Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Dinner is Served, Hemingway Style

The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume 1 1907-1922 (on sale September 20) follows the great writer through his youth in Oak Park, Illinois, his experience in World War I and his arrival in Paris. Along the way, he describes some of the food that he loved. Get a taste of the real Hemingway: Have your own dinner party and taste some of Hemingway’s favorite dishes from his early years.


First Course: Tartare of Salmon Two Ways

In his early years in Paris, the restaurant Le Pré aux Clercs was Hemingway’s “regular eating place.” He writes, “Two can get a high grade dinner there, with wine, a la carte for 12 francs.” The menu may be more pricy now, but the classic café atmosphere hasn’t changed much. Try one of the house specialties, this tartare aux deux saumons.

Adapted from Epicurien

1.5 pounds salmon fillet, skin removed
.5 pounds smoked salmon
1 lemon
2 tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flat parsley
1 tablespoon dill
1 tablespoon chives
4 leaves of basil
Capers (for garnish)

Makes 4 servings
Cut both the fresh and smoked salmon into a small dice and place them in a large mixing bowl. Chop the parsley, dill, and chives and add them to the bowl. Add the olive oil and the juice from the lemon. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for one hour.

Peel the tomatoes and cut into small cubes. Chiffonade the basil leaves and toss with the tomatoes in a small bowl. Divide salmon mixture onto four plates, and spoon tomato mixture on top. Garnish with capers, salt, and pepper.

Second Course: Rainbow Trout with Roasted Potatoes and Pea Puree


Even from a young age, fishing was always one of Hemingway’s favorite pastimes, a love immortalized in The Old Man and the Sea. In his letters, he writes most often about catching rainbow trout; fifteen-year-old Hemingway XX about catching rainbow trout in Michigan Fishing was always one of He


Adapted from JamieOliver.com


2 rainbow trout fillets, skin on
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1 pound baby new potatoes
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
5 ounces frozen peas
5-6 leaves fresh mint
2 tablespoons crème fraiche

Makes 4 servings.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut potatoes in half and par-boil for 5 minutes. Drain and place into a roasting tray. Generously drizzle with olive oil and scatter over the thyme, rosemary and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until tender.

Fill a pan with cold water and bring to a boil. Add peas, cook until tender, and drain. Add peas, mint, and crème fraiche to food processor and puree.

Score the skin of the trout fillets and then season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the trout, skin side down, for about 3 minutes, then turn over and cook for a further minute or so until the fish is cooked through. Serve alongside the potatoes and peas.


Third Course: Wild Boar Pie

In 1922, on a trip to the woods north of Paris, Hemingway writes to his father about the wild boar hunting in the country. “I’ve eaten wild boar twice and it is very good,” he notes. “They cook it up into a pasty with carrots and onions and mushrooms and a fine borwn [sic] crust.” Get a similar dish with this wild boar recipe.

Adapted from Al Brown

Canola oil
1 cup celery (medium dice)
1 cup carrot (medium dice)
2 cups onion (medium dice)
2 tablespoons garlic (chopped fine)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme (chopped fine)
1 tbl fresh rosemary (chopped fine)
1 tbl sage (chopped fine)
2 pounds wild boar shoulder (medium dice)
1 cup port
1/4 cup apple juice
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups button mushrooms (quartered)
1/8 cup butter
1/8 cup flour
800 gms puff pastry
2 egg whites (beaten)
2 egg yolks (beaten)

Makes 6 servings
Take a large saucepan and place on medium heat. Add canola oil, celery, carrot, onion and garlic. Stir through and turn down the heat. Add the finely chopped herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Place and oiled skillet or sauté pan on high heat. Add boar in batches until lightly brown. Remove and add to the vegetable saucepan. Deglaze the pan at the end with the port, and add to the boar and vegetable mixture, along with the apple juice, chicken stock, and mushrooms. Bring the saucepan up to a light boil, then immediately turn the heat right down to a simmer.  Cook for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, strain off liquid, and reserve.

Take a clean saucepan and add the butter, followed by the flour. Whisk to make a roux, then slowly pour in the cooking liquid, whisking continuously to form a smooth silky gravy. Pour this back over the boar mix and season with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Cool, then refrigerate until required.

To make the pies, roll out the pastry to thickness of about 1/10th of an inch. Cut out 12 circles, about 5 inches in diameter. Take a scoop of the boar mix and place in the center of six circles, leaving ½ an inch of pastry around the outside. Brush this area with egg whites. Carefully take the remaining circles of pastry and gently place them on top of the boar filling. Pinch closed all the way around.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the pies on a greaseproof paper lined baking tray, leaving space for them to expand. Brush pastry with egg yolks and poke several holes with the tines of a fork on the top of each. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Let stand for 10 minutes to cool slightly, and serve.

Fourth Course: Strawberry Shortcake

In the very first letter in the collection, written when he was just seven years old, Hemingway writes, “We went strawberry piking [sic] and got enough to make three short-cakes.” Finish your meal the same delicious way The Letters of Ernest Hemingway started.

Adapted from Gourmet

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon milk or cream for brushing biscuits
2 1/2 lb strawberries, trimmed and quartered (7 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
Vanilla ice cream

Makes 6 servings
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork until a dough just forms.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently 6 times. Pat out dough on a floured surface into an 8- by 5 1/2-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then into thirds crosswise to form 6 (2 1/2-inch) squares. Transfer biscuits with a metal spatula to an ungreased baking sheet, arranging them 2 inches apart, and brush tops with milk or cream. Bake until pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature.

Toss strawberries with granulated sugar in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Gently press strawberries with potato masher to help release their juices, being careful not to crush them to a pulp. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Split biscuits horizontally with a fork and arrange 2 halves, split sides up, on each of 6 plates. Top with strawberries and juices, then with ice cream.

Want more Hemingway? Join our Quotable Hemingway contest on Facebook!

Latest Comments

Have your say!