The Barbel (Fr. barbeau).—This fish takes its name from the four filaments or barbules which fringe its mouth, and serve as the organ of touch. In form and habits it much resembles the pike. The body which is rounded and elongated on its upper part, is olive-coloured and bluish on the sides; the tail is of a purple tint. By means of its upper jaw, which is much longer than the lower, the barbel is enabled to burrow in the mud for worms and other food. It is common to most rivers, and is abundant in the upper reaches of the Thames. The texture of its flesh is coarser than that of the carp. Barbel and other fish inhabiting muddy waters should always be soaked in water, slightly salted, for some time before cooking. If kept alive in clear water and fed with a little bran or oatmeal the flavour is greatly improved.
Method.—Break off the head, split the back, remove the roe, and take out the backbone. Place the fish, inside down, on a gridiron, cook until they are nicely browned, then turn them over, and cook the back. Or, if preferred, place 2 bloaters, the insides together, on a gridiron, and broil over a clear fire. The roes should be cooked and served with the bloaters.
Time.—7 minutes. Average Cost, 1½d. each. Seasonable from September to February.
419.—BREAM, BROILED. (Fr.—Brême Grillé.)
Ingredients.—Bream, anchovy or other fish sauce.
Method.—Empty, wash and thoroughly dry the fish, but do not scale it. Broil over a clear fire until thoroughly cooked and nicely browned, then serve with anchovy, or other fish sauce.
Time.—To broil, about ½ an hour. Average Cost, 8d. to 1s. per lb. Allow 6 to 8 oz. per head. Seasonable all the year.
The Char (Fr. umble).—This is a fresh-water fish of the same genus as the salmon, and is much esteemed. It is plentiful in the deeper lakes of England, Wales and Ireland. It also occurs in European lakes, the Lake of Geneva being especially celebrated for its char, called the ombre chevalier. The char, which somewhat resembles the trout, but is longer more slender, has a dark olive-coloured back, with sides of a lighter hue, and is coloured with crimson and white spots, the colours varying with the season. When spawning in the autumn or winter, it ascends the rivers.
420.—BREAM, BAKED. (Fr.—Brême cuit au four.)
Ingredients.—Bream, fish forcemeat, No. 415, fat for basting, anchovy or other fish sauce.
Method.—Empty, wash and dry the fish, but do not scale it. Make the forcemeat as directed, stuff the inside of the fish, and sew up the opening neatly. Bake in a moderate oven from 40 to 50 minutes, basting occasionally with sweet dripping. Serve with anchovy or other fish sauce. If preferred, the forcemeat may be omitted, and the fish wrapped in buttered paper and baked slowly for about ½ an hour.
Time.—From 40 to 50 minutes. Average Cost, from 8d. to 1s. per lb. Allow 6 to 8 ozs. per head. Seasonable all the year.
421.—BRILL À LA CONTE. (—Barbue à la Conte.)
Ingredients.—A brill weighing about 2½ lb., 1½ pints of stock, 1 glass of Burgundy, a teaspoonful of finely chopped parsley, salt and pepper.