Original Recipe From The Compleat Angler (1653)

"Too good a dish for any but anglers - and honest men.'

You will need

  • a pike - a fish of 1.5kgs will feed four people well. 
  • oysters - you need a pack of our shelled oysters and you'll have plenty left over. Perhaps, after defrosting and draining, you should soak in wine vinegar
  • whole anchovies
  • 1lb/450g salted butter
  • thyme
  • marjoram
  • winter savory  (perhaps you could get by with summer savory)
  • mace
  • garlic (optional -see end of recipe)
  • a bottle of red wine
  • four oranges
  • laths and tape (see link below)


"First, open your Pike at the gills, and if need be, cut also a little slit towards his belly; out of these take his guts, and keep his liver, which you are to shred very small with Thyme, Sweet-marjoram and a little Winter Savory; to these put some pickled Oysters, and some Anchovies two or three, both these last whole (for the Anchovies will melt, and the Oysters should not); to these you must add also a pound of sweet butter, which you are to mix with the herbs that are shred, and let them all be well salted (if the Pike be more than a yard long, then you may put into these herbs more than a pound, or if he be less, then less Butter will suffice): these being thus mixt with a blade or two of Mace, must be put into the Pike's belly, and then his belly sowed up as to keep all the Butter in his belly if it be possible, if not, then as much of it as you possibly can, but take not off the scales; then you are to thrust the spit through his mouth out at his tail, and then with four, or five, or six split sticks, or very thin lathes, and a convenient quantity of Tape or Filliting, these lathes are to be tied round about the Pike's body from his head to his tail, and the Tape tyed somewhat thick to prevent his breaking or falling off from the spit, let him be roasted very leisurely, and often basted with Claret wine, and Anchovies, and Butter mixed together, and also with what moisture falls from him into the pan: when you have roasted him sufficiently you are to hold under him (when you unwind or cut the Tape that tyes him) such a dish as you purpose to eat him out of; and let him fall into it with the sauce that is roasted in his belly, and by this means the Pike will be kept unbroken and compleat: then to the sauce, which was within, and also in the pan, you are to adde a fit quantity of the best Butter, and to squeeze the juyce of three or four Oranges: lastly, you may either put into the Pike with the Oysters, two cloves of Garlic, and take it whole out, when the Pike is cut off the spit, or to give the sauce a hogo, let the dish (into which you let the Pike fall) be rubbed with it: the using or not using of this Garlic is left to your discretion."

Hogo? We don't think he was using it in exactly this sense

For further inspiration, have a look at this page on a delightful website called Food History Jottings. it includes photographs of the pike all bound up in thin laths and tape. One day, I shall make this dish.

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