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Without doubt, the most popular way to prepare fish is to saute them. This method may be applied to practically the same kinds of fish that are fried or broiled, and it is especially desirable for the more tasteless varieties. It consists in browning the fish well in a small quantity of fat, first on one side and then on the other. If fat of good flavour is used, such as bacon or ham fat, the flavour of the fish will be very much improved.
Before sauteing, the fish or pieces of fish are often dipped into slightly beaten egg and then rolled in flour, very fine cracker crumbs, or corn meal, or the egg is omitted and they are merely covered with the dry, starchy material. The effect of this method of cooking is very similar to that of deep-fat frying, except that the outside tissues are apt to become, very hard from the application of the hot fat because of the coating that is generally used.
To be most satisfactory, smelts are generally sauted. Fish of this kind are prepared for cooking by cutting off the heads and removing the entrails through the opening thus made; or, if it is desired to leave the heads on, the entrails may be removed through the gill or a small slit cut below the mouth. At any rate, these fish are not cut open as are most other fish. With the fish thus prepared, roll them in fine cracker crumbs and saute them in melted butter until they are nicely browned. Serve with slices of lemon.
SAUTED HALIBUT STEAK.
Slices of halibut, when firm in texture and cut about 3/4 inch thick, lend themselves very well to sauteing. Secure the required number of such slices and sprinkle each with salt and pepper. Then spread melted butter over each steak, and roll it in fine crumbs. Place fat in a frying pan, allow it to become hot, and saute the halibut in this until well browned.
A variety of fresh-water fish that finds favor with most persons is pickerel. When this fish is to be sauted, scale and clean it and cut it crosswise into 2-inch strips. Then roll each piece in flour, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and saute the slices in hot fat. When one side is sufficiently brown, turn and brown on the other side.
SAUTED SALT MACKEREL.
When an extremely tasty dish that will afford a change from the usual daily routine of meals is desired, sauted salt mackerel will be found very satisfactory. Freshen salt mackerel that is to be sauted by putting it into a saucepan and covering it with cold water. Place this over the fire, and allow the water to heat to almost the boiling point. Pour off the water, and saute the fish in butter or other fat until nicely browned. If desired, pour a small amount of thin cream over the mackerel just before removing it from the pan, allow this to heat, and serve it as a sauce with the mackerel.
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