“Grisel reappeared before he could say more, balancing a large platter. She set it down between them. There were apples and pears and pomegranates, some sad-looking grapes, a huge blood orange. The old woman had brought a round of bread as well, and a crock of butter. Petyr cut a pomegranate in two with his dagger, offering half to Sansa.” -A Storm of Swords
Grisel’s Finger Foods
I wasn’t sure at first if this meal warranted a post. Although the array of fruit sounds good, simple bread, butter, and fruit don’t generally stand out as memorable. But then I started to wonder what sort of bread one might find on the Fingers. The unnamed keep that serves as the paltry holdfast for House Baelish overlooks the Narrow Sea, so I though, Why not try a seaweed bread? Along with some homemade butter, of course.
I had my doubts initially, but was surprised by the bread! It has a nice texture, crumbly yet relatively dense. The seaweed is hardly noticeable, and if I didn’t know it was there, wouldn’t guess. In fact, next time, I might even add more. There is a very subtle salty sea flavor that compliments the more rustic flours. With a little homemade butter and a sprinkling of sea salt, it’s downright delicious. It’s also a good way to get a little more green veg in one’s daily diet, even when living in a meager hovel on The Fingers.
Make it at Home:
Cook’s Notes: I don’t recommend splitting the pomegranate in half with a knife as Littlefinger does. This tends to cause a spattered, juicy mess. Instead, peel the pomegranate under water: the pesky bits of skin should float to the surface, leaving you with the tasty seeds.
- a large blood orange
- Seaweed Bread (recipe below)
- Homemade Butter (recipe below)
Arrange all elements of meal on a platter, and enjoy your tasty repast!
- 1/4 cup dried wakame seaweed
- 1 tsp. instant dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 1/2 cup hearty flour, such as rye or buckwheat
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Reconstitute the seaweed in several cups of hot water. Rinse several times. When it’s fully rehydrated, blitz in a food processor until the seaweed is reduced to small specks. Strain out the water, and add the warm seaweed puree to a large bowl; you should have about 1/2 cup seaweed mush.
To this add the honey, 2 cups warm water, salt, and yeast. Gradually begin stirring in the flour a bit at a time. The dough should be a thick, gloopy consistency, like very thick oatmeal.
Butter a bread loaf pan, and pour in the dough mixture. With a wet hand, smooth the top of the bread evenly. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a little salt, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise for at least an hour: it should gain about half again as much in volume.
Bake bread for around 35-40 minutes at 400F. It should be lightly brown, and sound hollow when tapped. Allow to cool before slicing and enjoying.
Cook’s Note: This is a labor intensive part of the recipe. Share out the task among those expecting to eat the bread. Butter tax!
- 1 pint heavy cream, very cold
- Pinch salt, optional
Pour cream into a large jar with a tight-fitting lid; the cream should about half fill the jar. Seal and begin to shake. You’ll need to shake for anywhere from 15-30 minutes, so it’s good to take turns with a friend. When the liquid has formed chunks of butter, strain the contents of the jar into a bowl. The liquid is buttermilk, the solids are butter. Rinse the butter under cold water to make sure there is no buttermilk left on it, which would sour the butter. Consider using the buttermilk as a side to Sweet Biscuits, as Sansa did to settle her stomach when she was nervous. It can also be used in a variety of other recipes.
Using a fork or spoon, press the lumps of butter together. If you like, add a little salt, which will help it keep longer. Move the finished butter into a clean container and refrigerate.