Open main menu

Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/347

This page has been validated.

Keeping Fish.—When fish is cheap and plentiful, and a larger quantity is purchased than is immediately wanted, the overplus of such as will bear it should be potted, or pickled or salted, and hung up; or it may be fried, that it may serve for stewing the next day. Fresh-water fish having frequently a muddy smell and taste, should be soaked in strong salt and water, after it has been well cleaned. If of a sufficient size, it may be scalded in salt and water, and then dried and dressed. Cod-fish, whiting and haddock are none the worse for being a little salted and kept a day; and unless the weather be very hot, they will be good for two days.

Garnishing Fish requires great nicety. Plenty of parsley, horseradish, lobster coral and lemon should be used. It fried parsley be used it must be washed and picked, and thrown into fresh water. When the lard or dripping is hot enough, squeeze the parsley dry in a cloth, and throw it into the saucepan. It will bubble a good deal, and, therefore, it is better to lift the pan from the fire. In a few seconds the parsley will be green and crisp, and must be taken up with a slice, if there is no frying-basket. Well dressed, and with very good sauce, fish is, by the generality of people, more appreciated than almost any other dish. The liver and roe, in some instances, should be placed on the dish, in order that they may be distributed in the course of serving; but to each recipe is appended the proper mode of serving and garnishing.


Many fail to realize the great loss by bone and uneatable matter there is in most fish, and how much they pay for actual food obtained.

As a general rule it should be borne in mind that, allowing for bone, waste and loss of weight by different modes of cooking, only about ½ the original weight of the fish is left.

By consulting the following table it will be seen that such fish as soles and smelts are very expensive, but some of the highest priced fish or parts of fish are not always the dearest. Thus, for example, a pound of flounders can be bought for 5d., but, by reason of the large amount of bone they contain, they cost more than a pound of eels at 10d., while the so-called cheaper parts of salmon, yielding so much less actual eatable matter, are in reality not so economical as the best.

Nothing is more difficult than to give the average prices of fish and no other article of food varies so in price, 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 to-day for six or seven shillings, will to-morrow be, in the London markets, worth, perhaps, almost as many pounds. The housewife when about to buy fish will be well advised not to set out with the fixed intention of buying a certain kind of fish, but to be guided in her selection by the state of the market. Often she will