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Like boiling, stewing extracts flavor and nutriment from fish. The process differs, however, in that the fish is cooked gently by simmering. This cookery method is employed for fish that is inclined to be tough. Usually, vegetables, such as carrots and onions, are cooked with the fish in order to impart flavor. To prevent the fish from falling apart, it may be wrapped in
cheesecloth or gauze.
Six pounds of any kind of fish, large or small; three large pints of water, quarter of a pound of pork, or, half a cupful of butter; two large onions, three table-spoonfuls of flour, salt and pepper to taste. Cut the heads from the fish, and cut out all the bones. Put the heads and bones on to boil in the three pints of water. Cook gently half an hour. In the meanwhile cut the pork in slices, and fry brown. Cut the onions in slices, and fry in the pork fat. Stir the dry flour into the onion and fat, and cook three minutes, stirring all the time. Now pour over this the water in which the bones have been cooking, and simmer ten minutes. Have the fish cut in pieces about three inches square. Season well with salt and pepper, and place in the stewpan. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, and strain on the fish. Cover tight, and simmer twenty minutes.
A bouquet of sweet herbs, simmered with the bones, is an improvement. Taste to see if the sauce is seasoned enough, and dish on a large platter. Garnish with potato balls and parsley. The potato balls are cut from the raw potatoes with a vegetable scoop, and boiled ten minutes in salted water. Put them in little heaps around the dish.
STEWED FRESH HERRING.
When fresh herring can be obtained, it can be made into a delicious dish by stewing it with onions, parsley, and carrots. In this method of preparation, the herring should not be permitted to stew rapidly; it will become more tender if it simmers gently. As herring are rather small fish, weighing only about 1/2 pound, it will usually be necessary to obtain more than one for a meal.
Clean the required number of fresh herring, place them in a saucepan, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Brown some slices of onion in butter, and add the same number of slices of carrots and a generous quantity of parsley. Add enough boiling water to these vegetables to cover them and the fish, and pour both over the fish. Place all on the fire and simmer gently until the fish is tender. Remove the fish from the water and serve. The vegetables are used merely to add flavour, and they will have practically boiled away by the time the fish is cooked.
STEWED EELS -1
Eel is delicious when stewed. When allowed to simmer slowly with several slices of onion and a little parsley, it becomes both tasty and tender. Skin and clean the eel that is to be stewed, remove all the fat, and cut into pieces about 2 inches long. Season well with salt and pepper and place in a saucepan with several slices of onion, 1 tablespoonful of chopped parsley, and 2 tablespoonfuls of butter. Add enough cold water to cover well, and allow the eel to simmer gently until it is tender enough to be pierced with a fork. Remove from them water and serve hot.
STEWED EELS -2
Cut two eels in pieces about four inches long. Put three large table-spoonfuls of butter into the stew-pan with half a small onion. As soon as the onion begins to turn yellow stir in two table-spoonfuls of flour, and stir until brown. Add one pint of stock, if you have it; if not, use water. Season well with pepper and salt; then put in the eels and two bay leaves. Cover, and simmer gently three-quarters of an hour. Heap the eels in the centre of a hot dish, strain the sauce over them and garnish with toasted bread and parsley. If you wish, add a table-spoonful of vinegar or lemon juice to the stew.
ROCK FISH STEW
Rub the fish with salt and pepper, and a little cayenne on the inside; put it in an oval stewpan. To a fish that weighs six pounds, put a pint of water; when it is about half done; season it well with salt and pepper, and a little mace or cloves; rub a quarter of a pound of butter in a half a tea-cup of flour, with a little parsley and thyme; stir this in with a pint of oysters. Serve it with the gravy in the dish. A large fish should be allowed an hour, small ones half an hour.
TROUTS EN MAIGRE.
Cut some slices of fresh trouts (cut off their heads) in the thickness of your thumb, put them in a stew-pan with a little onion, white pepper and mace, and a bunch of sweet herbs, pour over it half a pint of white wine, half a jill of water, and four ounces of butter (to a pound and half of trouts;) cover the stew-pot close, and stew it half an hour; then take out the trouts, and place it on the dish; strain off the liquor, and have ready craw-fish, pick’d from the shell, or lobster cut in small pieces; pound the shells of the craw-fish, or the seeds of the lobster, and give it a turn in the liquor; thicken it, and serve it up hot with the craw-fish, or lobster, over the trouts.
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