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The best way in which to cook small fish, thin strips of fish, or even good-sized fish that are comparatively thin when they are split open is to broil them. Since in this method of cooking the flavor is entirely retained, it is especially desirable for any fish of delicate flavor.
To broil fish, sear them quickly over a very hot fire and then cook them more slowly until they are done, turning frequently to prevent burning. As most fish, and particularly the small ones used for broiling, contain almost no fat, it is necessary to supply fat for successful broiling and improvement of flavor. It is difficult to add fat to the fish while it is broiling, so, as a rule, the fat is spread over the surface of the fish after it has been removed from the broiler. The fat may consist of broiled strips of bacon or salt pork, or it may be merely melted butter or other fat.
Bluefish, young cod, mackerel, salmon, large trout, and all other fish, when they weigh between half a pound and four pounds, are nice for broiling. When smaller or larger they are not so good. Always use a double broiler, which, before putting the fish into it, rub with butter. This prevents sticking. The thickness of the fish will have to be the guide in broiling. A bluefish weighing four pounds will take from twenty minutes to half an hour to cook. Many cooks brown the fish handsomely over the coals and then put it into the oven to finish broiling. Where the fish is very thick, this is a good plan. If the fish is taken from the broiler to be put into the oven, it should be slipped on to a tin sheet, that it may slide easily into the platter at serving time; for nothing so mars a dish of fish as to have it come to the table broken. In broiling, the inside should be exposed to the fire first, and then the skin. Great care must be taken that the skin does not burn.
Mackerel will broil in from twelve to twenty minutes, young cod (also called scrod) in from twenty to thirty minutes, bluefish in from twenty to thirty minutes, salmon, in from twelve to twenty minutes, and whitefish, bass, mullet, etc., in about eighteen minutes. All kinds of broiled fish can be served with a seasoning of salt, pepper and butter, or with any fish sauces. Always, when possible, garnish with parsley or something else green.
BROILED SCROD WITH POTATO BORDER.
Young cod that is split down the back and that has had the backbone removed with the exception of a small portion near the tail is known as scrod. Such fish is nearly always broiled, it may be served plain, but it is much more attractive when potatoes are combined with it in the form of an artistic border.
To prepare this dish, broil the scrod according to the directions given here, then place it on a hot platter and spread butter over it. Boil the desired number of potatoes until they are tender, and then force them through a ricer or mash them until they are perfectly fine. Season with salt, pepper, and butter, and add sufficient milk to make a paste that is a trifle stiffer than for mashed potatoes. If desired, raw eggs may also be beaten into the potatoes to serve as a part of the moisture. Fill a pastry bag with the potatoes thus prepared and press them through a rosette tube in any desired design on the platter around the fish. Bake in a hot oven until the potatoes are thoroughly heated and are browned slightly on the top.
BROILED FRESH MACKEREL.
Probably no fish lends itself better to broiling than fresh mackerel, as the flesh of this fish is tender and contains sufficient fat to have a good flavor. To improve the flavor, however, strips of bacon are usually placed over the fish and allowed to broil with it.
Clean and skin a fresh mackerel. Place the fish thus prepared in a broiler, and broil first on one side and then on the other. When seared all over, place strips of bacon over the fish and continue to broil until it is done. Remove from the broiler, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
BROILED SHAD ROE.
The mass of eggs found in shad is known as the ‘roe of shad’. Roe may be purchased separately, when it is found in the markets, or it may be procured from the fish itself. It makes a delicious dish when broiled, especially when it is rolled in fat and bread crumbs.
Wash the roe that is to be used and dry it carefully between towels. Roll it in bacon fat or melted butter and then in fine crumbs. Place in a broiler, broil until completely done on one side, turn and then broil until entirely cooked on the other side. Remove from the broiler and pour melted butter over each piece. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot.
Cut the slices one inch thick, and season them with pepper and salt; butter a sheet of white paper, lay each slice on a separate piece, envelop them in it 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.
BROILED SALT SALMON
Soak salmon in tepid or cold water twenty-four hours, changing water several times, or let stand under faucet of running water. If in a hurry, or desiring a very salt relish, it may do to soak a short time, having water warm, and changing, parboiling slightly. At the hour wanted, broil sharply. Season to suit taste, covering with butter. This recipe will answer for all kinds of salt fish.
Season the slices with salt and pepper, and lay them in melted butter for half an hour, having them well covered on both sides. Roll in flour, and broil for twelve minutes over a clear fire. Serve on a hot dish, garnishing with parsley and slices of lemon. The slices of halibut should be about an inch thick, and for every pound there should be three table-spoonfuls of butter.
Soak a salt shad a day or night previous to cooking, it is best to drain an hour before you put it to the fire; if it hangs long exposed to the air, it loses its flavor: grease the gridiron to keep it from sticking; have good coals, and put the inside down first. Fresh shad is better to be sprinkled with salt, an hour before it is put to broil; put a plate over the top to keep the heat in. In broiling shad or other fresh fish you should dust them with corn meal before you put them down.
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