

by Apicius IV, II, 147

This is a traditional Ancient Roman recipe for a classic dish of anchovies dipped in eggs that are finished by cooking in a mix of olive oil, white wine and fish stock. Sometimes you see this recipe made with eggs by modern chefs... up to you.

Original recipe: Apuam lauas, oua confringes et cum apua commisces. Adicies liquamen, uinum, oleum, facies ut ferueat et, cum ferbuerit, mittes apuam. Cum duxerit, subtiliter uersas. Facies ut coloret, oenogarum simplex perfundes, piper asparges et inferes.

Translation: Sardine loaf (or omelette) is made in this manner: clean the sardines of skin and bones; break and beat eggs and mix with half of the fish; add to this some garum, wine and oil, and finish the composition by heating it. When done to a point, add the remaining part of the sardines to it, let it stand a while over a slow fire to congeal; carefully turn over, dish it up, mask with a warm4 wine sauce, sprinkle with pepper and serve.


  • Fresh Anchovies or other small oily fish
  • 2 eggs
  • Garum
  • 1/2 glass of wine
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • pepper to taste


  • Wash and gut the fish.
  • Dip them in the beaten egg and fry at high heat in a pan in the olive oil, turning once they are brown on one side.
  • When both sides are brown pour off the excess oil add the wine and garum to the pan. Reduce this sauce by half.
  • Turn out into a serving platter and grind plenty of black pepper over and serve.
  • Do not over cook the fish or they will fall apart.
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