Pullum Frontonianum (Apicus Chicken)


"When I was preparing this dish, I was certain I would never do it again because I disliked handling the chicken so much. After tasting it, however, I'm certain I'm going to make it again, as it is some of the best chicken I've ever had. This is an ancient Roman recipe from the book of Apicus, so some ingredients are hard to find or I am uncertain as to what they actually are. For Saturei I used dried rose petals, for Liquamen I used 1 cup wine plus 1 tbs salt, and instead of Defritum (fig syrup), you can use sweet and tangy steak sauce."

Ingredients {{adjustedServings}} servings 1137 cals

Serving size has been adjusted!

Original recipe yields 4 servings



Amount per serving ({{servings}} total)

  • Calories:
  • 1137 kcal
  • 57%
  • Fat:
  • 85.7 g
  • 132%
  • Carbs:
  • 14g
  • 5%
  • Protein:
  • 64.4 g
  • 129%
  • Cholesterol:
  • 255 mg
  • 85%
  • Sodium:
  • 829 mg
  • 33%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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  1. Mix together 1/2 cup olive oil, wine mixed with salt, chopped leek, dill, rose petals, coriander, and black pepper.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan. Fry whole chicken over medium heat. Add about half of the seasoning mixture, and continue to fry until chicken just starts to change color.
  3. Place chicken in a baking dish large enough to hold it along with the seasoning mixture--both what was in the pan and what you didn't use. Rub the bird with the mixture for a minute or so.
  4. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 1 hour, occasionally basting with the seasoning mixture. The chicken will look almost burnt when done. Moisten a plate with fig syrup, place chicken on it. Season with salt and pepper.
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Reviews 4

  1. 5 Ratings


Saturei is summer savory (satureja hortensis). Savory is found in any supermarket along with thyme and other herbs and spices. If you cannot find it thyme is a close substitute, but dried savory is lighter than dried thyme and has a slight lemony smell. This would eliminate the unecessary hassle of drying rose petals! I had a kitchen garden and grew many herbs including summer savory (annual) and winter savory(perennial). Liquamen was a Roman salty fish sauce. You could probably use Thai fish sauce or anchovy paste as a substitute. I have not made this yet but am looking forward to it.

Wonder Wanda

Note: Liquamen is a salty fish sauce, usually substituted by salt alone; Defritum is a very thick fig syrup (i.e. canned fig syrup boiled down to 1/3 volume); and Saturei is a white-flowered European plant used in spicy bean dishes. For my own part, I made this dish for Valentine's Day. The meal was good, and tasted very exotic/unique/classy. However, the ingredients were expensive and the taste, in my opinion, didn't make up for the cost and the preparation time (drying the rose petals, chopping all the spices & veggies). Also, I found the fig syrup totally unnecessary since it didn't even taste like fig, just like sugar. Also, I have no idea what to do with the figs now. The meal was fine and we both liked it, but I wouldn't make it again. PS: I used Cornish game hens instead of a chicken, and the meat was succulent.


My daughter had to make this for her Latin class. I had no problem finding dried rose petals (very inexpensive) at the local health food store, and substituted fresh dill for 1.5 tbs. dried, and the leek with onion (only because I didn't have any leeks in the house at the time. Canned figs aren't that hard to find in the grocery store but instead I used honey with this, again b/c I had forgotten the figs. Figs however, are great on toast in the morning - I grew up eating them this way as my grandmother always had homemade fig preserves around the house (where the best fig syrup can be used).