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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/350

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Fish, to Cure.—Empty, wash and scale the fish, and, if large, cut it down the back. Rub it inside and out with common salt, and let it hang in a cool place for 24 hours. Mix together 1 oz. of bay-salt, ½ an oz. of saltpetre, ½ an oz. of brown sugar, and rub the fish well with the preparation. Place it on a large dish, cover it lightly, but completely, with salt, and allow it to remain undisturbed for 48 hours. Turn the fish over, cover it with fresh salt, and let it remain for 24 hours longer. Drain and well dry the fish, stretch it on sticks, and keep it in a dry, cool place. When kept for a great length of time, it will be necessary to well soak the fish before cooking.

Fish, to Fillet.—The skin must be removed from both sides of a sole before filleting, but the dark skin on the under side of a sole is nearly always removed by the fishmonger. Plaice is frequently filleted without removing the skin, although it is better to strip the dark skin off the back. Whiting and haddocks are usually skinned, while mackerel are very seldom skinned before being filleted. When the fish has been washed, dried and skinned, it should be placed flat on a board or table, and with the point of a knife cut from head to tail down the backbone. Next, insert the knife in the slit made, and carefully separate the fish from the bone, keeping the knife pressed lightly against the bone meanwhile. Remove the fillets, trim them neatly, and cut them into pieces convenient for serving.

Fish, to Fry.—Fish to be fried should be well dried after washing, and it is usually cut into pieces convenient for serving. Although very good results can be obtained by such simple means as a frying-pan and a very small quantity of fat—providing the fat be hot and the fish dry and slightly floured—a deep pan containing sufficient fat to completely cover the fish is desirable. Before frying, the fish should either be dipped into well-seasoned batter or coated with egg and breadcrumbs, and in the latter case it should first be rolled in a little flour seasoned with salt and pepper, the object being to make it as dry as possible, in order that the breadcrumbs may adhere more firmly. The fat should be very hot at all times, but its temperature must be slightly lower when frying fillets of fish than when frying such things as croquettes, rissoles, etc., which are generally composed of cooked materials. When the surface of a small piece of bread immediately hardens and slightly changes its colour on being immersed in the fat, the temperature is right for raw materials or anything that is thickly coated with batter, but when frying anything of which the exterior alone has to be cooked, it is better to have the fat sufficiently hot to at once brown whatever is immersed in it. Small things are nearly always fried in a wire basket, but fillets of fish are dropped into the fat, and when cooked, taken out on a fish slice. Anything fried should afterwards be well drained, either on a cloth or kitchen paper. Fish is usually garnished with lemon and parsley, croquettes and other dishes of the same