The Book of Household Management, by Isabella Beeton

Chapter VIII.

Recipes.

Fish.

[Nothing is more difficult than to give the average prices of Fish, inasmuch as a few hours of bad weather at sea will, in the space of one day, cause such a difference in its supply, that the same fish — a turbot for instance — which may be bought today for six or seven shillings, will, tomorrow, be, in the London markets, worth, perhaps, almost as many pounds. The average costs, therefore, which will be found appended to each recipe, must be understood as about the average price for the different kinds of fish, when the market is supplied upon an average, and when the various sorts are of an average size and quality.

GENERAL RULE IN CHOOSING FISH. — A proof of freshness and goodness in most fishes, is their being covered with scales; for, if deficient in this respect, it is a sign of their being stale, or having been ill-used.]

Fried Anchovies.

226. INGREDIENTS. — 1 tablespoonful of oil, 1/2 a glass of white wine, sufficient flour to thicken; 12 anchovies.

Mode. — Mix the oil and wine together, with sufficient flour to make them into a thickish paste; cleanse the anchovies, wipe them, dip them in the paste, and fry of a nice brown colour.

Time. — 1/2 hour. Average cost for this quantity, 9d.

Seasonable all the year.

Sufficient for 2 persons.

THE ANCHOVY. — In his book of “British Fishes,” Mr. Yarrell states that “the anchovy is a common fish in the Mediterranean, from Greece to Gibraltar, and was well known to the Greeks and Romans, by whom the liquor prepared from it, called garum, was in great estimation. Its extreme range is extended into the Black Sea. The fishing for them is carried on during the night, and lights are used with the nets. The anchovy is common on the coasts of Portugal, Spain, and France. It occurs, I have no doubt, at the Channel Islands, and has been taken on the Hampshire coast, and in the Bristol Channel.” Other fish, of inferior quality, but resembling the real Gorgona anchovy, are frequently sold for it, and passed off as genuine.

Anchovy Butter or Paste.

227. INGREDIENTS. — 2 dozen anchovies, 1/2 lb. of fresh butter.

Mode. — Wash the anchovies thoroughly; bone and dry them, and pound them in a mortar to a paste. Mix the butter gradually with them, and rub the whole through a sieve. Put it by in small pots for use, and carefully exclude the air with a bladder, as it soon changes the colour of anchovies, besides spoiling them.

Average cost for this quantity, 2s.

Potted Anchovies.

POTTED ANCHOVIES are made in the same way, by adding pounded mace, cayenne, and nutmeg to taste.

Anchovy Toast.

228. INGREDIENTS. — Toast 2 or 3 slices of bread, or, if wanted very savoury, fry them in clarified butter, and spread on them the paste, No. 227. Made mustard, or a few grains of cayenne, may be added to the paste before laying it on the toast.

ANCHOVY PASTE. —“When some delicate zest,” says a work just issued on the adulterations of trade, “is required to make the plain English breakfast more palatable, many people are in the habit of indulging in what they imagine to be anchovies. These fish are preserved in a kind of pickling-bottle, carefully corked down, and surrounded by a red-looking liquor, resembling in appearance diluted clay. The price is moderate, one shilling only being demanded for the luxury. When these anchovies are what is termed potted, it implies that the fish have been pounded into the consistency of a paste, and then placed in flat pots, somewhat similar in shape to those used for pomatum. This paste is usually eaten spread upon toast, and is said to form an excellent bonne bouche, which enables gentlemen at wine-parties to enjoy their port with redoubled gusto. Unfortunately, in six cases out of ten, the only portion of these preserved delicacies, that contains anything indicative of anchovies, is the paper label pasted on the bottle or pot, on which the word itself is printed. . . . All the samples of anchovy paste, analyzed by different medical men, have been found to be highly and vividly coloured with very large quantities of bole Armenian.” The anchovy itself, when imported, is of a dark dead colour, and it is to make it a bright “handsome-looking sauce” that this red earth is used.

Barbel.

229. INGREDIENTS. — 1/2 pint of port wine, a saltspoonful of salt, 2 tablespoonfuls of vinegar, 2 sliced onions, a faggot of sweet herbs, nutmeg and mace to taste, the juice of a lemon, 2 anchovies; 1 or 2 barbels, according to size.

Mode — Boil the barbels in salt and water till done; pour off some of the water, and, to the remainder, put the ingredients mentioned above. Simmer gently for 1/2 hour, or rather more, and strain. Put in the fish; heat it gradually; but do not let it boil, or it will be broken.

Time. — Altogether 1 hour. Sufficient for 4 persons.

Seasonable from September to November.

THE BARBEL— This fish takes its name from the barbs or wattels at its mouth; and, in England, is esteemed as one of the worst of the fresh-water fish. It was, however, formerly, if not now, a favourite with the Jews, excellent cookers of fish. Others would boil with it a piece of bacon, that it might have a relish. It is to be met with from two to three or four feet long, and is said to live to a great age. From Putney upwards, in the Thames, some are found of large size; but they are valued only as affording sport to the brethren of the angle.

Brill.

230. INGREDIENTS. — 1/4 lb. of salt to each gallon of water; a little vinegar.

Mode. — Clean the brill, cut off the fins, and rub it over with a little lemon-juice, to preserve its whiteness. Set the fish in sufficient cold water to cover it; throw in salt, in the above proportions, and a little vinegar, and bring it gradually to boil; simmer very gently till the fish is done, which will be in about 10 minutes; but the time for boiling, of course, depends entirely on the size of the fish. Serve it on a hot napkin, and garnish with cut lemon, parsley, horseradish, and a little lobster coral sprinkled over the fish. Send lobster or shrimp sauce and plain melted butter to table with it.

Time. — After the water boils, a small brill, 10 minutes; a large brill, 15 to 20 minutes.

Average cost, from 4s. to 8s.

Seasonable from August to April.

THE BRILL. — This fish resembles the sole, but is broader, and when large, is esteemed by many in a scarcely less degree than the turbot, whilst it is much cheaper. It is a fine fish, and is abundant in the London market.

TO CHOOSE BRILL. — The flesh of this fish, like that of turbot, should be of a yellowish tint, and should be chosen on account of its thickness. If the flesh has a bluish tint, it is not good.

Codfish.

231. Cod may be boiled whole; but a large head and shoulders are quite sufficient for a dish, and contain all that is usually helped, because, when the thick part is done, the tail is insipid and overdone. The latter, cut in slices, makes a very good dish for frying; or it may be salted down and served with egg sauce and parsnips. Cod, when boiled quite fresh, is watery; salting a little, renders it firmer.

THE COD TRIBE. — The Jugular, characterized by bony gills, and ventral fins before the pectoral ones, commences the second of the Linnaean orders of fishes, and is a numerous tribe, inhabiting only the depths of the ocean, and seldom visiting the fresh waters. They have a smooth head, and the gill membrane has seven rays. The body is oblong, and covered with deciduous scales. The fins are all inclosed in skin, whilst their rays are unarmed. The ventral fins are slender, and terminate in a point. Their habits are gregarious, and they feed on smaller fish and other marine animals.

Cod’s Head and Shoulders.

232. INGREDIENTS. — Sufficient water to cover the fish; 5 oz. of salt to each gallon of water.

Mode. — Cleanse the fish thoroughly, and rub a little salt over the thick part and inside of the fish, 1 or 2 hours before dressing it, as this very much improves the flavour. Lay it in the fish-kettle, with sufficient cold water to cover it. Be very particular not to pour the water on the fish, as it is liable to break it, and only keep it just simmering. If the water should boil away, add a little by pouring it in at the side of the kettle, and not on the fish. Add salt in the above proportion, and bring it gradually to a boil. Skim very carefully, draw it to the side of the fire, and let it gently simmer till done. Take it out and drain it; serve on a hot napkin, and garnish with cut lemon, horseradish, the roe and liver. (See Coloured Plate C.)

Time. — According to size, 1/2 an hour, more or less. Average cost, from 3s. to 6s.

Sufficient for 6 or 8 persons.

Seasonable from November to March.

Note. — Oyster sauce and plain melted butter should be served with this.

TO CHOOSE COD. — The cod should be chosen for the table when it is plump and round near the tail, when the hollow behind the head is deep, and when the sides are undulated as if they were ribbed. The glutinous parts about the head lose their delicate flavour, after the fish has been twenty-four hours out of the water. The great point by which the cod should be judged is the firmness of its flesh; and, although the cod is not firm when it is alive, its quality may be arrived at by pressing the finger into the flesh. If this rises immediately, the fish is good; if not, it is stale. Another sign of its goodness is, if the fish, when it is cut, exhibits a bronze appearance, like the silver side of a round of beef. When this is the case, the flesh will be firm when cooked. Stiffness in a cod, or in any other fish, is a sure sign of freshness, though not always of quality. Sometimes, codfish, though exhibiting signs of rough usage, will eat much better than those with red gills, so strongly recommended by many cookery-books. This appearance is generally caused by the fish having been knocked about at sea, in the well-boats, in which they are conveyed from the fishing-grounds to market.

Salt Cod, Commonly Called “Salt-Fish.”

233. INGREDIENTS. — Sufficient water to cover the fish.

Mode. — Wash the fish, and lay it all night in water, with a 1/4 pint of vinegar. When thoroughly soaked, take it out, see that it is perfectly clean, and put it in the fish-kettle with sufficient cold water to cover it. Heat it gradually, but do not let it boil much, or the fish will be hard. Skim well, and when done, drain the fish and put it on a napkin garnished with hard-boiled eggs cut in rings.

Time. — About 1 hour. Average cost, 6d. per lb.

Seasonable in the spring.

Sufficient for each person, 1/4 lb.

Note. — Serve with egg sauce and parsnips. This is an especial dish on Ash Wednesday.

PRESERVING COD. — Immediately as the cod are caught, their heads are cut off. They are then opened, cleaned, and salted, when they are stowed away in the hold of the vessel, in beds of five or six yards square, head to tail, with a layer of salt to each layer of fish. When they have lain in this state three or four days, in order that the water may drain from them, they are shifted into a different part of the vessel, and again salted. Here they remain till the vessel is loaded, when they are sometimes cut into thick pieces and packed in barrels for the greater convenience of carriage.

Cod Sounds.

Should be well soaked in salt and water, and thoroughly washed before dressing them. They are considered a great delicacy, and may either be broiled, fried, or boiled: if they are boiled, mix a little milk with the water.

Cod Sounds, En Poule.

234. INGREDIENTS. — For forcemeat, 12 chopped oysters, 3 chopped anchovies, 1/4 lb. of bread crumbs, 1 oz. of butter, 2 eggs; seasoning of salt, pepper, nutmeg, and mace to taste; 4 cod sounds.

Mode. — Make the forcemeat by mixing the ingredients well together. Wash the sounds, and boil them in milk and water for 1/2 an hour; take them out and let them cool. Cover each with a layer of forcemeat, roll them up in a nice form, and skewer them. Rub over with lard, dredge with flour, and cook them gently before the fire in a Dutch oven.

Time. — 1 hour. Average cost, 6d. per lb.

Seasonable from November to March. Sufficient for 4 persons.

THE SOUNDS IN CODFISH. — These are the air or swimming bladders, by means of which the fishes are enabled to ascend or descend in the water. In the Newfoundland fishery they are taken out previous to incipient putrefaction, washed from their slime and salted for exportation. The tongues are also cured and packed up in barrels; whilst, from the livers, considerable quantities of oil are extracted, this oil having been found possessed of the most nourishing properties, and particularly beneficial in cases of pulmonary affections.

Cod Pie.

(Economical.)

I.

235. INGREDIENTS. — Any remains of cold cod, 12 oysters, sufficient melted butter to moisten it; mashed potatoes enough to fill up the dish.

Mode. — Flake the fish from the bone, and carefully take away all the skin. Lay it in a pie-dish, pour over the melted butter and oysters (or oyster sauce, if there is any left), and cover with mashed potatoes. Bake for 1/2 an hour, and send to table of a nice brown colour.

Time. — 1/2 hour.

Seasonable from November to March.

II.

236. INGREDIENTS. — 2 slices of cod; pepper and salt to taste; 1/2 a teaspoonful of grated nutmeg, 1 large blade of pounded mace, 2 oz. of butter, 1/2 pint of stock No. 107, a paste crust (see Pastry). For sauce, 1 tablespoonful of stock, 1/4 pint of cream or milk, thickening of flour or butter; lemon-peel chopped very fine to taste; 12 oysters.

Mode. — Lay the cod in salt for 4 hours, then wash it and place it in a dish; season, and add the butter and stock; cover with the crust, and bake for 1 hour, or rather more. Now make the sauce, by mixing the ingredients named above; give it one boil, and pour it into the pie by a hole made at the top of the crust, which can easily be covered by a small piece of pastry cut and baked in any fanciful shape — such as a leaf, or otherwise.

Time. — 1–1/2 hour. Average cost, with fresh fish, 2s. 6d.

Seasonable from November to March.

Sufficient for 6 persons.

Note. — The remains of cold fish may be used for this pie.

Curried Cod.

237. INGREDIENTS. — 2 slices of large cod, or the remains of any cold fish; 3 oz. of butter, 1 onion sliced, a teacupful of white stock, thickening of butter and flour, 1 small teaspoonful of curry-powder, 1/4 pint of cream, salt and cayenne to taste.

Mode. — Flake the fish, and fry it of a nice brown colour with the butter and onions; put this in a stewpan, add the stock and thickening, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir the curry-powder into the cream; put it, with the seasoning, to the other ingredients; give one boil, and serve.

Time. — 3/4 hour. Average cost, with fresh fish, 3s.

Seasonable from November to March.

Sufficient for 4 persons.

THE FOOD OF THE COD. — This chiefly consists of the smaller species of the scaly tribes, shell-fish, crabs, and worms. Their voracity is very great, and they will bite at any small body they see moved by the water, even stones and pebbles, which are frequently found in their stomachs. They sometimes attain a great size, but their usual weight is from 14 to 40 lbs.

Cod a La Creme.

238. INGREDIENTS. — 1 large slice of cod, 1 oz. of butter, 1 chopped shalot, a little minced parsley, 1/4 teacupful of white stock, 1/4 pint of milk or cream, flour to thicken, cayenne and lemon-juice to taste, 1/4 teaspoonful of powdered sugar.

Mode. — Boil the cod, and while hot, break it into flakes; put the butter, shalot, parsley, and stock into a stewpan, and let them boil for 5 minutes. Stir in sufficient flour to thicken, and pour to it the milk or cream. Simmer for 10 minutes, add the cayenne and sugar, and, when liked, a little lemon-juice. Put the fish in the sauce to warm gradually, but do not let it boil. Serve in a dish garnished with croûtons.

Time. — Rather more than 1/2 hour. Average cost, with cream, 2s.

Seasonable from November to March.

Sufficient for 3 persons.

Note. — The remains of fish from the preceding day answer very well for this dish.

Cod a La Bechamel.

239. INGREDIENTS. — Any remains of cold cod, 4 tablespoonfuls of béchamel (see Sauces), 2 oz. butter; seasoning to taste of pepper and salt; fried bread, a few bread crumbs.

Mode. — Flake the cod carefully, leaving out all skin and bone; put the béchamel in a stewpan with the butter, and stir it over the fire till the latter is melted; add seasoning, put in the fish, and mix it well with the sauce. Make a border of fried bread round the dish, lay in the fish, sprinkle over with bread crumbs, and baste with butter. Brown either before the fire or with a salamander, and garnish with toasted bread cut in fanciful shapes.

Time. — 1/2 hour.

Average cost, exclusive of the fish, 6d.

THE HABITAT OF THE COD. — This fish is found only in the seas of the northern parts of the world, between the latitudes of 45° and 66°. Its great rendezvous are the sandbanks of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, and New England. These places are its favourite resorts; for there it is able to obtain great quantities of worms, a food peculiarly grateful to it. Another cause of its attachment to these places has been said to be on account of the vicinity to the Polar seas, where it returns to spawn. Few are taken north of Iceland, and the shoals never reach so far south as the Straits of Gibraltar. Many are taken on the coasts of Norway, in the Baltic, and off the Orkneys, which, prior to the discovery of Newfoundland, formed one of the principal fisheries. The London market is supplied by those taken between the Dogger Bank, the Well Bank, and Cromer, on the east coast of England.

Cod a La Maitre D’hotel.

240. INGREDIENTS. — 2 slices of cod, 1/4 lb. of butter, a little chopped shalot and parsley; pepper to taste, 1/4 teaspoonful of grated nutmeg, or rather less, when the flavour is not liked; the juice of 1/4 lemon.

Mode. — Boil the cod, and either leave it whole, or, what is still better, flake it from the bone, and take off the skin. Put it into a stewpan with the butter, parsley, shalot, pepper, and nutmeg. Melt the butter gradually, and be very careful that it does not become like oil. When all is well mixed and thoroughly hot, add the lemon-juice, and serve.

Time. — 1/2 hour. Average cost, 2s. 6d.; with remains of cold fish, 5d.

Seasonable from November to March.

Sufficient for 4 persons.

Note. — Cod that has been left will do for this.

THE SEASON FOR FISHING COD. — The best season for catching cod is from the beginning of February to the end of April; and although each fisherman engaged in taking them, catches no more than one at a time, an expert hand will sometimes take four hundred in a day. The employment is excessively fatiguing, from the weight of the fish as well as from the coldness of the climate.

Cod a L’italienne.

241. INGREDIENTS. — 2 slices of crimped cod, 1 shalot, 1 slice of ham minced very fine, 1/2 pint of white stock, No. 107; when liked, 1/2 teacupful of cream; salt to taste; a few drops of garlic vinegar, a little lemon-juice, 1/2 teaspoonful of powdered sugar.

Mode. — Chop the shalots, mince the ham very fine, pour on the stock, and simmer for 15 minutes. If the colour should not be good, add cream in the above proportion, and strain it through a fine sieve; season it, and put in the vinegar, lemon-juice, and sugar. Now boil the cod, take out the middle bone, and skin it; put it on the dish without breaking, and pour the sauce over it.

Time. — 3/4 hour. Average cost, 3s. 6d., with fresh fish.

Seasonable from November to March.

Sufficient for 4 persons.

THE FECUNDITY OF THE COD. — In our preceding remarks on the natural history of fishes, we have spoken of the amazing fruitfulness of this fish; but in this we see one more instance of the wise provision which Nature has made for supplying the wants of man. So extensive has been the consumption of this fish, that it is surprising that it has not long ago become extinct; which would certainly have been the case, had it not been for its wonderful powers of reproduction. “So early as 1368,” says Dr. Cloquet, “the inhabitants of Amsterdam had dispatched fishermen to the coast of Sweden; and in the first quarter of 1792, from the ports of France only, 210 vessels went out to the cod-fisheries. Every year, however, upwards of 10,000 vessels, of all nations, are employed in this trade, and bring into the commercial world more than 40,000,000 of salted and dried cod. If we add to this immense number, the havoc made among the legions of cod by the larger scaly tribes of the great deep, and take into account the destruction to which the young are exposed by sea-fowls and other inhabitants of the seas, besides the myriads of their eggs destroyed by accident, it becomes a miracle to find that such mighty multitudes of them are still in existence, and ready to continue the exhaustless supply. Yet it ceases to excite our wonder when we remember that the female can every year give birth to more than 9,000,000 at a time.”

Baked Carp.

242. INGREDIENTS— 1 carp, forcemeat, bread crumbs, 1 oz. butter, 1/2 pint of stock No. 105, 1/2 pint of port wine, 6 anchovies, 2 onions sliced, 1 bay-leaf, a faggot of sweet herbs, flour to thicken, the juice of 1 lemon; cayenne and salt to taste; 1/2 teaspoonful of powdered sugar.

Mode. — Stuff the carp with a delicate forcemeat, after thoroughly cleansing it, and sew it up to prevent the stuffing from falling out. Rub it over with an egg, and sprinkle it with bread crumbs, lay it in a deep earthen dish, and drop the butter, oiled, over the bread crumbs. Add the stock, onions, bay-leaf, herbs, wine, and anchovies, and bake for 1 hour. Put 1 oz. of butter into a stewpan, melt it, and dredge in sufficient flour to dry it up; put in the strained liquor from the carp, stir frequently, and when it has boiled, add the lemon-juice and seasoning. Serve the carp on a dish garnished with parsley and cut lemon, and the sauce in a boat.

Time. — 1–1/4 hour. Average cost. Seldom bought.

Seasonable from March to October.

Sufficient for 1 or 2 persons.

THE CARP. — This species of fish inhabit the fresh waters, where they feed on worms, insects, aquatic plants, small fish, clay, or mould. Some of them are migratory. They have very small mouths and no teeth, and the gill membrane has three rays. The body is smooth, and generally whitish. The carp both grows and increases very fast, and is accounted the most valuable of all fish for the stocking of ponds. It has been pronounced the queen of river-fish, and was first introduced to this country about three hundred years ago. Of its sound, or air-bladder, a kind of glue is made, and a green paint of its gall.

Stewed Carp.

243. INGREDIENTS. — 1 carp, salt, stock No. 105, 2 onions, 6 cloves, 12 peppercorns, 1 blade of mace, 1/4 pint of port wine, the juice of 1/2 lemon, cayenne and salt to taste, a faggot of savoury herbs.

Mode. — Scale the fish, clean it nicely, and, if very large, divide it; lay it in the stewpan, after having rubbed a little salt on it, and put in sufficient stock to cover it; add the herbs, onions, and spices, and stew gently for 1 hour, or rather more, should it be very large. Dish up the fish with great care, strain the liquor, and add to it the port wine, lemon-juice, and cayenne; give one boil, pour it over the fish, and serve.

Time. — 1–1/4 hour. Average cost. Seldom bought.

Seasonable from March to October.

Sufficient for 1 or 2 persons.

Note. — This fish can be boiled plain, and served with parsley and butter. Chub and Char may be cooked in the same manner as the above, as also Dace and Roach.

THE AGE OF CARP. — This fish has been found to live 150 years. The pond in the garden of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, contained one that had lived there 70 years, and Gesner mentions an instance of one 100 years old. They are, besides, capable of being tamed. Dr. Smith, in his “Tour on the Continent,” says, in reference to the prince of Condé‘s seat at Chantilly, “The most pleasing things about it were the immense shoals of very large carp, silvered over with age, like silver-fish, and perfectly tame; so that, when any passengers approached their watery habitation, they used to come to the shore in such numbers as to heave each other out of the water, begging for bread, of which a quantity was always kept at hand, on purpose to feed them. They would even allow themselves to be handled.”

THE CHUB. — This fish takes its name from its head, not only in England, but in other countries. It is a river-fish, and resembles the carp, but is somewhat longer. Its flesh is not in much esteem, being coarse, and, when out of season, full of small hairy bones. The head and throat are the best parts. The roe is also good.

THE CHAR. — This is one of the most delicious of fish, being esteemed by some superior to the salmon. It is an inhabitant of the deep lakes of mountainous countries. Its flesh is rich and red, and full of fat. The largest and best kind is found in the lakes of Westmoreland, and, as it is considered a rarity, it is often potted and preserved.

THE DACE, OR DARE. — This fish is gregarious, and is seldom above ten inches long; although, according to Linnaeus, it grows a foot and a half in length. Its haunts are in deep water, near piles of bridges, where the stream is gentle, over gravelly, sandy, or clayey bottoms; deep holes that are shaded, water-lily leaves, and under the foam caused by an eddy. In the warm months they are to be found in shoals on the shallows near to streams. They are in season about the end of April, and gradually improve till February, when they attain their highest condition. In that month, when just taken, scotched (crimped), and broiled, they are said to be more palatable than a fresh herring.

THE ROACH. — This fish is found throughout Europe, and the western parts of Asia, in deep still rivers, of which it is an inhabitant. It is rarely more than a pound and a half in weight, and is in season from September till March. It is plentiful in England, and the finest are caught in the Thames. The proverb, “as sound as a roach,” is derived from the French name of this fish being roche, which also means rock.

To Dress Crab.

244. INGREDIENTS. — 1 crab, 2 tablespoonfuls of vinegar, 1 ditto of oil; salt, white pepper, and cayenne, to taste.

Mode. — Empty the shells, and thoroughly mix the meat with the above ingredients, and put it in the large shell. Garnish with slices of cut lemon and parsley. The quantity of oil may be increased when it is much liked. (See Coloured Plate I.)

Average cost, from 10d. to 2s.

Seasonable all the year; but not so good in May, June, and July.

Sufficient for 3 persons.

TO CHOOSE CRAB. — The middle-sized crab is the best; and the crab, like the lobster, should be judged by its weight; for if light, it is watery.

Hot Crab.

245. INGREDIENTS. — 1 crab, nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste, 3 oz. of butter, 1/4 lb. of bread crumbs, 3 tablespoonfuls of vinegar.

Mode. — After having boiled the crab, pick the meat out from the shells, and mix with it the nutmeg and seasoning. Cut up the butter in small pieces, and add the bread crumbs and vinegar. Mix altogether, put the whole in the large shell, and brown before the fire or with a salamander.

Time. — 1 hour. Average cost, from 10d. to 2s.

Seasonable all the year; but not so good in May, June, and July.

Sufficient for 3 persons.

THE CRAB TRIBE. — The whole of this tribe of animals have the body covered with a hard and strong shell, and they live chiefly in the sea. Some, however, inhabit fresh waters, and a few live upon land. They feed variously, on aquatic or marine plants, small fish, molluscae, or dead bodies. The black-clawed species is found on the rocky coasts of both Europe and India, and is the same that is introduced to our tables, being much more highly esteemed as a food than many others of the tribe. The most remarkable feature in their history, is the changing of their shells, and the reproduction of their broken claws. The former occurs once a year, usually between Christmas and Easter, when the crabs retire to cavities in the rocks, or conceal themselves under great stones. Fishermen say that they will live confined in a pot or basket for several months together, without any other food than what is collected from the sea-water; and that, even in this situation, they will not decrease in weight. The hermit crab is another of the species, and has the peculiarity of taking possession of the deserted shell of some other animal, as it has none of its own. This circumstance was known to the ancients, and is alluded to in the following lines from Oppian:— The hermit fish, unarm’d by Nature, left
Helpless and weak, grow strong by harmless theft.
Fearful they stroll, and look with panting wish
For the cast crust of some new-cover’d fish;
Or such as empty lie, and deck the shore,
Whose first and rightful owners are no more.
They make glad seizure of the vacant room,
And count the borrow’d shell their native home;
Screw their soft limbs to fit the winding case,
And boldly herd with the crustaceous race.

Crayfish.

246. Crayfish should be thrown into boiling water, to which has been added a good seasoning of salt and a little vinegar. When done, which will be in 1/4 hour, take them out and drain them. Let them cool, arrange them on a napkin, and garnish with plenty of double parsley.

Note. — This fish is frequently used for garnishing boiled turkey, boiled fowl, calf’s head, turbot, and all kinds of boiled fish.

Potted Crayfish.

247. INGREDIENTS. — 100 crayfish; pounded mace, pepper and salt to taste, 2 oz. butter.

Mode. — Boil the fish in salt and water; pick out all the meat and pound it in a mortar to a paste. Whilst pounding, add the butter gradually, and mix in the spice and seasoning. Put it in small pots, and pour over it clarified butter, carefully excluding the air.

Time. — 15 minutes to boil the crayfish. Average cost, 2s. 9d.

Seasonable all the year.

John Dory.

248. INGREDIENTS. — 1/4 lb. of salt to each gallon of water.

Mode. — This fish, which is esteemed by most people a great delicacy, is dressed in the same way as a turbot, which it resembles in firmness, but not in richness. Cleanse it thoroughly and cut off the fins; lay it in a fish-kettle, cover with cold water, and add salt in the above proportion. Bring it gradually to a boil, and simmer gently for 1/4 hour, or rather longer, should the fish be very large. Serve on a hot napkin, and garnish with cut lemon and parsley. Lobster, anchovy, or shrimp sauce, and plain melted butter, should be sent to table with it.

Time. — After the water boils, 1/4 to 1/2 hour, according to size.

Average cost, 3s. to 5s. Seasonable all the year, but best from September to January.

Note. — Small John Dorie are very good, baked.

THE DORU, or JOHN DORY. — This fish is of a yellowish golden colour, and is, in general, rare, although it is sometimes taken in abundance on the Devon and Cornish coasts. It is highly esteemed for the table, and its flesh, when dressed, is of a beautiful clear white. When fresh caught, it is tough, and, being a ground fish, it is not the worse for being kept two, or even three days before it is cooked.

Boiled Eels.

249. INGREDIENTS. — 4 small eels, sufficient water to cover them; a large bunch of parsley.

Mode. — Choose small eels for boiling; put them in a stewpan with the parsley, and just sufficient water to cover them; simmer till tender. Take them out, pour a little parsley and butter over them, and serve some in a tureen.

Time. — 1/2 hour. Average cost, 6d. per lb.

Seasonable from June to March.

Sufficient for 4 persons.

THE EEL TRIBE. — The Apodal, or bony-gilled and ventral-finned fish, of which the eel forms the first Linnaean tribe, in their general aspect and manners, approach, in some instances, very nearly to serpents. They have a smooth head and slippery skin, are in general naked, or covered with such small, soft, and distant scales, as are scarcely visible. Their bodies are long and slender, and they are supposed to subsist entirely on animal substances. There are about nine species of them, mostly found in the seas. One of them frequents our fresh waters, and three of the others occasionally pay a visit to our shores.

Stewed Eels.
I.

250. INGREDIENTS. — 2 lbs. of eels, 1 pint of rich strong stock, No. 104, 1 onion, 3 cloves, a piece of lemon-peel, 1 glass of port or Madeira, 3 tablespoonfuls of cream; thickening of flour; cayenne and lemon-juice to taste.

Mode. — Wash and skin the eels, and cut them into pieces about 3 inches long; pepper and salt them, and lay them in a stewpan; pour over the stock, add the onion stuck with cloves, the lemon-peel, and the wine. Stew gently for 1/2 hour, or rather more, and lift them carefully on a dish, which keep hot. Strain the gravy, stir to the cream sufficient flour to thicken; mix altogether, boil for 2 minutes, and add the cayenne and lemon-juice; pour over the eels and serve.

Time. — 3/4 hour. Average cost for this quantity, 2s. 3d.

Seasonable from June to March.

Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.

THE COMMON EEL. — This fish is known frequently to quit its native element, and to set off on a wandering expedition in the night, or just about the close of clay, over the meadows, in search of snails and other prey. It also, sometimes, betakes itself to isolated ponds, apparently for no other pleasure than that which may be supposed to be found in a change of habitation. This, of course, accounts for eels being found in waters which were never suspected to contain them. This rambling disposition in the eel has been long known to naturalists, and, from the following lines, it seems to have been known to the ancients:—

“Thus the mail’d tortoise, and the wand’ring; eel,

Oft to the neighbouring beach will silent steal.”

II.

251. INGREDIENTS. — 2 lbs. of middling-sized eels, 1 pint of medium stock, No. 105, 1/4 pint of port wine; salt, cayenne, and mace to taste; 1 teaspoonful of essence of anchovy, the juice of 1/2 a lemon.

Mode. — Skin, wash, and clean the eels thoroughly; cut them into pieces 3 inches long, and put them into strong salt and water for 1 hour; dry them well with a cloth, and fry them brown. Put the stock on with the heads and tails of the eels, and simmer for 1/2 hour; strain it, and add all the other ingredients. Put in the eels, and stew gently for 1/2 hour, when serve.

Time. — 2 hours. Average cost, 1s. 9d.

Seasonable from June to March.

Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.

Fried Eels.

252. INGREDIENTS. — 1 lb. of eels, 1 egg, a few bread crumbs, hot lard.

Mode. — Wash the eels, cut them into pieces 3 inches long, trim and wipe them very dry; dredge with flour, rub them over with egg, and cover with bread crumbs; fry of a nice brown in hot lard. If the eels are small, curl them round, instead of cutting them up. Garnish with fried parsley.

Time. — 20 minutes, or rather less. Average cost, 6d. per lb.

Seasonable from June to March.

Note. — Garfish may be dressed like eels, and either broiled or baked.

THE PRODUCTIVENESS OF THE EEL. —“Having occasion,” says Dr. Anderson, in the Bee, “to be once on a visit to a friend’s house on Dee-side, in Aberdeenshire, I frequently delighted to walk by the banks of the river. I, one day, observed something like a black string moving along the edge of the water where it was quite shallow. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that this was a shoal of young eels, so closely joined together as to appear, on a superficial view, on continued body, moving briskly up against the stream. To avoid the retardment they experienced from the force of the current, they kept close along the water’s edge the whole of the way, following all the bendings and sinuosities of the river. Where they were embayed, and in still water, the shoal dilated in breadth, so as to be sometimes nearly a foot broad; but when they turned a cape, where the current was strong, they were forced to occupy less space and press close to the shore, struggling very hard till they passed it. This shoal continued to move on, night and day without interruption for several weeks. Their progress might be at the rate of about a mile an hour. It was easy to catch the animals, though they were very active and nimble. They were eels perfectly well formed in every respect, but not exceeding two inches in length. I conceive that the shoal did not contain, on an average, less than from twelve to twenty in breadth; so that the number that passed, on the whole, must have been very great. Whence they came or whither they went, I know not; but the place where I saw this, was six miles from the sea.”

Eel Pie.

253. INGREDIENTS. — 1 lb. of eels, a little chopped parsley, 1 shalot; grated nutmeg; pepper and salt to taste; the juice of 1/2 a lemon, small quantity of forcemeat, 1/4 pint of béchamel (see Sauces); puff paste.

Mode. — Skin and wash the eels, cut them into pieces 2 inches long, and line the bottom of the pie-dish with forcemeat. Put in the eels, and sprinkle them with the parsley, shalots, nutmeg, seasoning, and lemon-juice, and cover with puff-paste. Bake for 1 hour, or rather more; make the béchamel hot, and pour it into the pie.

Time. — Rather more than 1 hour.

Seasonable from August to March.

Collared Eel.

254. INGREDIENTS. — 1 large eel; pepper and salt to taste; 2 blades of mace, 2 cloves, a little allspice very finely pounded, 6 leaves of sage, and a small bunch of herbs minced very small.

Mode. — Bone the eel and skin it; split it, and sprinkle it over with the ingredients, taking care that the spices are very finely pounded, and the herbs chopped very small. Roll it up and bind with a broad piece of tape, and boil it in water, mixed with a little salt and vinegar, till tender. It may either be served whole or cut in slices; and when cold, the eel should be kept in the liquor it was boiled in, but with a little more vinegar put to it.

Time. — 2 hours. Average cost, 6d. per lb.

Seasonable from August to March.

HAUNTS OF THE EEL. — These are usually in mud, among weeds, under roots or stumps of trees, or in holes in the banks or the bottoms of rivers. Here they often grow to an enormous size, sometimes weighing as much as fifteen or sixteen pounds. They seldom come forth from their hiding-places except in the night; and, in winter, bury themselves deep in the mud, on account of their great susceptibility of cold.

Eels a La Tartare.

255. INGREDIENTS. — 2 lbs. of eels, 1 carrot, 1 onion, a little flour, 1 glass of sherry; salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste; bread crumbs, 1 egg, 2 tablespoonfuls of vinegar.

Mode. — Rub the butter on the bottom of the stewpan; cut up the carrot and onion, and stir them over the fire for 5 minutes; dredge in a little flour, add the wine and seasoning, and boil for 1/2 an hour. Skin and wash the eels, cut them into pieces, put them to the other ingredients, and simmer till tender. When they are done, take them out, let them get cold, cover them with egg and bread crumbs, and fry them of a nice brown. Put them on a dish, pour sauce piquante over, and serve them hot.

Time. — 1–1/2 hour. Average cost, 1s. 8d., exclusive of the sauce piquante.

Seasonable from August to March. Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.

VORACITY OF THE EEL. — We find in a note upon Isaac Walton, by Sir John Hawkins, that he knew of eels, when kept in ponds, frequently destroying ducks. From a canal near his house at Twickenham he himself missed many young ducks; and on draining, in order to clean it, great numbers of large eels were caught in the mud. When some of these were opened, there were found in their stomachs the undigested heads of the quacking tribe which had become their victims.

Eels En Matelote.

256. INGREDIENTS. — 5 or 6 young onions, a few mushrooms, when obtainable; salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste; 1 laurel-leaf, 1/2 pint of port wine, 1/2 pint of medium stock, No. 105; butter and flour to thicken; 2 lbs. of eels.

Mode. — Rub the stewpan with butter, dredge in a little flour, add the onions cut very small, slightly brown them, and put in all the other ingredients. Wash, and cut up the eels into pieces 3 inches long; put them in the stewpan, and simmer for 1/2 hour. Make round the dish, a border of croutons, or pieces of toasted bread; arrange the eels in a pyramid in the centre, and pour over the sauce. Serve very hot.

Time. — 3/4 hour. Average cost, 1s. 9d. for this quantity.

Seasonable from August to March. Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.

TENACITY OF LIFE IN THE EEL. — There is no fish so tenacious of life as this. After it is skinned and cut in pieces, the parts will continue to move for a considerable time, and no fish will live so long out of water.

THE LAMPREY. — With the Romans, this fish occupied a respectable rank among the piscine tribes, and in Britain it has at various periods stood high in public favour. It was the cause of the death of Henry I. of England, who ate so much of them, that it brought on an attack of indigestion, which carried him off. It is an inhabitant of the sea, ascending rivers, principally about the end of winter, and, after passing a few months in fresh water, returning again to its oceanic residence. It is most in season in March, April, and May, but is, by some, regarded as an unwholesome food, although looked on by others as a great delicacy. They are dressed as eels.

Fish and Oyster Pie.

257. INGREDIENTS. — Any remains of cold fish, such as cod or haddock; 2 dozen oysters, pepper and salt to taste, bread crumbs sufficient for the quantity of fish; 1/2 teaspoonful of grated nutmeg, 1 teaspoonful of finely-chopped parsley.

Mode. — Clear the fish from the bones, and put a layer of it in a pie-dish, which sprinkle with pepper and salt; then a layer of bread crumbs, oysters, nutmeg, and chopped parsley. Repeat this till the dish is quite full. You may form a covering either of bread crumbs, which should be browned, or puff-paste, which should be cut into long strips, and laid in cross-bars over the fish, with a line of the paste first laid round the edge. Before putting on the top, pour in some made melted butter, or a little thin white sauce, and the oyster-liquor, and bake.

Time. — If made of cooked fish, 1/4 hour; if made of fresh fish and puff-paste, 3/4 hour.

Average cost, 1s. 6d.

Seasonable from September to April.

Note. — A nice little dish may be made by flaking any cold fish, adding a few oysters, seasoning with pepper and salt, and covering with mashed potatoes; 1/4 hour will bake it.

Fish Cake.

258. INGREDIENTS. — The remains of any cold fish, 1 onion, 1 faggot of sweet herbs; salt and pepper to taste, 1 pint of water, equal quantities of bread crumbs and cold potatoes, 1/2 teaspoonful of parsley, 1 egg, bread crumbs.

Mode. — Pick the meat from the bones of the fish, which latter put, with the head and fins, into a stewpan with the water; add pepper and salt, the onion and herbs, and stew slowly for gravy about 2 hours; chop the fish fine, and mix it well with bread crumbs and cold potatoes, adding the parsley and seasoning; make the whole into a cake with the white of an egg, brush it over with egg, cover with bread crumbs, and fry of a light brown; strain the gravy, pour it over, and stew gently for 1/4 hour, stirring it carefully once or twice. Serve hot, and garnish with slices of lemon and parsley.

Time — 1/2 hour, after the gravy is made.

Boiled Flounders.

259. INGREDIENTS. — Sufficient water to cover the flounders, salt in the proportion of 6 oz. to each gallon, a little vinegar.

Mode. — Pat on a kettle with enough water to cover the flounders, lay in the fish, add salt and vinegar in the above proportions, and when it boils, simmer very gently for 5 minutes. They must not boil fast, or they will break. Serve with plain melted butter, or parsley and butter.

Time. — After the water boils, 5 minutes.

Average cost, 3d. each.

Seasonable from August to November.

THE FLOUNDER. — This comes under the tribe usually denominated Flat-fish, and is generally held in the smallest estimation of any among them. It is an inhabitant of both the seas and the rivers, while it thrives in ponds. On the English coasts it is very abundant, and the London market consumes it in large quantities. It is considered easy of digestion, and the Thames flounder is esteemed a delicate fish.

Fried Flounders.

260. INGREDIENTS. — Flounders, egg, and bread crumbs; boiling lard.

Mode. — Cleanse the fish, and, two hours before they are wanted, rub them inside and out with salt, to render them firm; wash and wipe them very dry, dip them into egg, and sprinkle over with bread crumbs; fry them in boiling lard, dish on a hot napkin, and garnish with crisped parsley.

Time. — From 5 to 10 minutes, according to size.

Average cost, 3d. each.

Seasonable from August to November.

Sufficient, 1 for each person.

Gudgeons.

261. INGREDIENTS. — Egg and bread crumbs sufficient for the quantity of fish; hot lard.

Mode. — Do not scrape off the scales, but take out the gills and inside, and cleanse thoroughly; wipe them dry, flour and dip them into egg, and sprinkle over with bread crumbs. Fry of a nice brown.

Time. — 3 or 4 minutes.

Average cost. Seldom bought.

Seasonable from March to July.

Sufficient, 3 for each person.

THE GUDGEON. — This is a fresh-water fish, belonging to the carp genus, and is found in placid streams and lakes. It was highly esteemed by the Greeks, and was, at the beginning of supper, served fried at Rome. It abounds both in France and Germany; and is both excellent and numerous in some of the rivers of England. Its flesh is firm, well-flavoured, and easily digested.

Gurnet, or Gurnard.

262. INGREDIENTS. — 1 gurnet, 6 oz. of salt to each gallon of water.

Mode. — Cleanse the fish thoroughly, and cut off the fins; have ready some boiling water, with salt in the above proportion; put the fish in, and simmer very gently for 1/2 hour. Parsley and butter, or anchovy sauce, should be served with it.

Time. — 1/2 hour.

Average cost. Seldom bought.

Seasonable from October to March, but in perfection in October.

Sufficient, a middling sized one for 2 persons.

Note. — This fish is frequently stuffed with forcemeat and baked.

THE GURNET.-“If I be not ashamed of my soldiers, I am a souced gurnet,” says Falstaff; which shows that this fish has been long known in England. It is very common on the British coasts, and is an excellent fish as food.

Baked Haddocks.

263. INGREDIENTS. — A nice forcemeat (see Forcemeats), butter to taste, egg and bread crumbs.

Mode. — Scale and clean the fish, without cutting it open much; put in a nice delicate forcemeat, and sew up the slit. Brush it over with egg, sprinkle over bread crumbs, and baste frequently with butter. Garnish with parsley and cut lemon, and serve with a nice brown gravy, plain melted butter, or anchovy sauce. The egg and bread crumbs can be omitted, and pieces of butter placed over the fish.

Time. — Large haddock, 3/4 hour; moderate size, 1/4 hour.

Seasonable from August to February.

Average cost, from 9d. upwards.

Note. — Haddocks may be filleted, rubbed over with egg and bread crumbs, and fried a nice brown; garnish with crisped parsley.

THE HADDOCK. — This fish migrates in immense shoals, and arrives on the Yorkshire coast about the middle of winter. It is an inhabitant of the northern seas of Europe, but does not enter the Baltic, and is not known in the Mediterranean. On each side of the body, just beyond the gills, it has a dark spot, which superstition asserts to be the impressions of the finger and thumb of St. Peter, when taking the tribute money out of a fish of this species.

Boiled Haddock.

264. INGREDIENTS. — Sufficient water to cover the fish; 1/4 lb. of salt to each gallon of water.

Mode. — Scrape the fish, take out the inside, wash it thoroughly, and lay it in a kettle, with enough water to cover it and salt in the above proportion. Simmer gently from 15 to 20 minutes, or rather more, should the fish be very large. For small haddocks, fasten the tails in their mouths, and put them into boiling water. 10 to 15 minutes will cook them. Serve with plain melted butter, or anchovy sauce.

Time. — Large haddock, 1/2 hour; small, 1/4 hour, or rather less.

Average cost, from 9d. upwards.

Seasonable from August to February.

WEIGHT OF THE HADDOCK. — The haddock seldom grows to any great size. In general, they do not weigh more than two or three pounds, or exceed ten or twelve inches in size. Such are esteemed very delicate eating; but they have been caught three feet long, when their flesh is coarse.

Dried Haddock.
I.

265. Dried haddock should be gradually warmed through, either before or over a nice clear fire. Rub a little piece of butter over, just before sending it to table.

II.

266. INGREDIENTS. — 1 large thick haddock, 2 bay-leaves, 1 small bunch of savoury herbs, not forgetting parsley, a little butter and pepper; boiling water.

Mode. — Cut up the haddock into square pieces, make a basin hot by means of hot water, which pour out. Lay in the fish, with the bay-leaves and herbs; cover with boiling water; put a plate over to keep in the steam, and let it remain for 10 minutes. Take out the slices, put them in a hot dish, rub over with butter and pepper, and serve.

Time. — 10 minutes. Seasonable at any time, but best in winter.

THE FINNAN HADDOCK. — This is the common haddock cured and dried, and takes its name from the fishing-village of Findhorn, near Aberdeen, in Scotland, where the art has long attained to perfection. The haddocks are there hung up for a day or two in the smoke of peat, when they are ready for cooking, and are esteemed, by the Scotch, a great delicacy. In London, an imitation of them is made by washing the fish over with pyroligneous acid, and hanging it up in a dry place for a few days.

Red Herrings, or Yarmouth Bloaters.

267. The best way to cook these is to make incisions in the skin across the fish, because they do not then require to be so long on the fire, and will be far better than when cut open. The hard roe makes a nice relish by pounding it in a mortar, with a little anchovy, and spreading it on toast. If very dry, soak in warm water 1 hour before dressing.

THE RED HERRING. — Red herrings lie twenty-four hours in the brine, when they are taken out and hung up in a smoking-house formed to receive them. A brushwood fire is then kindled beneath them, and when they are sufficiently smoked and dried, they are put into barrels for carriage.

Baked White Herrings.

268. INGREDIENTS. — 12 herrings, 4 bay-leaves, 12 cloves, 12 allspice, 2 small blades of mace, cayenne pepper and salt to taste, sufficient vinegar to fill up the dish.

Mode. — Take the herrings, cut off the heads, and gut them. Put them in a pie-dish, heads and tails alternately, and, between each layer, sprinkle over the above ingredients. Cover the fish with the vinegar, and bake for 1/2 hour, but do not use it till quite cold. The herrings may be cut down the front, the backbone taken out, and closed again. Sprats done in this way are very delicious.

Time. — 1/2 an hour.

Average cost, 1d. each.

TO CHOOSE THE HERRING. — The more scales this fish has, the surer the sign of its freshness. It should also have a bright and silvery look; but if red about the head, it is a sign that it has been dead for some time.

THE HERRING. — The herring tribe are found in the greatest abundance in the highest northern latitudes, where they find a quiet retreat, and security from their numerous enemies. Here they multiply beyond expression, and, in shoals, come forth from their icy region to visit other portions of the great deep. In June they are found about Shetland, whence they proceed down to the Orkneys, where they divide, and surround the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The principal British herring-fisheries are off the Scotch and Norfolk coasts; and the fishing is always carried on by means of nets, which are usually laid at night; for, if stretched by day, they are supposed to frighten the fish away. The moment the herring is taken out of the water it dies. Hence the origin of the common saying, “dead as a herring.”

Kegeree.

269. INGREDIENTS. — Any cold fish, 1 teacupful of boiled rice, 1 oz. of butter, 1 teaspoonful of mustard, 2 soft-boiled eggs, salt and cayenne to taste.

Mode. — Pick the fish carefully from the bones, mix with the other ingredients, and serve very hot. The quantities may be varied according to the amount of fish used.

Time. — 1/4 hour after the rice is boiled.

Average cost, 5d., exclusive of the fish.

To Boil Lobsters.

270. INGREDIENTS. — 1/4 lb. of salt to each gallon of water.

Mode. — Buy the lobsters alive, and choose those that are heavy and full of motion, which is an indication of their freshness. When the shell is incrusted, it is a sign they are old: medium-sized lobsters are the best. Have ready a stewpan of boiling water, salted in the above proportion; put in the lobster, and keep it boiling quickly from 20 minutes to 3/4 hour, according to its size, and do not forget to skim well. If it boils too long, the meat becomes thready, and if not done enough, the spawn is not red: this must be obviated by great attention. Hub the shell over with a little butter or sweet oil, which wipe off again.

Time. — Small lobster, 20 minutes to 1/2 hour; large ditto, 1/2 to 1/3 hour.

Average cost, medium size, 1s. 6d. to 2s. 6d.

Seasonable all the year, but best from March to October.

TO CHOOSE LOBSTERS. — This shell-fish, if it has been cooked alive, as it ought to have been, will have a stiffness in the tail, which, if gently raised, will return with a spring. Care, however, must be taken in thus proving it; for if the tail is pulled straight out, it will not return; when the fish might be pronounced inferior, which, in reality, may not be the case. In order to be good, lobsters should be weighty for their bulk; if light, they will be watery; and those of the medium size, are always the best. Small-sized lobsters are cheapest, and answer very well for sauce. In boiling lobsters, the appearance of the shell will be much improved by rubbing over it a little butter or salad-oil on being immediately taken from the pot.

THE LOBSTER. — This is one of the crab tribe, and is found on most of the rocky coasts of Great Britain. Some are caught with the hand, but the larger number in pots, which serve all the purposes of a trap, being made of osiers, and baited with garbage. They are shaped like a wire mousetrap; so that when the lobsters once enter them, they cannot get out again. They are fastened to a cord and sunk in the sea, and their place marked by a buoy. The fish is very prolific, and deposits of its eggs in the sand, where they are soon hatched. On the coast of Norway, they are very abundant, and it is from there that the English metropolis is mostly supplied. They are rather indigestible, and, as a food, not so nurtritive as they are generally supposed to be.

Hot Lobster.

271. INGREDIENTS. — 1 lobster, 2 oz. of butter, grated nutmeg; salt, pepper, and pounded mace, to taste; bread crumbs, 2 eggs.

Mode. — Pound the meat of the lobster to a smooth paste with the butter and seasoning, and add a few bread crumbs. Beat the eggs, and make the whole mixture into the form of a lobster; pound the spawn, and sprinkle over it. Bake 1/4 hour, and just before serving, lay over it the tail and body shell, with the small claws underneath, to resemble a lobster.

Time. — 1/4 hour. Average cost, 2s. 6d.

Seasonable at any time.

Sufficient for 4 or 5 persons.

Lobster Salad.

272. INGREDIENTS. — 1 hen lobster, lettuces, endive, small salad (whatever is in season), a little chopped beetroot, 2 hard-boiled eggs, a few slices of cucumber. For dressing, equal quantities of oil and vinegar, 1 teaspoonful of made mustard, the yolks of 2 eggs; cayenne and salt to taste; 3 teaspoonful of anchovy sauce. These ingredients should be mixed perfectly smooth, and form a creamy-looking sauce.

Mode. — Wash the salad, and thoroughly dry it by shaking it in a cloth. Cut up the lettuces and endive, pour the dressing on them, and lightly throw in the small salad. Mix all well together with the pickings from the body of the lobster; pick the meat from the shell, cut it up into nice square pieces, put half in the salad, the other half reserve for garnishing. Separate the yolks from the whites of 2 hard-boiled eggs; chop the whites very fine, and rub the yolks through a sieve, and afterwards the coral from the inside. Arrange the salad lightly on a glass dish, and garnish, first with a row of sliced cucumber, then with the pieces of lobster, the yolks and whites of the eggs, coral, and beetroot placed alternately, and arranged in small separate bunches, so that the colours contrast nicely.

Average cost, 3s. 6d. Sufficient for 4 or 5 persons.

Seasonable from April to October; may be had all the year, but salad is scarce and expensive in winter.

Note. — A few crayfish make a pretty garnishing to lobster salad.

THE SHELL OF THE LOBSTER. — Like the others of its tribe, the lobster annually casts its shell. Previously to its throwing off the old one, it appears sick, languid, and restless, but in the course of a few days it is entirely invested in its new coat of armour. Whilst it is in a defenceless state, however, it seeks some lonely place, where it may lie undisturbed, and escape the horrid fate of being devoured by some of its own species who have the advantage of still being encased in their mail.

Lobster (a la Mode Francaise).

273. INGREDIENTS. — 1 lobster, 4 tablespoonfuls of white stock, 2 tablespoonfuls of cream, pounded mace, and cayenne to taste; bread crumbs.

Mode. — Pick the meat from the shell, and cut it up into small square pieces; put the stock, cream, and seasoning into a stewpan, add the lobster, and let it simmer gently for 6 minutes. Serve it in the shell, which must be nicely cleaned, and have a border of puff-paste; cover it with bread crumbs, place small pieces of butter over, and brown before the fire, or with a salamander.

Time. — 1/4 hour. Average cost, 2s. 6d.

Seasonable at any time.

CELERITY OF THE LOBSTER. — In its element, the lobster is able to run with great speed upon its legs, or small claws, and, if alarmed, to spring, tail foremost, to a considerable distance, “even,” it is said, “with the swiftness of a bird flying.” Fishermen have seen some of them pass about thirty feet with a wonderful degree of swiftness. When frightened, they will take their spring, and, like a chamois of the Alps, plant themselves upon the very spot upon which they designed to hold themselves.

Lobster Curry (an Entree).

274. INGREDIENTS. — 1 lobster, 2 onions, 1 oz. butter, 1 tablespoonful of curry-powder, 1/2 pint of medium stock, No. 105, the juice of 1/2 lemon.

Mode. — Pick the meat from the shell, and cut it into nice square pieces; fry the onions of a pale brown in the butter, stir in the curry-powder and stock, and simmer till it thickens, when put in the lobster; stew the whole slowly for 1/2 hour, and stir occasionally; and just before sending to table, put in the lemon-juice. Serve boiled rice with it, the same as for other curries.

Time. — Altogether, 3/4 hour. Average cost, 3s.

Seasonable at any time.

Lobster Cutlets (an Entree).

275. INGREDIENTS. — 1 large hen lobster, 1 oz. fresh butter, 1/2 saltspoonful of salt, pounded mace, grated nutmeg, cayenne and white pepper to taste, egg, and bread crumbs.

Mode. — Pick the meat from the shell, and pound it in a mortar with the butter, and gradually add the mace and seasoning, well mixing the ingredients; beat all to a smooth paste, and add a little of the spawn; divide the mixture into pieces of an equal size, and shape them like cutlets. They should not be very thick. Brush them over with egg, and sprinkle with bread crumbs, and stick a short piece of the small claw in the top of each; fry them of a nice brown in boiling lard, and drain them before the fire, on a sieve reversed; arrange them nicely on a dish, and pour béchamel in the middle, but not over the cutlets.

Time. — About 8 minutes after the cutlets are made.

Average cost for this dish, 2s. 9d.

Seasonable all the year. Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.

ANCIENT MODE OF COOKING THE LOBSTER. — When this fish was to be served for the table, among the ancients, it was opened lengthwise, and filled with a gravy composed of coriander and pepper. It was then put on the gridiron and slowly cooked, whilst it was being basted with the same kind of gravy with which the flesh had become impregnated.

To Dress Lobsters.

276. When the lobster is boiled, rub it over with a little salad-oil, which wipe off again; separate the body from the tail, break off the great claws, and crack them at the joints, without injuring the meat; split the tail in halves, and arrange all neatly in a dish, with the body upright in the middle, and garnish with parsley. (See Coloured Plate, H.)

Lobster Patties (an Entree).

277. INGREDIENTS. — Minced lobster, 4 tablespoonfuls of béchamel, 6 drops of anchovy sauce, lemon-juice, cayenne to taste.

Mode. — Line the patty-pans with puff-paste, and put into each a small piece of bread: cover with paste, brush over with egg, and bake of a light colour. Take as much lobster as is required, mince the meat very fine, and add the above ingredients; stir it over the fire for 6 minutes; remove the lids of the patty-cases, take out the bread, fill with the mixture, and replace the covers.

Seasonable at any time.

LOCAL ATTACHMENT OF THE LOBSTER. — It is said that the attachment of this animal is strong to some particular parts of the sea, a circumstance celebrated in the following lines:—

“Nought like their home the constant lobsters prize,

And foreign shores and seas unknown despise.

Though cruel hands the banish’d wretch expel,

And force the captive from his native cell,

He will, if freed, return with anxious care,

Find the known rock, and to his home repair;

No novel customs learns in different seas,

But wonted food and home-taught manners please.”

Potted Lobster.

278. INGREDIENTS. — 2 lobsters; seasoning to taste, of nutmeg, pounded mace, white pepper, and salt; 1/4 lb. of butter, 3 or 4 bay-leaves.

Mode. — Take out the meat carefully from the shell, but do not cut it up. Put some butter at the bottom of a dish, lay in the lobster as evenly as possible, with the bay-leaves and seasoning between. Cover with butter, and bake for 3/4 hour in a gentle oven. When done, drain the whole on a sieve, and lay the pieces in potting-jars, with the seasoning about them. When cold, pour over it clarified butter, and, if very highly seasoned, it will keep some time.

Time. — 3/4 hour. Average cost for this quantity, 4s. 4d.

Seasonable at any time.

Note. — Potted lobster may be used cold, or as fricassee with cream sauce.

How the Lobster Feeds. — The pincers of the lobster’s large claws are furnished with nobs, and those of the other, are always serrated. With the former, it keeps firm hold of the stalks of submarine plants, and with the latter, it cuts and minces its food with great dexterity. The knobbed, or numb claw, as it is called by fishermen, is sometimes on the right and sometimes on the left, indifferently.

Baked Mackerel.

279. INGREDIENTS. — 4 middling-sized mackerel, a nice delicate forcemeat (see Forcemeats), 3 oz. of butter; pepper and salt to taste.

Mode. — Clean the fish, take out the roes, and fill up with forcemeat, and sew up the slit. Flour, and put them in a dish, heads and tails alternately, with the roes; and, between each layer, put some little pieces of butter, and pepper and salt. Bake for 1/2 an hour, and either serve with plain melted butter or a maître d’hôtel sauce.

Time. — 1/2 hour. Average cost for this quantity, 1s. 10d.

Seasonable from April to July.

Sufficient for 6 persons.

Note. — Baked mackerel may be dressed in the same way as baked herrings (see No. 268), and may also be stewed in wine.

WEIGHT OF THE MACKEREL. — The greatest weight of this fish seldom exceeds 2 lbs., whilst their ordinary length runs between 14 and 20 inches. They die almost immediately after they are taken from their element, and, for a short time, exhibit a phosphoric light.

Boiled Mackerel.

280. INGREDIENTS. — 1/4 lb. of salt to each gallon of water.

Mode. — Cleanse the inside of the fish thoroughly, and lay it in the kettle with sufficient water to cover it with salt as above; bring it gradually to boil, skim well, and simmer gently till done; dish them on a hot napkin, heads and tails alternately, and garnish with fennel. Fennel sauce and plain melted butter are the usual accompaniments to boiled mackerel; but caper or anchovy sauce is sometimes served with it. (See Coloured Plate, F.)

Time. — After the water boils, 10 minutes; for large mackerel, allow more time.

Average cost, from 4d.

Seasonable from April to July.

Note. — When variety is desired, fillet the mackerel, boil it, and pour over parsley and butter; send some of this, besides, in a tureen.

Broiled Mackerel.

281. INGREDIENTS. — Pepper and salt to taste, a small quantity of oil.

Mode. — Mackerel should never be washed when intended to be broiled, but merely wiped very clean and dry, after taking out the gills and insides. Open the back, and put in a little pepper, salt, and oil; broil it over a clear fire, turn it over on both sides, and also on the back. When sufficiently cooked, the flesh can be detached from the bone, which will be in about 15 minutes for a small mackerel. Chop a little parsley, work it up in the butter, with pepper and salt to taste, and a squeeze of lemon-juice, and put it in the back. Serve before the butter is quite melted, with a maître d’hôtel sauce in a tureen.

Time. — Small mackerel 15 minutes. Average cost, from 4d.

Seasonable from April to July.

THE MACKEREL. — This is not only one of the most elegantly-formed, but one of the most beautifully-coloured fishes, when taken out of the sea, that we have. Death, in some degree, impairs the vivid splendour of its colours; but it does not entirely obliterate them. It visits the shores of Great Britain in countless shoals, appearing about March, off the Land’s End; in the bays of Devonshire, about April; off Brighton in the beginning of May; and on the coast of Suffolk about the beginning of June. In the Orkneys they are seen till August; but the greatest fishery is on the west coasts of England.

TO CHOOSE MACKEREL. — In choosing this fish, purchasers should, to a great extent, be regulated by the brightness of its appearance. If it have a transparent, silvery hue, the flesh is good; but if it be red about the head, it is stale.

Fillets of Mackerel.

282. INGREDIENTS. — 2 large mackerel, 1 oz. butter, 1 small bunch of chopped herbs, 3 tablespoonfuls of medium stock, No. 105, 3 tablespoonfuls of béchamel (see Sauces); salt, cayenne, and lemon-juice to taste.

Mode. — Clean the fish, and fillet it; scald the herbs, chop them fine, and put them with the butter and stock into a stewpan. Lay in the mackerel, and simmer very gently for 10 minutes; take them out, and put them on a hot dish. Dredge in a little flour, add the other ingredients, give one boil, and pour it over the mackerel.

Time. — 20 minutes. Average cost for this quantity, 1s. 6d.

Seasonable from April to July.

Sufficient for 4 persons.

Note. — Fillets of mackerel may be covered with egg and bread crumbs, and fried of a nice brown. Serve with maître d’hôtel sauce and plain melted butter.

THE VORACITY OF THE MACKEREL. — The voracity of this fish is very great, and, from their immense numbers, they are bold in attacking objects of which they might, otherwise, be expected to have a wholesome dread. Pontoppidan relates an anecdote of a sailor belonging to a ship lying in one of the harbours on the coast of Norway, who, having gone into the sea to bathe, was suddenly missed by his companions; in the course of a few minutes, however, he was seen on the surface, with great numbers of mackerel clinging to him by their mouths. His comrades hastened in a boat to his assistance; but when they had struck the fishes from him and got him up, they found he was so severely bitten, that he shortly afterward expired.

Pickled Mackerel.

283. INGREDIENTS. — 12 peppercorns, 2 bay-leaves, 1/2 pint of vinegar, 4 mackerel.

Mode. — Boil the mackerel as in the recipe No. 282, and lay them in a dish; take half the liquor they were boiled in; add as much vinegar, peppercorns, and bay-leaves; boil for 10 minutes, and when cold, pour over the fish.

Time. — 1/2 hour.

Average cost, 1s. 6d.

MACKEREL GARUM. — This brine, so greatly esteemed by the ancients, was manufactured from various kinds of fishes. When mackerel was employed, a few of them were placed in a small vase, with a large quantity of salt, which was well stirred, and then left to settle for some hours. On the following day, this was put into an earthen pot, which was uncovered, and placed in a situation to get the rays of the sun. At the end of two or three months, it was hermetically sealed, after having had added to it a quantity of old wine, equal to one third of the mixture.

Grey Mullet.

284. INGREDIENTS. — 1/4 lb. of salt to each gallon of water.

Mode. — If the fish be very large, it should be laid in cold water, and gradually brought to a boil; if small, put it in boiling water, salted in the above proportion. Serve with anchovy sauce and plain melted butter.

Time. — According to size, 1/4 to 3/4 hour.

Average cost, 8d. per lb.

Seasonable from July to October.

THE GREY MULLET. — This is quite a different fish from the red mullet, is abundant on the sandy coasts of Great Britain, and ascends rivers for miles. On the south coast it is very plentiful, and is considered a fine fish. It improves more than any other salt-water fish when kept in ponds.

Red Mullet.

285. INGREDIENTS. — Oiled paper, thickening of butter and flour, 1/2 teaspoonful of anchovy sauce, 1 glass of sherry; cayenne and salt to taste.

Mode. — Clean the fish, take out the gills, but leave the inside, fold in oiled paper, and bake them gently. When done, take the liquor that flows from the fish, add a thickening of butter kneaded with flour; put in the other ingredients, and let it boil for 2 minutes. Serve the sauce in a tureen, and the fish, either with or without the paper cases.

Time. — About 25 minutes.

Average cost, 1s. each.

Seasonable at any time, but more plentiful in summer.

Note. — Red mullet may be broiled, and should be folded in oiled paper, the same as in the preceding recipe, and seasoned with pepper and salt. They may be served without sauce; but if any is required, use melted butter, Italian or anchovy sauce. They should never be plain boiled.

THE STRIPED RED MULLET. — This fish was very highly esteemed by the ancients, especially by the Romans, who gave the most extravagant prices for it. Those of 2 lbs. weight were valued at about £15 each; those of 4 lbs. at £60, and, in the reign of Tiberius, three of them were sold for £209. To witness the changing loveliness of their colour during their dying agonies, was one of the principal reasons that such a high price was paid for one of these fishes. It frequents our Cornish and Sussex coasts, and is in high request, the flesh being firm, white, and well flavoured.

Fried Oysters.

286. INGREDIENTS. — 3 dozen oysters, 2 oz. butter, 1 tablespoonful of ketchup, a little chopped lemon-peel, 1/2 teaspoonful of chopped parsley.

Mode. — Boil the oysters for 1 minute in their own liquor, and drain them; fry them with the butter, ketchup, lemon-peel, and parsley; lay them on a dish, and garnish with fried potatoes, toasted sippets, and parsley. This is a delicious delicacy, and is a favourite Italian dish.

Time. — 5 minutes. Average cost for this quantity, 1s. 9d.

Seasonable from September to April.

Sufficient for 4 persons.

THE EDIBLE OYSTER:— This shell-fish is almost universally distributed near the shores of seas in all latitudes, and they especially abound on the coasts of France and Britain. The coasts most celebrated, in England, for them, are those of Essex and Suffolk. Here they are dredged up by means of a net with an iron scraper at the mouth, that is dragged by a rope from a boat over the beds. As soon as taken from their native beds, they are stored in pits, formed for the purpose, furnished with sluices, through which, at the spring tides, the water is suffered to flow. This water, being stagnant, soon becomes green in warm weather; and, in a few days afterwards, the oysters acquire the same tinge, which increases their value in the market. They do not, however, attain their perfection and become fit for sale till the end of six or eight weeks. Oysters are not considered proper for the table till they are about a year and a half old; so that the brood of one spring are not to be taken for sale, till, at least, the September twelvemonth afterwards.

Scalloped Oysters.
I.

287. INGREDIENTS. — Oysters, say 1 pint, 1 oz. butter, flour, 2 tablespoonfuls of white stock, 2 tablespoonfuls of cream; pepper and salt to taste; bread crumbs, oiled butter.

Mode. — Scald the oysters in their own liquor, take them out, beard them, and strain the liquor free from grit. Put 1 oz. of batter into a stewpan; when melted, dredge in sufficient flour to dry it up; add the stock, cream, and strained liquor, and give one boil. Put in the oysters and seasoning; let them gradually heat through, but not boil. Have ready the scallop-shells buttered; lay in the oysters, and as much of the liquid as they will hold; cover them over with bread crumbs, over which drop a little oiled butter. Brown them in the oven, or before the fire, and serve quickly, and very hot.

Time. — Altogether, 1/4 hour.

Average cost for this quantity, 3s. 6d.

Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.

II.

Prepare the oysters as in the preceding recipe, and put them in a scallop-shell or saucer, and between each layer sprinkle over a few bread crumbs, pepper, salt, and grated nutmeg; place small pieces of butter over, and bake before the fire in a Dutch oven. Put sufficient bread crumbs on the top to make a smooth surface, as the oysters should not be seen.

Time. — About 1/4 hour.

Average cost, 3s. 2d.

Seasonable from September to April.

Stewed Oysters.

288. INGREDIENTS. — 1 pint of oysters, 1 oz. of butter, flour, 1/3 pint of cream; cayenne and salt to taste; 1 blade of pounded mace.

Mode. — Scald the oysters in their own liquor, take them out, beard them, and strain the liquor; put the butter into a stewpan, dredge in sufficient flour to dry it up, add the oyster-liquor and mace, and stir it over a sharp fire with a wooden spoon; when it comes to a boil, add the cream, oysters, and seasoning. Let all simmer for 1 or 2 minutes, but not longer, or the oysters would harden. Serve on a hot dish, and garnish with croutons, or toasted sippets of bread. A small piece of lemon-peel boiled with the oyster-liquor, and taken out before the cream is added, will be found an improvement.

Time. — Altogether 15 minutes.

Average cost for this quantity, 3s. 6d.

Seasonable from September to April.

Sufficient for 6 persons.

THE OYSTER AND THE SCALLOP. — The oyster is described as a bivalve shell-fish, having the valves generally unequal. The hinge is without teeth, but furnished with a somewhat oval cavity, and mostly with lateral transverse grooves. From a similarity in the structure of the hinge, oysters and scallops hare been classified as one tribe; but they differ very essentially both in their external appearance and their habits. Oysters adhere to rocks, or, as in two or three species, to roots of trees on the shore; while the scallops are always detached, and usually lurk in the sand.

Oyster Patties (an Entree).

289. INGREDIENTS. — 2 dozen oysters, 2 oz. butter, 3 tablespoonfuls of cream, a little lemon-juice, 1 blade of pounded mace; cayenne to taste.

Mode. — Scald the oysters in their own liquor, beard them, and cut each one into 3 pieces. Put the butter into a stewpan, dredge in sufficient flour to dry it up; add the strained oyster-liquor with the other ingredients; put in the oysters, and let them heat gradually, but not boil fast. Make the patty-cases as directed for lobster patties, No. 277: fill with the oyster mixture, and replace the covers.

Time. — 2 minutes for the oysters to simmer in the mixture.

Average cost, exclusive of the patty-cases, 1s. 1d.

Seasonable from September to April.

THE OYSTER FISHERY. — The oyster fishery in Britain is esteemed of so much importance, that it is regulated by a Court of Admiralty. In the month of May, the fishermen are allowed to take the oysters, in order to separate the spawn from the cultch, the latter of which is thrown in again, to preserve the bed for the future. After this month, it is felony to carry away the cultch, and otherwise punishable to take any oyster, between the shells of which, when closed, a shilling will rattle.

To Keep Oysters.

290. Put them in a tub, and cover them with salt and water. Let them remain for 12 hours, when they are to be taken out, and allowed to stand for another 12 hours without water. If left without water every alternate 12 hours, they will be much better than if constantly kept in it. Never put the same water twice to them.

Oysters Fried in Batter.

291. INGREDIENTS. — 1/2 pint of oysters, 2 eggs, 1/2 pint of milk, sufficient flour to make the batter; pepper and salt to taste; when liked, a little nutmeg; hot lard.

Mode. — Scald the oysters in their own liquor, beard them, and lay them on a cloth, to drain thoroughly. Break the eggs into a basin, mix the flour with them, add the milk gradually, with nutmeg and seasoning, and put the oysters in the batter. Make some lard hot in a deep frying-pan, put in the oysters, one at a time; when done, take them up with a sharp-pointed skewer, and dish them on a napkin. Fried oysters are frequently used for garnishing boiled fish, and then a few bread crumbs should be added to the flour.

Time. — 5 or 6 minutes.

Average cost for this quantity, 1s. 10d.

Seasonable from September to April.

Sufficient for 3 persons.

EXCELLENCE OF THE ENGLISH OYSTER. — The French assert that the English oysters, which are esteemed the best in Europe, were originally procured from Cancalle Bay, near St. Malo; but they assign no proof for this. It is a fact, however, that the oysters eaten in ancient Rome were nourished in the channel which then parted the Isle of Thanet from England, and which has since been filled up, and converted into meadows.

Boiled Perch.

292. INGREDIENTS. — 1/4 lb. of salt to each gallon of water.

Mode. — Scale the fish, take out the gills and clean it thoroughly; lay it in boiling water, salted as above, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. If the fish is very large, longer time must be allowed. Garnish with parsley, and serve with plain melted butter, or Dutch sauce. Perch do not preserve so good a flavour when stewed as when dressed in any other way.

Time. — Middling-sized perch, 1/4 hour.

Seasonable from September to November.

Note. — Tench may be boiled the same way, and served with the same sauces.

THE PERCH. — This is one of the best, as it is one of the most common, of our fresh-water fishes, and is found in nearly all the lakes and rivers in Britain and Ireland, as well as through the whole of Europe within the temperate zone. It is extremely voracious, and it has the peculiarity of being gregarious, which is contrary to the nature of all fresh-water fishes of prey. The best season to angle for it is from the beginning of May to the middle of July. Large numbers of this fish are bred in the Hampton Court and Bushy Park ponds, all of which are well supplied with running water and with plenty of food; yet they rarely attain a large size. In the Regent’s Park they are also very numerous; but are seldom heavier than three quarters of a pound.

Fried Perch.

293. INGREDIENTS. — Egg and bread crumbs, hot lard.

Mode. — Scale and clean the fish, brush it over with egg, and cover with bread crumbs. Have ready some boiling lard; put the fish in, and fry a nice brown. Serve with plain melted butter or anchovy sauce.

Time. — 10 minutes.

Seasonable from September to November.

Note. — Fry tench in the same way.

Perch Stewed with Wine.

294. INGREDIENTS. — Equal quantities of stock No. 105 and sherry, 1 bay-leaf, 1 clove of garlic, a small bunch of parsley, 2 cloves, salt to taste; thickening of butter and flour, pepper, grated nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoonful of anchovy sauce.

Mode. — Scale the fish and take out the gills, and clean them thoroughly; lay them in a stewpan with sufficient stock and sherry just to cover them. Put in the bay-leaf, garlic, parsley, cloves, and salt, and simmer till tender. When done, take out the fish, strain the liquor, add a thickening of butter and flour, the pepper, nutmeg, and the anchovy sauce, and stir it over the fire until somewhat reduced, when pour over the fish, and serve.

Time. — About 20 minutes.

Seasonable from September to November.

Boiled Pike.

295. INGREDIENTS. — 1/4 lb. of salt to each gallon of water; a little vinegar.

Mode. — Scale and clean the pike, and fasten the tail in its mouth by means of a skewer. Lay it in cold water, and when it boils, throw in the salt and vinegar. The time for boiling depends, of course, on the size of the fish; but a middling-sized pike will take about 1/2 an hour. Serve with Dutch or anchovy sauce, and plain melted butter.

Time. — According to size, 1/2 to 1 hour. — Average cost. Seldom bought.

Seasonable from September to March.

THE PIKE. — This fish is, on account of its voracity, termed the freshwater shark, and is abundant in most of the European lakes, especially those of the northern parts. It grows to an immense size, some attaining to the measure of eight feet, in Lapland and Russia. The smaller lakes, of this country and Ireland, vary in the kinds of fish they produce; some affording trout, others pike; and so on. Where these happen to be together, however, the trout soon becomes extinct. “Within a short distance of Castlebar,” says a writer on sports, “there is a small bog-lake called Derreens. Ten years ago it was celebrated for its numerous well-sized trouts. Accidentally pike effected a passage into the lake from the Minola river, and now the trouts are extinct, or, at least, none of them are caught or seen. Previous to the intrusion of the pikes, half a dozen trouts would be killed in an evening in Derreens, whose collective weight often amounted to twenty pounds.” As an eating fish, the pike is in general dry.

Baked Pike.

296. INGREDIENTS. — 1 or 2 pike, a nice delicate stuffing (see Forcemeats), 1 egg, bread crumbs, 1/4 lb. butter.

Mode. — Scale the fish, take out the gills, wash, and wipe it thoroughly dry; stuff it with forcemeat, sew it up, and fasten the tail in the mouth by means of a skewer; brush it over with egg, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and baste with butter, before putting it in the oven, which must be well heated. When the pike is of a nice brown colour, cover it with buttered paper, as the outside would become too dry. If 2 are dressed, a little variety may be made by making one of them green with a little chopped parsley mixed with the bread crumbs. Serve anchovy or Dutch sauce, and plain melted butter with it.

Time. — According to size, 1 hour, more or less.

Average cost. — Seldom bought.

Seasonable from September to March.

Note. — Pike à la génévese may be stewed in the same manner as salmon à la génévese.

Fried Plaice.

297. INGREDIENTS. — Hot lard, or clarified dripping; egg and bread crumbs.

Mode. — This fish is fried in the same manner as soles. Wash and wipe them thoroughly dry, and let them remain in a cloth until it is time to dress them. Brush them over with egg, and cover with bread crumbs mixed with a little flour. Fry of a nice brown in hot dripping or lard, and garnish with fried parsley and cut lemon. Send them to table with shrimp-sauce and plain melted butter.

Time. — About 5 minutes. Average cost, 3d. each.

Seasonable from May to November.

Sufficient, 4 plaice for 4 persons.

Note. — Plaice may be boiled plain, and served with melted butter. Garnish with parsley and cut lemon.

Stewed Plaice.

298. INGREDIENTS. — 4 or 5 plaice, 2 onions, 1/2 oz. ground ginger, 1 pint of lemon-juice, 1/4 pint water, 6 eggs; cayenne to taste.

Mode. — Cut the fish into pieces about 2 inches wide, salt them, and let them remain 1/4 hour. Slice and fry the onions a light brown; put them in a stewpan, on the top of which put the fish without washing, and add the ginger, lemon-juice, and water. Cook slowly for 1/2 hour, and do not let the fish boil, or it will break. Take it out, and when the liquor is cool, add 6 well-beaten eggs; simmer till it thickens, when pour over the fish, and serve.

Time. — 3/4 hour. Average cost for this quantity, 1s. 9d.

Seasonable from May to November.

Sufficient for 4 persons; according to size.

THE PLAICE. — This fish is found both in the Baltic and the Mediterranean, and is also abundant on the coast of England. It keeps well, and, like all ground-fish, is very tenacious of life. Its flesh is inferior to that of the sole, and, as it is a low-priced fish, it is generally bought by the poor. The best brought to the London market are called Dowers plaice, from their being caught in the Dowers, or flats, between Hastings and Folkstone.

To Boil Prawns or Shrimps.

299. INGREDIENTS. — 1/4 lb. salt to each gallon of water.

Mode. — Prawns should be very red, and have no spawn under the tail; much depends on their freshness and the way in which they are cooked. Throw them into boiling water, salted as above, and keep them boiling for about 7 or 8 minutes. Shrimps should be done in the same way; but less time must be allowed. It may easily be known when they are done by their changing colour. Care should be taken that they are not over-boiled, as they then become tasteless and indigestible.

Time. — Prawns, about 8 minutes; shrimps, about 5 minutes.

Average cost, prawns, 2s. per lb.; shrimps, 6d. per pint.

Seasonable all the year.

To Dress Prawns.

300. Cover a dish with a large cup reversed, and over that lay a small white napkin. Arrange the prawns on it in the form of a pyramid, and garnish with plenty of parsley.

Boiled Salmon.

301. INGREDIENTS. — 6 oz. of salt to each gallon of water — sufficient water to cover the fish.

Mode. — Scale and clean the fish, and be particular that no blood is left inside; lay it in the fish-kettle with sufficient cold water to cover it, adding salt in the above proportion. Bring it quickly to a boil, take off all the scum, and let it simmer gently till the fish is done, which will be when the meat separates easily from the bone. Experience alone can teach the cook to fix the time for boiling fish; but it is especially to be remembered, that it should never be underdressed, as then nothing is more unwholesome. Neither let it remain in the kettle after it is sufficiently cooked, as that would render it insipid, watery, and colourless. Drain it, and if not wanted for a few minutes, keep it warm by means of warm cloths laid over it. Serve on a hot napkin, garnish with cut lemon and parsley, and send lobster or shrimp sauce, and plain melted butter to table with it. A dish of dressed cucumber usually accompanies this fish.

Time. — 8 minutes to each lb. for large thick salmon; 6 minutes for thin fish. Average cost, in full season, 1s. 3d. per lb.

Seasonable from April to August.

Sufficient, 1/2 lb., or rather less, for each person.

Note. — Cut lemon should be put on the table with this fish; and a little of the juice squeezed over it is considered by many persons a most agreeable addition. Boiled peas are also, by some connoisseurs, considered especially adapted to be served with salmon.

TO CHOOSE SALMON. — To be good, the belly should be firm and thick, which may readily be ascertained by feeling it with the thumb and finger. The circumstance of this fish having red gills, though given as a standing rule in most cookery-books, as a sign of its goodness, is not at all to be relied on, as this quality can be easily given them by art.

Salmon and Caper Sauce.

302. INGREDIENTS. — 2 slices of salmon, 1/4 lb. batter, 1/2 teaspoonful of chopped parsley, 1 shalot; salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg to taste.

Mode. — Lay the salmon in a baking-dish, place pieces of butter over it, and add the other ingredients, rubbing a little of the seasoning into the fish; baste it frequently; when done, take it out and drain for a minute or two; lay it in a dish, pour caper sauce over it, and serve. Salmon dressed in this way, with tomato sauce, is very delicious.

Time. — About 3/4 hour. Average cost, 1s. 3d. per lb.

Seasonable from April to August.

Sufficient for 4 or 5 persons.

THE MIGRATORY HABITS OF THE SALMON. — The instinct with which the salmon revisits its native river, is one of the most curious circumstances in its natural history. As the swallow returns annually to its nest, so it returns to the same spot to deposit its ova. This fact would seem to have been repeatedly proved. M. De Lande fastened a copper ring round a salmon’s tail, and found that, for three successive seasons, it returned to the same place. Dr. Bloch states that gold and silver rings have been attached by eastern princes to salmon, to prove that a communication existed between the Persian Gulf and the Caspian and Northern Seas, and that the experiment succeeded.

Collared Salmon.

303. INGREDIENTS. — A piece of salmon, say 3 lbs., a high seasoning of salt, pounded mace, and pepper; water and vinegar, 3 bay-leaves.

Mode. — Split the fish; scale, bone, and wash it thoroughly clean; wipe it, and rub in the seasoning inside and out; roll it up, and bind firmly; lay it in a kettle, cover it with vinegar and water (1/3 vinegar, in proportion to the water); add the bay-leaves and a good seasoning of salt and whole pepper, and simmer till done. Do not remove the lid. Serve with melted butter or anchovy sauce. For preserving the collared fish, boil up the liquor in which it was cooked, and add a little more vinegar. Pour over when cold.

Time. — 3/4 hour, or rather more.

HABITAT OF THE SALMON. — The salmon is styled by Walton the “king of fresh-water fish,” and is found distributed over the north of Europe and Asia, from Britain to Kamschatka, but is never found in warm latitudes, nor has it ever been caught even so far south as the Mediterranean. It lives in fresh as well as in salt waters, depositing its spawn in the former, hundreds of miles from the mouths of some of those rivers to which it has been known to resort. In 1859, great efforts were made to introduce this fish into the Australian colonies; and it is believed that the attempt, after many difficulties, which were very skilfully overcome, has been successful.

Crimped Salmon.

304. Salmon is frequently dressed in this way at many fashionable tables, but must be very fresh, and cut into slices 2 or 3 inches thick. Lay these in cold salt and water for 1 hour; have ready some boiling water, salted, as in recipe No. 301, and well skimmed; put in the fish, and simmer gently for 1/4 hour, or rather more; should it be very thick, garnish the same as boiled salmon, and serve with the same sauces.

Time. — 1/4 hour, more or less, according to size.

Note. — Never use vinegar with salmon, as it spoils the taste and colour of the fish.

THE SALMON TRIBE. — This is the Abdominal fish, forming the fourth of the orders of Linnaeus. They are distinguished from the other fishes by having two dorsal fins, of which the hindmost is fleshy and without rays. They have teeth both on the tongue and in the jaws, whilst the body is covered with round and minutely striated scales.

Curried Salmon.

305. INGREDIENTS. — Any remains of boiled salmon, 3/4 pint of strong or medium stock (No. 105), 1 onion, 1 tablespoonful of curry-powder, 1 teaspoonful of Harvey’s sauce, 1 teaspoonful of anchovy sauce, 1 oz. of butter, the juice of 1/2 lemon, cayenne and salt to taste.

Mode. — Cut up the onions into small pieces, and fry them of a pale brown in the butter; add all the ingredients but the salmon, and simmer gently till the onion is tender, occasionally stirring the contents; cut the salmon into small square pieces, carefully take away all skin and bone, lay it in the stewpan, and let it gradually heat through; but do not allow it to boil long.

Time. — 3/4 hour. Average cost, exclusive of the cold fish, 9d.

GROWTH OF THE SALMON. — At the latter end of the year — some as soon as November — salmon begin to press up the rivers as far as they can reach, in order to deposit their spawn, which they do in the sand or gravel, about eighteen inches deep. Here it lies buried till the spring, when, about the latter end of March, it begins to exclude the young, which gradually increase to four or five inches in length, and are then termed smelts or smouts. About the beginning of May, the river seems to be alive with them, and there is no forming an idea of their numbers without having seen them. A seasonable flood, however, comes, and hurries them to the “great deep;” whence, about the middle of June, they commence their return to the river again. By this time they are twelve or sixteen inches long, and progressively increase, both in number and size, till about the end of July, when they have become large enough to be denominated grilse. Early in August they become fewer in numbers, but of greater size, haying advanced to a weight of from six to nine pounds. This rapidity of growth appears surprising, and realizes the remark of Walton, that “the salmlet becomes a salmon in as short a time as a gosling becomes a goose.” Recent writers have, however, thrown considerable doubts on this quick growth of the salmon.

Salmon Cutlets.

306. Cut the slices 1 inch thick, and season them with pepper and salt; butter a sheet of white paper, lay each slice on a separate piece, with their ends twisted; broil gently over a clear fire, and serve with anchovy or caper sauce. When higher seasoning is required, add a few chopped herbs and a little spice.

Time. — 5 to 10 minutes.

Salmon a La Genevese.

307. INGREDIENTS. — 2 slices of salmon, 2 chopped shalots, a little parsley, a small bunch of herbs, 2 bay-leaves, 2 carrots, pounded mace, pepper and salt to taste, 4 tablespoonfuls of Madeira, 1/2 pint of white stock (No. 107), thickening of butter and flour, 1 teaspoonful of essence of anchovies, the juice of 1 lemon, cayenne and salt to taste.

Mode. — Rub the bottom of a stewpan over with butter, and put in the shalots, herbs, bay-leaves, carrots, mace, and seasoning; stir them for 10 minutes over a clear fire, and add the Madeira or sherry; simmer gently for 1/2 hour, and strain through a sieve over the fish, which stew in this gravy. As soon as the fish is sufficiently cooked, take away all the liquor, except a little to keep the salmon moist, and put it into another stewpan; add the stock, thicken with butter and flour, and put in the anchovies, lemon-juice, cayenne, and salt; lay the salmon on a hot dish, pour over it part of the sauce, and serve the remainder in a tureen.

Time. — 1–1/4 hour. Average cost for this quantity, 3s. 6d.

Sufficient for 4 or 5 persons.

Pickled Salmon.

308. INGREDIENTS. — Salmon, 1/2 oz. of whole pepper, 1/2 oz. of whole allspice, 1 teaspoonful of salt, 2 bay-leaves, equal quantities of vinegar and the liquor in which the fish was boiled.

Mode. — After the fish comes from table, lay it in a nice dish with a cover to it, as it should be excluded from the air, and take away the bone; boil the liquor and vinegar with the other ingredients for 10 minutes, and let it stand to get cold; pour it over the salmon, and in 12 hours this will be fit for the table.

Time. — 10 minutes.

TO CURE SALMON. — This process consists in splitting the fish, rubbing it with salt, and then putting it into pickle in tubs provided for the purpose. Here it is kept for about six weeks, when it is taken out, pressed and packed in casks, with layers of salt.

Potted Salmon.

309. INGREDIENTS. — Salmon; pounded mace, cloves, and pepper to taste; 3 bay-leaves, 1/4 lb. butter.

Mode. — Skin the salmon, and clean it thoroughly by wiping with a cloth (water would spoil it); cut it into square pieces, which rub with salt; let them remain till thoroughly drained, then lay them in a dish with the other ingredients, and bake. When quite done, drain them from the gravy, press into pots for use, and, when cold, pour over it clarified butter.

Time. — 1/2 hour.

AN AVERSION IN THE SALMON. — The salmon is said to have an aversion to anything red; hence, fishermen engaged in catching it do not wear jackets or caps of that colour. Pontoppidan also says, that it has an abhorrence of carrion, and if any happens to be thrown into the places it haunts, it immediately forsakes them. The remedy adopted for this in Norway, is to throw into the polluted water a lighted torch. As food, salmon, when in perfection, is one of the most delicious and nutritive of our fish.

Baked Sea-Bream.

310. INGREDIENTS. — 1 bream. Seasoning to taste of salt, pepper, and cayenne; 1/4 lb. of butter.

Mode. — Well wash the bream, but do not remove the scales, and wipe away all moisture with a nice dry cloth. Season it inside and out with salt, pepper, and cayenne, and lay it in a baking-dish. Place the butter, in small pieces, upon the fish, and bake for rather more than 1/2 an hour. To stuff this fish before baking, will be found a great improvement.

Time. — Rather more than 1/2 an hour.

Seasonable in summer.

Note. — This fish may be broiled over a nice clear fire, and served with a good brown gravy or white sauce, or it may be stewed in wine.

THE SEA-BREAM. — This is an abundant fish in Cornwall, and it is frequently found in the fish-market of Hastings during the summer months, but it is not in much esteem.

Mr. Yarrell’s Recipe.

“When thoroughly cleansed, the fish should be wiped dry, but none of the scales should be taken off. In this state it should be broiled, turning it often, and if the skin cracks, flour it a little to keep the outer case entire. When on table, the whole skin and scales turn off without difficulty, and the muscle beneath, saturated in its own natural juices, which the outside covering has retained, will be of good flavour.”

To Dress Shad.

311. INGREDIENTS. — 1 shad, oil, pepper, and salt.

Mode. — Scale, empty and wash the fish carefully, and make two or three incisions across the back. Season it with pepper and salt, and let it remain in oil for 1/2 hour. Broil it on both sides over a clear fire, and serve with caper sauce. This fish is much esteemed by the French, and by them is considered excellent.

Time. — Nearly 1 hour.

Average cost. — Seldom bought.

Seasonable from April to June.

THE SHAD. — This is a salt-water fish, but is held in little esteem. It enters our rivers to spawn in May, and great numbers of them are taken opposite the Isle of Dogs, in the Thames.

Potted Shrimps.

312. INGREDIENTS. — 1 pint of shelled shrimps, 1/4 lb. of fresh butter, 1 blade of pounded mace, cayenne to taste; when liked, a little nutmeg.

Mode. — Have ready a pint of picked shrimps, and put them, with the other ingredients, into a stewpan; let them heat gradually in the butter, but do not let it boil. Pour into small pots, and when cold, cover with melted butter, and carefully exclude the air.

Time. — 1/4 hour to soak in the butter.

Average cost for this quantity, 1s. 3d.

Buttered Prawns or Shrimps.

313. INGREDIENTS. — 1 pint of picked prawns or shrimps, 3/4 pint of stock No. 104, thickening of butter and flour; salt, cayenne, and nutmeg to taste.

Mode. — Pick the prawns or shrimps, and put them in a stewpan with the stock; add a thickening of butter and flour; season, and simmer gently for 3 minutes. Serve on a dish garnished with fried bread or toasted sippets. Cream sauce may be substituted for the gravy.

Time. — 3 minutes.

Average cost for this quantity, 1s. 4d.

THE SHRIMP. — This shell-fish is smaller than the prawn, and is greatly relished in London as a delicacy. It inhabits most of the sandy shores of Europe, and the Isle of Wight is especially famous for them.

Boiled Skate.

314. INGREDIENTS. — 1/4 lb. of salt to each gallon of water.

Mode. — Cleanse and skin the skate, lay it in a fish-kettle, with sufficient water to cover it, salted in the above proportion. Let it simmer very gently till done; then dish it on a hot napkin, and serve with shrimp, lobster, or caper sauce.

Time. — According to size, from 1/2 to 1 hour. Average cost, 4d. per lb.

Seasonable from August to April.

Crimped Skate.

315. INGREDIENTS. — 1/8 lb. of salt to each gallon of water.

Mode. — Clean, skin, and cut the fish into slices, which roll and tie round with string. Have ready some water highly salted, put in the fish, and boil till it is done. Drain well, remove the string, dish on a hot napkin, and serve with the same sauces as above. Skate should never be eaten out of season, as it is liable to produce diarrhoea and other diseases. It may be dished without a napkin, and the sauce poured over.

Time. — About 20 minutes. Average cost, 4d. per lb.

Seasonable from August to April.

TO CHOOSE SKATE. — This fish should be chosen for its firmness, breadth, and thickness, and should have a creamy appearance. When crimped, it should not be kept longer than a day or two, as all kinds of crimped fish soon become sour.

THE SKATE. — This is one of the ray tribe, and is extremely abundant and cheap in the fishing towns of England. The flesh is white, thick, and nourishing; but, we suppose, from its being so plentiful, it is esteemed less than it ought to be on account of its nutritive properties, and the ease with which it is digested. It is much improved by crimping; in which state it is usually sold in London. The THORNBACK differs from the true skate by having large spines in its back, of which the other is destitute. It is taken in great abundance during the spring and summer months, but its flesh is not so good as it is in November. It is, in regard to quality, inferior to that of the true skate.

Skate with Caper Sauce (a la Francaise)

316. INGREDIENTS. — 2 or 3 slices of skate, 1/2 pint of vinegar, 2 oz. of salt, 1/2 teaspoonful of pepper, 1 sliced onion, a small bunch of parsley, 2 bay-leaves, 2 or 3 sprigs of thyme, sufficient water to cover the fish.

Mode. — Put in a fish-kettle all the above ingredients, and simmer the skate in them till tender. When it is done, skin it neatly, and pour over it some of the liquor in which it has been boiling. Drain it, put it on a hot dish, pour over it caper sauce, and send some of the latter to table in a tureen.

Time. — 1/2 hour. Average cost, 4d. per lb.

Seasonable from August to April.

Note. — Skate may also be served with onion sauce, or parsley and butter.

Small Skate Fried.

317. INGREDIENTS. — Skate, sufficient vinegar to cover them, salt and pepper to taste, 1 sliced onion, a small bunch of parsley, the juice of 1/2 lemon, hot dripping.

Mode. — Cleanse the skate, lay them in a dish, with sufficient vinegar to cover them; add the salt, pepper, onion, parsley, and lemon-juice, and let the fish remain in this pickle for 1–1/2 hour. Then drain them well, flour them, and fry of a nice brown, in hot dripping. They may be served either with or without sauce. Skate is not good if dressed too fresh, unless it is crimped; it should, therefore, be kept for a day, but not long enough to produce a disagreeable smell.

Time. — 10 minutes. Average cost, 4d. per lb.

Seasonable from August to April.

OTHER SPECIES OF SKATE. — Besides the true skate, there are several other species found in our seas. These are known as the white skate, the long-nosed skate, and the Homelyn ray, which are of inferior quality, though often crimped, and sold for true skate.

To Bake Smelts.

318. INGREDIENTS. — 12 smelts, bread crumbs, 1/4 lb. of fresh butter, 2 blades of pounded mace; salt and cayenne to taste.

Mode. — Wash, and dry the fish thoroughly in a cloth, and arrange them nicely in a flat baking-dish. Cover them with fine bread crumbs, and place little pieces of butter all over them. Season and bake for 15 minutes. Just before serving, add a squeeze of lemon-juice, and garnish with fried parsley and cut lemon.

Time. — 1/4 hour. Average cost, 2s. per dozen.

Seasonable from October to May.

Sufficient for 6 persons.

TO CHOOSE SMELTS. — When good, this fish is of a fine silvery appearance, and when alive, their backs are of a dark brown shade, which, after death, fades to a light fawn. They ought to have a refreshing fragrance, resembling that of a cucumber.

THE ODOUR OF THE SMELT. — This peculiarity in the smelt has been compared, by some, to the fragrance of a cucumber, and by others, to that of a violet. It is a very elegant fish, and formerly abounded in the Thames. The Atharine, or sand smelt, is sometimes sold for the true one; but it is an inferior fish, being drier in the quality of its flesh. On the south coast of England, where the true smelt is rare, it is plentiful.

To Fry Smelts.

319. INGREDIENTS. — Egg and bread crumbs, a little flour; boiling lard.

Mode. — Smelts should be very fresh, and not washed more than is necessary to clean them. Dry them in a cloth, lightly flour, dip them in egg, and sprinkle over with very fine bread crumbs, and put them into boiling lard. Fry of a nice pale brown, and be careful not to take off the light roughness of the crumbs, or their beauty will be spoiled. Dry them before the fire on a drainer, and servo with plain melted butter. This fish is often used as a garnishing.

Time. — 5 minutes.

Average cost, 2s. per dozen.

Seasonable from October to May.

THE SMELT. — This is a delicate little fish, and is in high esteem. Mr. Yarrell asserts that the true smelt is entirety confined to the western and eastern coasts of Britain. It very rarely ventures far from the shore, and is plentiful in November, December, and January.

Baked Soles.

320. INGREDIENTS. — 2 soles, 1/4 lb. of butter, egg, and bread crumbs, minced parsley, 1 glass of sherry, lemon-juice; cayenne and salt to taste.

Mode. — Clean, skin, and well wash the fish, and dry them thoroughly in a cloth. Brush them over with egg, sprinkle with bread crumbs mixed with a little minced parsley, lay them in a large flat baking-dish, white side uppermost; or if it will not hold the two soles, they may each be laid on a dish by itself; but they must not be put one on the top of the other. Melt the butter, and pour it over the whole, and bake for 20 minutes. Take a portion of the gravy that flows from the fish, add the wine, lemon-juice, and seasoning, give it one boil, skim, pour it under the fish, and serve.

Time. — 20 minutes. Average cost, 1s. to 2s. per pair.

Seasonable at any time.

Sufficient for 4 or 5 persons.

TO CHOOSE SOLES. — This fish should be both thick and firm. If the skin is difficult to be taken off, and the flesh looks grey, it is good.

THE SOLE. — This ranks next to the turbot in point of excellence among our flat fish. It is abundant on the British coasts, but those of the western shores are much superior in size to those taken on the northern. The finest are caught in Torbay, and frequently weigh 8 or 10 lbs. per pair. Its flesh being firm, white, and delicate, is greatly esteemed.

Boiled Soles.

321. INGREDIENTS. — 1/4 lb. salt to each gallon of water.

Mode. — Cleanse and wash the fish carefully, cut off the fins, but do not skin it. Lay it in a fish-kettle, with sufficient cold water to cover it, salted in the above proportion. Let it gradually come to a boil, and keep it simmering for a few minutes, according to the size of the fish. Dish it on a hot napkin after well draining it, and garnish with parsley and cut lemon. Shrimp, or lobster sauce, and plain melted butter, are usually sent to table with this dish.

Time. — After the water boils, 7 minutes for a middling-sized sole.

Average cost, 1s. to 2s. per pair.

Seasonable at any time.

Sufficient — 1 middling-sized sole for 2 persons.

Sole or Cod Pie.

322. INGREDIENTS. — The remains of cold boiled sole or cod, seasoning to taste of pepper, salt, and pounded mace, 1 dozen oysters to each lb. of fish, 3 tablespoonfuls of white stock, 1 teacupful of cream thickened with flour, puff paste.

Mode. — Clear the fish from the bones, lay it in a pie-dish, and between each layer put a few oysters and a little seasoning; add the stock, and, when liked, a small quantity of butter; cover with puff paste, and bake for 1/2 hour. Boil the cream with sufficient flour to thicken it; pour in the pie, and serve.

Time. — 1/2 hour. Average cost for this quantity, 10d.

Seasonable at any time.

Sufficient for 4 persons.

Soles with Cream Sauce.

323. INGREDIENTS. — 2 soles; salt, cayenne, and pounded mace to taste; the juice of 1/2 lemon, salt and water, 1/2 pint of cream.

Mode. — Skin, wash, and fillet the soles, and divide each fillet in 2 pieces; lay them in cold salt and water, which bring gradually to a boil. When the water boils, take out the fish, lay it in a delicately clean stewpan, and cover with the cream. Add the seasoning, simmer very gently for ten minutes, and, just before serving, put in the lemon-juice. The fillets may be rolled, and secured by means of a skewer; but this is not so economical a way of dressing them, as double the quantity of cream is required.

Time. — 10 minutes in the cream.

Average cost, from 1s. to 2s. per pair. Seasonable at any time.

Sufficient for 4 or 5 persons.

This will be found a most delicate and delicious dish.

THE SOLE A FAVOURITE WITH THE ANCIENT GREEKS. — This fish was much sought after by the ancient Greeks on account of its light and nourishing qualities. The brill, the flounder, the diamond and Dutch plaice, which, with the sole, were known under the general name of passeres, were all equally esteemed, and had generally the same qualities attributed to them.

Filleted Soles a L’italienne.

324. INGREDIENTS. — 2 soles; salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg to taste; egg and bread crumbs, butter, the juice of 1 lemon.

Mode. — Skin, and carefully wash the soles, separate the meat from the bone, and divide each fillet in two pieces. Brush them over with white of egg, sprinkle with bread crumbs and seasoning, and put them in a baking-dish. Place small pieces of butter over the whole, and bake for 1/2 hour. When they are nearly done, squeeze the juice of a lemon over them, and serve on a dish, with Italian sauce (see Sauces) poured over.

Time. — 1/2 hour. Average cost, from 1s. to 2s. per pair.

Seasonable at any time.

Sufficient for 4 or 6 persons.

WHITING may be dressed in the same manner, and will be found very delicious.

THE FLAVOUR OF THE SOLE. — This, as a matter of course, greatly depends on the nature of the ground and bait upon which the animal feeds. Its natural food are small crabs and shell-fish. Its colour also depends on the colour of the ground where it feeds; for if this be white, then the sole is called the white, or lemon sole; but if the bottom be muddy, then it is called the black sole. Small-sized soles, caught in shallow water on the coasts, are the best in flavour.

Fricasseed Soles.

325. INGREDIENTS. — 2 middling-sized soles, 1 small one, 1/2 teaspoonful of chopped lemon-peel, 1 teaspoonful of chopped parsley, a little grated bread; salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste; 1 egg, 2 oz. butter, 1/2 pint of good gravy, 2 tablespoonfuls of port wine, cayenne and lemon-juice to taste.

Mode. — Fry the soles of a nice brown, as directed in recipe No. 327, and drain them well from fat. Take all the meat from the small sole, chop it fine, and mix with it the lemon-peel, parsley, bread, and seasoning; work altogether, with the yolk of an egg and the butter; make this into small balls, and fry them. Thicken the gravy with a dessert-spoonful of flour, add the port wine, cayenne, and lemon-juice; lay in the 2 soles and balls; let them simmer gently for 6 minutes; serve hot, and garnish with cut lemon.

Time. — 10 minutes to fry the soles.

Average cost for this quantity, 3s.

Seasonable at any time. Sufficient for 4 or 5 persons.

HOW SOLES ARE CAUGHT. — The instrument usually employed is a trawl net, which is shaped like a pocket, of from sixty to eighty feet long, and open at the mouth from thirty-two to forty feet, and three deep. This is dragged along the ground by the vessel, and on the art of the fisherman in its employment, in a great measure depends the quality of the fish he catches. If, for example, he drags the net too quickly, all that are caught are swept rapidly to the end of the net, where they are smothered, and sometimes destroyed. A medium has to be observed, in order that as few as possible escape being caught in the net, and as many as possible preserved alive in it.

Fried Filleted Soles.

326. Soles for filleting should be large, as the flesh can be more easily separated from the bones, and there is less waste. Skin and wash the fish, and raise the meat carefully from the bones, and divide it into nice handsome pieces. The more usual way is to roll the fillets, after dividing each one in two pieces, and either bind them round with twine, or run a small skewer through them. Brush over with egg, and cover with bread crumbs; fry them as directed in the foregoing recipe, and garnish with fried parsley and cut lemon. When a pretty dish is desired, this is by far the most elegant mode of dressing soles, as they look much better than when fried whole. (See Coloured Plate A.) Instead of rolling the fillets, they may be cut into square pieces, and arranged in the shape of a pyramid on the dish.

Time. — About 10 minutes. Average cost, from 1s. to 2s. per pair.

Seasonable at any time.

Sufficient — 2 large soles for 6 persons.

Fried Soles.

327. INGREDIENTS. — 2 middling-sized soles, hot lard or clarified dripping, egg, and bread crumbs.

Mode. — Skin and carefully wash the soles, and cut off the fins, wipe them very dry, and let them remain in the cloth until it is time to dress them. Have ready some fine bread crumbs and beaten egg; dredge the soles with a little flour, brush them over with egg, and cover with bread crumbs. Put them in a deep pan, with plenty of clarified dripping or lard (when the expense is not objected to, oil is still better) heated, so that it may neither scorch the fish nor make them sodden. When they are sufficiently cooked on one side, turn them carefully, and brown them on the other: they may be considered ready when a thick smoke rises. Lift them out carefully, and lay them before the fire on a reversed sieve and soft paper, to absorb the fat. Particular attention should be paid to this, as nothing is more disagreeable than greasy fish: this may be always avoided by dressing them in good time, and allowing a few minutes for them to get thoroughly crisp, and free from greasy moisture. Dish them on a hot napkin, garnish with cut lemon and fried parsley, and send them to table with shrimp sauce and plain melted butter.

Time. — 10 minutes for large soles; less time for small ones.

Average cost, from 1s. to 2s. per pair.

Seasonable at any time.

Sufficient for 4 or 5 persons.

Soles with Mushrooms.

328. INGREDIENTS. — 1 pint of milk, 1 pint of water, 1 oz. butter, 1 oz. salt, a little lemon-juice, 2 middling-sized soles.

Mode. — Cleanse the soles, but do not skin them, and lay them in a fish-kettle, with the milk, water, butter, salt, and lemon-juice. Bring them gradually to boil, and let them simmer very gently till done, which will be in about 7 minutes. Take them up, drain them well on a cloth, put them on a hot dish, and pour over them a good mushroom sauce. (See Sauces.)

Time. — After the water boils, 7 minutes.

Seasonable at any time.

Sufficient for 4 persons.

Sprats.

329. Sprats should be cooked very fresh, which can be ascertained by their bright and sparkling eyes. Wipe them dry; fasten them in rows by a skewer run through the eyes; dredge with flour, and broil them on a gridiron over a nice clear fire. The gridiron should be rubbed with suet. Serve very hot.

Time — 3 or 4 minutes. Average cost, 1d. per lb.

Seasonable from November to March.

TO CHOOSE SPRATS. — Choose these from their silvery appearance, as the brighter they are, so are they the fresher.

Sprats Fried in Batter.

330. INGREDIENTS. — 2 eggs, flour, bread crumbs; seasoning of salt and pepper to taste.

Mode. — Wipe the sprats, and dip them in a batter made of the above ingredients. Fry of a nice brown, serve very hot, and garnish with fried parsley.

Sprats may be baked like herrings. (See No. 268.)

Dried Sprats.

331. Dried sprats should be put into a basin, and boiling water poured over them; they may then be skinned and served, and this will be found a much better way than boiling them.

THE SPRAT. — This migratory fish, is rarely found longer than four or five inches, and visits the shores of Britain after the herring and other kinds of fish have taken their departure from them. On the coasts of Suffolk, Essex, and Kent, they are very abundant, and from 400 to 500 boats are employed in catching them during the winter season. Besides plentifully supplying the London market, they are frequently sold at sixpence a bushel to farmers for manuring purposes. They enter the Thames about the beginning of November, and leave it in March. At Yarmouth and Gravesend they are cured like red herrings.

Baked Sturgeon.

332. INGREDIENTS. — 1 small sturgeon, salt and pepper to taste, 1 small bunch of herbs, the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/4 lb. of butter, 1 pint of white wine.

Mode — Cleanse the fish thoroughly, skin it, and split it along the belly without separating it; have ready a large baking-dish, in which lay the fish, sprinkle over the seasoning and herbs very finely minced, and moisten it with the lemon-juice and wine. Place the butter in small pieces over the whole of the fish, put it in the oven, and baste frequently; brown it nicely, and serve with its own gravy.

Time. — Nearly 1 hour. Average cost, 1s. to 1s. 6d. per lb.

Seasonable from August to March.

THE STURGEON. — This fish commences the sixth of Linnaean order, and all the species are large, seldom measuring, when full-grown, less than three or four feet in length. Its flesh is reckoned extremely delicious, and, in the time of the emperor Severus, was so highly valued by the ancients, that it was brought to table by servants crowned with coronets, and preceded by a band of music. It is an inhabitant of the Baltic, the Mediterranean, the Caspian, and the Black Sea, and of the Danube, the Volga, the Don, and other large rivers. It is abundant in the rivers of North America, and is occasionally taken in the Thames, as well as in the Eske and the Eden. It is one of those fishes considered as royal property. It is from its roe that caviare, a favourite food of the Russians, is prepared. Its flesh is delicate, firm, and white, but is rare in the London market, where it sells for 1s. or 1s. 6d. per lb.

THE STERLET is a smaller species of sturgeon, found in the Caspian Sea and some Russian rivers. It also is greatly prized on account of the delicacy of its flesh.

Roast Sturgeon.

333. INGREDIENTS. — Veal stuffing, buttered paper, the tail-end of a sturgeon.

Mode. — Cleanse the fish, bone and skin it; make a nice veal stuffing (see Forcemeats), and fill it with the part where the bones came from; roll it in buttered paper, bind it up firmly with tape, like a fillet of veal, and roast it in a Dutch oven before a clear fire. Serve with good brown gravy, or plain melted butter.

Time. — About 1 hour. Average cost, 1s. to 1s. 6d. per lb.

Seasonable from August to March.

Note. — Sturgeon may be plain-boiled, and served with Dutch sauce. The fish is very firm, and requires long boiling.

ESTIMATE OF THE STURGEON BY THE ANCIENTS. — By the ancients, the flesh of this fish was compared to the ambrosia of the immortals. The poet Martial passes a high eulogium upon it, and assigns it a place on the luxurious tables of the Palatine Mount. If we may credit a modern traveller in China, the people of that country generally entirely abstain from it, and the sovereign of the Celestial Empire confines it to his own kitchen, or dispenses it to only a few of his greatest favourites.

Matelot of Tench.

334. INGREDIENTS. — 1/2 pint of stock No. 105, 1/2 pint of port wine, 1 dozen button onions, a few mushrooms, a faggot of herbs, 2 blades of mace, 1 oz. of butter, 1 teaspoonful of minced parsley, thyme, 1 shalot, 2 anchovies, 1 teacupful of stock No. 105, flour, 1 dozen oysters, the juice of 1/2 lemon; the number of tench, according to size.

Mode. — Scale and clean the tench, cut them into pieces, and lay them in a stewpan; add the stock, wine, onions, mushrooms, herbs, and mace, and simmer gently for 1/2 hour. Put into another stewpan all the remaining ingredients but the oysters and lemon-juice, and boil slowly for 10 minutes, when add the strained liquor from the tench, and keep stirring it over the fire until somewhat reduced. Rub it through a sieve, pour it over the tench with the oysters, which must be previously scalded in their own liquor, squeeze in the lemon-juice, and serve. Garnish with croutons.

Time. 3/4 hour.

Seasonable from October to June.

THE TENCH. — This fish is generally found in foul and weedy waters, and in such places as are well supplied with rushes. They thrive best in standing waters, and are more numerous in pools and ponds than in rivers. Those taken in the latter, however, are preferable for the table. It does not often exceed four or five pounds in weight, and is in England esteemed as a delicious and wholesome food. As, however, they are sometimes found in waters where the mud is excessively fetid, their flavour, if cooked immediately on being caught, is often very unpleasant; but if they are transferred into clear water, they soon recover from the obnoxious taint.

Tench Stewed with Wine.

335. INGREDIENTS. — 1/2 pint of stock No. 105, 1/2 pint of Madeira or sherry, salt and pepper to taste, 1 bay-leaf, thickening of butter and flour.

Mode. — Clean and crimp the tench; carefully lay it in a stewpan with the stock, wine, salt and pepper, and bay-leaf; let it stew gently for 1/2 hour; then take it out, put it on a dish, and keep hot. Strain the liquor, and thicken it with butter and flour kneaded together, and stew for 5 minutes. If not perfectly smooth, squeeze it through a tammy, add a very little cayenne, and pour over the fish. Garnish with balls of veal forcemeat.

Time. — Rather more than 1/2 hour.

Seasonable from October to June.

A SINGULAR QUALITY IN THE TENCH. — It is said that the tench is possessed of such healing properties among the finny tribes, that even the voracious pike spares it on this account.

The pike, fell tyrant of the liquid plain,

With ravenous waste devours his fellow train;

Yet howsoe’er with raging famine pined,

The tench he spares, a medicinal kind;

For when by wounds distress’d, or sore disease,

He courts the salutary fish for ease;

Close to his scales the kind physician glides,

And sweats a healing balsam from his sides.

In our estimation, however, this self-denial in the pike may be attributed to a less poetical cause; namely, from the mud-loving disposition of the tench, it is enabled to keep itself so completely concealed at the bottom of its aqueous haunts, that it remains secure from the attacks of its predatory neighbour.

Stewed Trout.

336. INGREDIENTS. — 2 middling-sized trout, 1/2 onion cut in thin slices, a little parsley, 2 cloves, 1 blade of mace, 2 bay-leaves, a little thyme, salt and pepper to taste, 1 pint of medium stock No. 105, 1 glass of port wine, thickening of butter and flour.

Mode. — Wash the fish very clean, and wipe it quite dry. Lay it in a stewpan, with all the ingredients but the butter and flour, and simmer gently for 1/2 hour, or rather more, should not the fish be quite done. Take it out, strain the gravy, add the thickening, and stir it over a sharp fire for 5 minutes; pour it over the trout, and serve.

Time. — According to size, 1/2 hour or more.

Average cost. — Seldom bought.

Seasonable from May to September, and fatter from the middle to the end of August than at any other time.

Sufficient for 4 persons.

Trout may be served with anchovy or caper sauce, baked in buttered paper, or fried whole like smelts. Trout dressed a la Génévese is extremely delicate; for this proceed the same as with salmon, No. 307.

THE TROUT. — This fish, though esteemed by the moderns for its delicacy, was little regarded by the ancients. Although it abounded in the lakes of the Roman empire, it is generally mentioned by writers only on account of the beauty of its colours. About the end of September, they quit the deep water to which they had retired during the hot weather, for the purpose of spawning. This they always do on a gravelly bottom, or where gravel and sand are mixed among stones, towards the end or by the sides of streams. At this period they become black about the head and body, and become soft and unwholesome. They are never good when they are large with roe; but there are in all trout rivers some barren female fish, which continue good throughout the winter. In the common trout, the stomach is uncommonly strong and muscular, shell-fish forming a portion of the food of the animal; and it takes into its stomach gravel or small stones in order to assist in comminuting it.

Boiled Turbot.

337. INGREDIENTS. — 6 oz. of salt to each gallon of water.

Mode — Choose a middling-sized turbot; for they are invariably the most valuable: if very large, the meat will be tough and thready. Three or four hours before dressing, soak the fish in salt and water to take off the slime; then thoroughly cleanse it, and with a knife make an incision down the middle of the back, to prevent the skin of the belly from cracking. Rub it over with lemon, and be particular not to cut off the fins. Lay the fish in a very clean turbot-kettle, with sufficient cold water to cover it, and salt in the above proportion. Let it gradually come to a boil, and skim very carefully; keep it gently simmering, and on no account let it boil fast, as the fish would have a very unsightly appearance. When the meat separates easily from the bone, it is done; then take it out, let it drain well, and dish it on a hot napkin. Rub a little lobster spawn through a sieve, sprinkle it over the fish, and garnish with tufts of parsley and cut lemon. Lobster or shrimp sauce, and plain melted butter, should be sent to table with it. (See Coloured Plate E.)

Time. — After the water boils, about 1/2 hour for a large turbot; middling size, about 20 minutes.

Average cost — large turbot, from 10s. to 12s.; middling size, from 12s. to 15s.

Seasonable at any time.

Sufficient, 1 middling-sized turbot for 8 persons.

Note. — An amusing anecdote is related, by Miss Edgeworth, of a bishop, who, descending to his kitchen to superintend the dressing of a turbot, and discovering that his cook had stupidly cut off the fins, immediately commenced sewing them on again with his own episcopal fingers. This dignitary knew the value of a turbot’s gelatinous appendages.

Garnish for Turbot or Other Large Fish.

338. Take the crumb of a stale loaf, cut it into small pyramids with flat tops, and on the top of each pyramid, put rather more than a tablespoonful of white of egg beaten to a stiff froth. Over this, sprinkle finely-chopped parsley and fine raspings of a dark colour. Arrange these on the napkin round the fish, one green and one brown alternately.

TO CHOOSE TURBOT. — See that it is thick, and of a yellowish white; for if of a bluish tint, it is not good.

THE TURBOT. — This is the most esteemed of all our flat fish. The northern parts of the English coast, and some places off the coast of Holland, produce turbot in great abundance, and in greater excellence than any other parts of the world. The London market is chiefly supplied by Dutch fishermen, who bring to it nearly 90,000 a year. The flesh is firm, white, rich, and gelatinous, and is the better for being kept a day or two previous to cooking it. In many parts of the country, turbot and halibut are indiscriminately sold for each other. They are, however, perfectly distinct; the upper parts of the former being marked with large, unequal, and obtuse tubercles, while those of the other are quite smooth, and covered with oblong soft scales, which firmly adhere to the body.

FISH-KETTLES are made in an oblong form, and have two handles, with a movable bottom, pierced full of holes, on which the fish is laid, and on which it may be lifted from the water, by means of two long handles attached to each side of the movable bottom. This is to prevent the liability of breaking the fish, as it would necessarily be if it were cooked in a common saucepan. In the list of Messrs. Richard and John Slack (see 71), the price of two of these is set down at 10s. The turbot-kettle, as will be seen by our cut, is made differently from ordinary fish-kettles, it being less deep, whilst it is wider, and more pointed at the sides; thus exactly answering to the shape of the fish which it is intended should be boiled in it. It may be obtained from the same manufacturers, and its price is £1.

Baked Fillets of Turbot.

339. INGREDIENTS. — The remains of cold turbot, lobster sauce left from the preceding day, egg, and bread crumbs; cayenne and salt to taste; minced parsley, nutmeg, lemon-juice.

Mode. — After having cleared the fish from all skin and bone, divide it into square pieces of an equal size; brush them over with egg, sprinkle with bread crumbs mixed with a little minced parsley and seasoning. Lay the fillets in a baking-dish, with sufficient butter to baste with. Bake for 1/4 hour, and do not forget to keep them well moistened with the butter. Put a little lemon-juice and grated nutmeg to the cold lobster sauce; make it hot, and pour over the fish, which must be well drained from the butter. Garnish with parsley and cut lemon.

Time. — Altogether, 1/2 hour.

Seasonable at any time.

Note. — Cold turbot thus warmed in the remains of lobster sauce will be found much nicer than putting the fish again in water.

Fillets of Turbot a L’italienne.

340. INGREDIENTS. — The remains of cold turbot, Italian sauce. (See Sauces.)

Mode. — Clear the fish carefully from the bone, and take away all skin, which gives an unpleasant flavour to the sauce. Make the sauce hot, lay in the fish to warm through, but do not let it boil. Garnish with croutons.

Time. — 5 minutes.

Seasonable all the year.

THE ANCIENT ROMANS’ ESTIMATE OF TURBOT. — As this luxurious people compared soles to partridges, and sturgeons to peacocks, so they found a resemblance to the turbot in the pheasant. In the time of Domitian, it is said one was taken of such dimensions as to require, in the imperial kitchen, a new stove to be erected, and a new dish to be made for it, in order that it might be cooked and served whole: not even imperial Rome could furnish a stove or a dish large enough for the monstrous animal. Where it was caught, we are not aware; but the turbot of the Adriatic Sea held a high rank in the “Eternal City.”

Turbot a La Creme.

341. INGREDIENTS. — The remains of cold turbot. For sauce, 2 oz. of butter, 4 tablespoonfuls of cream; salt, cayenne, and pounded mace to taste.

Mode. — Clear away all skin and bone from the flesh of the turbot, which should be done when it comes from table, as it causes less waste when trimmed hot. Cut the flesh into nice square pieces, as equally as possible; put into a stewpan the butter, let it melt, and add the cream and seasoning; let it just simmer for one minute, but not boil. Lay in the fish to warm, and serve it garnished with croutons or a paste border.

Time. — 10 minutes.

Seasonable at any time.

Note. — The remains of cold salmon may be dressed in this way, and the above mixture may be served in a vol-au-vent.

Turbot Au Gratin.

342. INGREDIENTS. — Remains of cold turbot, béchamel (see Sauces), bread crumbs, butter.

Mode. — Cut the flesh of the turbot into small dice, carefully freeing it from all skin and bone. Put them into a stewpan, and moisten with 4 or 5 tablespoonfuls of béchamel. Let it get thoroughly hot, but do not allow it to boil. Spread the mixture on a dish, cover with finely-grated bread crumbs, and place small pieces of butter over the top. Brown it in the oven, or with a salamander.

Time. — Altogether, 1/2 hour. Seasonable at any time.

Boiled Whiting.

343. INGREDIENTS. — 1/4 lb. of salt to each gallon of water.

Mode. — Cleanse the fish, but do not skin them; lay them in a fish-kettle, with sufficient cold water to cover them, and salt in the above proportion. Bring them gradually to a boil, and simmer gently for about 5 minutes, or rather more should the fish be very large. Dish them on a hot napkin, and garnish with tufts of parsley. Serve with anchovy or caper sauce, and plain melted butter.

Time. — After the water boils, 5 minutes.

Average cost for small whitings, 4d. each.

Seasonable all the year, but best from October to March.

Sufficient, 1 small whiting for each person.

To CHOOSE WHITING. — Choose for the firmness of its flesh and the silvery hue of its appearance.

The Whiting. — This fish forms a light, tender, and delicate food, easy of digestion. It appears in our seas in the spring, within three miles of the shores, where it arrives in large shoals to deposit its spawn. It is caught by line, and is usually between ten and twelve inches long, and seldom exceeding a pound and a half in weight. On the edge of the Dogger Bank, however, it has been caught so heavy as to weigh from three to seven or eight pounds. When less than six inches long, it is not allowed to be caught.

Broiled Whiting.

344. INGREDIENTS. — Salt and water, flour.

Mode. — Wash the whiting in salt and water, wipe them thoroughly, and let them remain in the cloth to absorb all moisture. Flour them well, and broil over a very clear fire. Serve with maître d’hôtel sauce, or plain melted butter (see Sauces). Be careful to preserve the liver, as by some it is considered very delicate.

Time. — 5 minutes for a small whiting. Average cost, 4d. each.

Seasonable all the year, but best from October to March.

Sufficient, 1 small whiting for each person.

Buckhorn. — Whitings caught in Cornwall are salted and dried, and in winter taken to the markets, and sold under the singular name of “Buckhorn.”

Fried Whiting.

345. INGREDIENTS. — Egg and bread crumbs, a little flour, hot lard or clarified dripping.

Mode. — Take off the skin, clean, and thoroughly wipe the fish free from all moisture, as this is most essential, in order that the egg and bread crumbs may properly adhere. Fasten the tail in the mouth by means of a small skewer, brush the fish over with egg, dredge with a little flour, and cover with bread crumbs. Fry them in hot lard or clarified dripping of a nice colour, and serve them on a napkin, garnished with fried parsley. (See Coloured Plate D.) Send them to table with shrimp sauce and plain melted butter.

Time. — About 6 minutes. Average cost, 4d. each.

Seasonable all the year, but best from October to March.

Sufficient, 1 small whiting for each person.

Note. — Large whitings may be filleted, rolled, and served as fried filleted soles (see Coloured Plato A). Small fried whitings are frequently used for garnishing large boiled fish, such as turbot, cod, etc.

Whiting Au Gratin, or Baked Whiting.

346. INGREDIENTS. — 4 whiting, butter, 1 tablespoonful of minced parsley, a few chopped mushrooms when obtainable; pepper, salt, and grated nutmeg to taste; butter, 2 glasses of sherry or Madeira, bread crumbs.

Mode. — Grease the bottom of a baking-dish with butter, and over it, strew some minced parsley and mushrooms. Scale, empty, and wash the whitings, and wipe them thoroughly dry, carefully preserving the livers. Lay them in the dish, sprinkle them with bread crumbs and seasoning, adding a little grated nutmeg, and also a little more minced parsley and mushrooms. Place small pieces of butter over the whiting, moisten with the wine, and bake for 20 minutes in a hot oven. If there should be too much sauce, reduce it by boiling over a sharp fire for a few minutes, and pour under the fish. Serve with a cut lemon, and no other sauce.

Time. —-20 minutes. Average cost, 4d. each.

Seasonable all the year, but best from October to March.

Sufficient. — This quantity for 4 or 5 persons.

Whiting Aux Fine Herbes.

347. INGREDIENTS.-1 bunch of sweet herbs chopped very fine; butter.

Mode. — Clean and skin the fish, fasten the tails in the mouths; and lay them in a baking-dish. Mince the herbs very fine, strew them over the fish, and place small pieces of butter over; cover with another dish, and let them simmer in a Dutch oven for 1/4 hour or 20 minutes. Turn the fish once or twice, and serve with the sauce poured over.

Time. — 1/4 hour or 20 minutes. Average cost, 4d. each.

Seasonable all the year, but best from October to March.

Sufficient, 1 small whiting for each person.

THE WHITING POUT, AND POLLACK. — About the mouth of the Thames, and generally all round the English coasts, as well as in the northern seas, the pout is plentiful. It bears a striking resemblance to the whiting, and is esteemed as an excellent fish. — The pollack is also taken all round our coasts, and likewise bears a striking resemblance to the whiting; indeed, it is sometimes mistaken by the inexperienced for that fish; its flesh being considered by many equally delicate.

To Dress Whitebait.

348. INGREDIENTS. — A little flour, hot lard, seasoning of salt.

Mode. — This fish should be put into iced water as soon as bought, unless they are cooked immediately. Drain them from the water in a colander, and have ready a nice clean dry cloth, over which put 2 good handfuls of flour. Toss in the whitebait, shake them lightly in the cloth, and put them in a wicker sieve to take away the superfluous flour. Throw them into a pan of boiling lard, very few at a time, and let them fry till of a whitey-brown colour. Directly they are done, they must he taken out, and laid before the fire for a minute or two on a sieve reversed, covered with blotting-paper to absorb the fat. Dish them on a hot napkin, arrange the fish very high in the centre, and sprinkle a little salt over the whole.

Time. — 3 minutes.

Seasonable from April to August.

WHITEBAIT. — This highly-esteemed little fish appears in innumerable multitudes in the river Thames, near Greenwich and Blackwall, during the month of July, when it forms, served with lemon and brown bread and butter, a tempting dish to vast numbers of Londoners, who flock to the various taverns of these places, in order to gratify their appetites. The fish has been supposed be the fry of the shad, the sprat, the smelt, or the bleak. Mr. Yarrell, however, maintains that it is a species in itself, distinct from every other fish. When fried with flour, it is esteemed a great delicacy. The ministers of the Crown have had a custom, for many years, of having a “whitebait dinner” just before the close of the session. It is invariably the precursor of the prorogation of Parliament, and the repast is provided by the proprietor of the “Trafalgar,” Greenwich.

Fish Pie, with Tench and Eels.

349. INGREDIENTS. — 2 tench, 2 eels, 2 onions, a faggot of herbs, 4 blades of mace, 3 anchovies, 1 pint of water, pepper and salt to taste, 1 teaspoonful of chopped parsley, the yolks of 6 hard-boiled eggs, puff paste.

Mode. — Clean and bone the tench, skin and bone the eels, and cut them into pieces 2 inches long, and leave the sides of the tench whole. Put the bones into a stewpan with the onions, herbs, mace, anchovies, water, and seasoning, and let them simmer gently for 1 hour. Strain it off, put it to cool, and skim off all the fat. Lay the tench and eels in a pie-dish, and between each layer put seasoning, chopped parsley, and hard-boiled eggs; pour in part of the strained liquor, cover in with puff paste, and bake for 1/2 hour or rather more. The oven should be rather quick, and when done, heat the remainder of the liquor, which pour into the pie.

Time. — 1/2 hour to bake, or rather more if the oven is slow.

Fish Scallop.
I.

350. INGREDIENTS. — Remains of cold fish of any sort, 1/2 pint of cream, 1/2 tablespoonful of anchovy sauce, 1/2 teaspoonful of made mustard, ditto of walnut ketchup, pepper and salt to taste (the above quantities are for 1/2 lb. of fish when picked); bread crumbs.

Mode. — Put all the ingredients into a stewpan, carefully picking the fish from the bones; set it on the fire, let it remain till nearly hot, occasionally stir the contents, but do not allow it to boil. When done, put the fish into a deep dish or scallop shell, with a good quantity of bread crumbs; place small pieces of butter on the top, set in a Dutch oven before the fire to brown, or use a salamander.

Time. — 1/4 hour. Average cost, exclusive of the cold fish, 10d.

II.

351. INGREDIENTS. — Any cold fish, 1 egg, milk, 1 large blade of pounded mace, 1 tablespoonful of flour, 1 teaspoonful of anchovy sauce, pepper and salt to taste, bread crumbs, butter.

Mode. — Pick the fish carefully from the bones, and moisten with milk and the egg; add the other ingredients, and place in a deep dish or scallop shells; cover with bread crumbs, butter the top, and brown before the fire; when quite hot, serve.

Time. — 20 minutes. Average cost, exclusive of the cold fish, 4d.

Water Souchy.

352. Perch, tench, soles, eels, and flounders are considered the best fish for this dish. For the souchy, put some water into a stewpan with a bunch of chopped parsley, some roots, and sufficient salt to make it brackish. Let these simmer for 1 hour, and then stew the fish in this water. When they are done, take them out to drain, have ready some finely-chopped parsley, and a few roots cut into slices of about one inch thick and an inch in length. Put the fish in a tureen or deep dish, strain the liquor over them, and add the minced parsley and roots. Serve with brown bread and butter.

353. SUPPLY OF FISH TO THE LONDON MARKET. — From Mr. Mayhew’s work on “London Labour and the London Poor,” and other sources, we are enabled to give the following table of the total annual supply of fish to the London market:—

Description of Fish. Number of Fish Weight of Fish in lbs
WET FISH.
Salmon and Salmon–Trout(29,000 boxes, 14 fish per box) 406,000 3,480,000
Turbot, from 8 to 16 lbs. 800,000 5,600,000
Live Cod, averaging 10 lbs. each 400,000 4,000,000
Soles, averaging 1/4 lbs. each 97,520,000 26,880,000
Brill and Mullet, averaging 3 lbs. each 1,220,000 3,366,000
Whiting, averaging 6 oz. each 17,920,000 6,720,000
Haddock, averaging 2 lbs. each 2,470,000 4,940,000
Plaice, averaging 1 lb. each 33,600,000 33,600,000
Mackerel, averaging 1 lb ach 23,520,000 23,520,000
Fresh herrings (250,000 barrels, 700 fish per barrel) 175,000,000 42,000,000
Ditto in bulk 1,050,000,000 252,000,000
Sprats 4,000,000
Eels (from Holland principally) England and Ireland 9,797,760 1,632,960
Flounders 259,200 48,200
Dabs 270,000 48,750
DRY FISH.
Barrelled Cod(15,000 barrels, 40 fish per barrel) 750,000 4,200,000
Dried Salt Cod, 5 lbs each 1,600,000 8,000,000
Smoked Haddock(65,000 barrels, 300 fish per barrel) 19,500,000 10,920,000
Bloaters, 265,000 baskets(150 fish per basket) 147,000,000 10,600,000
Red Herrings, 100,000 barrels(500 fish per barrel) 50,000,000 14,000,000
Dried Sprats, 9,600 large bundles (30 fish per bundle) 288,000 9,600
SHELL FISH.
Oysters 495,896,000
Lobsters, averaging 1 lb each 1,200,000 1,200,000
Crabs, averaging 1 lb each 600,000 600,000
Shrimps, 324 to a pint 498,428,648
Whelks, 227 to a half-bushel 4,943,200
Mussels, 1000 to ditto 50,400,000
Cockles, 2000 to ditto 67,392,000
Periwinkles, 4000 to ditto 304,000,000

The whole of the above may be, in round numbers, reckoned to amount to the enormous number of 3,000,000,000 fish, with a weight of 300,000 tons.

Addendum and Anecdote.

It will be seen, from the number and variety of the recipes which we have been enabled to give under the head of FISH, that there exists in the salt ocean, and fresh-water rivers, an abundance of aliment, which the present state of gastronomic art enables the cook to introduce to the table in the most agreeable forms, and oftentimes at a very moderate cost.

Less nutritious as a food than the flesh of animals, more succulent than vegetables, fish may be termed a middle dish, suited to all temperaments and constitutions; and one which those who are recovering from illness may partake of with safety and advantage.

As to which is the best fish, there has been much discussion. The old Latin proverb, however, de gustibus non disputandum, and the more modern Spanish one, sobre los gustos no hai disputa, declare, with equal force, that where taste is concerned, no decision can be arrived at. Each person’s palate may be differently affected — pleased or displeased; and there is no standard by which to judge why a red mullet, a sole, or a turbot, should be better or worse than a salmon, trout, pike, or a tiny tench.

Fish, as we have explained, is less nourishing than meat; for it is lighter in weight, size for size, and contains no ozmazome (see No. 100). Shell-fish, oysters particularly, furnish but little nutriment; and this is the reason why so many of the latter can be eaten without injury to the system.

In Brillat Savarin’s clever and amusing volume, “The Physiology of Taste,” he says, that towards the end of the eighteenth century it was a most common thing for a well-arranged entertainment in Paris to commence with oysters, and that many guests were not contented without swallowing twelve dozen. Being anxious to know the weight of this advanced-guard, he ascertained that a dozen oysters, fluid included, weighed 4 ounces — thus, the twelve dozen would weigh about 3 lbs.; and there can be no doubt, that the same persons who made no worse a dinner on account of having partaken of the oysters, would have been completely satisfied if they had eaten the same weight of chicken or mutton. An anecdote, perfectly well authenticated, is narrated of a French gentleman (M. Laperte), residing at Versailles, who was extravagantly fond of oysters, declaring he never had enough. Savarin resolved to procure him the satisfaction, and gave him an invitation to dinner, which was duly accepted. The guest arrived, and his host kept company with him in swallowing the delicious bivalves up to the tenth dozen, when, exhausted, he gave up, and let M. Laperte go on alone. This gentleman managed to eat thirty-two dozen within an hour, and would doubtless have got through more, but the person who opened them is described as not being very skilful. In the interim Savarin was idle, and at length, tired with his painful state of inaction, he said to Laperte, whilst the latter was still in full career, “Mon cher, you will not eat as many oysters today as you meant; let us dine.” They dined, and the insatiable oyster-eater acted at the repast as if he had fasted for a week.

[Footnote: Brillat Savarin was a French lawyer and judge of considerable eminence and great talents, and wrote, under the above title, a book on gastronomy, full of instructive information, enlivened with a fund of pleasantly-told anecdote.]

The Physiology of Tase, Meditation VI

Fish Carving.

General Directions for Carving Fish.

In carving fish, care should be taken to help it in perfect flakes, as, if these are broken, the beauty of the fish is lost. The carver should be acquainted, too, with the choicest parts and morsels; and to give each guest an equal share of these titbits should be his maxim. Steel knives and forks should on no account be used in helping fish, as these are liable to impart to it a very disagreeable flavour. Where silver fish-carvers are considered too dear to be bought, good electro-plated ones answer very well, and are inexpensive. The prices set down for them by Messrs. Slack, of the Strand, are from a guinea upwards.

Cod’s Head and Shoulders.

(For recipe, see No. 232; and for mode of serving, Coloured Plate C.)

First run the knife along the centre of the side of the fish, namely, from d to b, down to the bone; then carve it in unbroken slices downwards from d to e, or upwards from d to c, as shown in the engraving. The carver should ask the guests if they would like a portion of the roe and liver.

Note. — Of this fish, the parts about the backbone and shoulders are the firmest, and most esteemed by connoisseurs. The sound, which lines the fish beneath the backbone, is considered a delicacy, as are also the gelatinous parts about the head and neck.

Salmon.

(For recipe, see No. 301; and for mode of dressing, Coloured Plate B.)

First run the knife quite down to the bone, along the side of the fish, from a to b, and also from c to d. Then help the thick part lengthwise, that is, in the direction of the lines from a to b; and the thin part breadthwise, that is, in the direction of the lines from e to f, as shown in the engraving. A slice of the thick part should always be accompanied by a smaller piece of the thin from the belly, where lies the fat of the fish.

Note. — Many persons, in carving salmon, make the mistake of slicing the thick part of this fish in the opposite direction to that we have stated; and thus, by the breaking of the flakes, the beauty of its appearance is destroyed.

Boiled or Fried Sole.

(For recipes, see Nos. 321 and 327.)

The usual way of helping this fish is to cut it quite through, bone and all, distributing it in nice and not too large pieces. A moderately-sized sole will be sufficient for three slices; namely, the head, middle, and tail. The guests should be asked which of these they prefer. A small one will only give two slices. If the sole is very large, the upper side may be raised from the bone, and then divided into pieces; and the under side afterwards served in the same way.

In helping FILLETED SOLES, one fillet is given to each person. (For mode of serving, see Coloured Plate A.)

Turbot.

(For recipe, see No. 337; and for mode of serving, Coloured Plate E.)

First run the fish-slice down the thickest part of the fish, quite through to the bone, from a to b, and then cut handsome and regular slices in the direction of the lines downwards, from c to e, and upwards from c to d, as shown in the engraving. When the carver has removed all the meat from the upper side of the fish, the backbone should be raised, put on one side of the dish, and the under side helped as the upper.

A BRILL and JOHN DORY are carved in the same manner as a Turbot.

Note. — The thick parts of the middle of the back are the best slices in a turbot; and the rich gelatinous skin covering the fish, as well as a little of the thick part of the fins, are dainty morsels, and should be placed on each plate.

Whiting, &c.

Whiting, pike, haddock, and other fish, when of a sufficiently large size, may be carved in the same manner as salmon. When small, they may be cut through, bone and all, and helped in nice pieces, a middling-sized whiting serving for two slices.

Note. — The THICK part of the EEL is reckoned the best; and this holds good of all flat fish.

The TAIL of the LOBSTER is the prime part, and next to that the CLAWS.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31