Keep in a cool place until ready to cook, but do not place directly on ice, as that will have a tendency to soften the flesh. Fresh fish should never be allowed to soak in water. If salt fish is to be used, it should be freshened by placing it skin-side up in cold water, and soaking for several hours, changing the water frequently.
Frozen fish should be placed in cold water to thaw, and when thawed, should be cooked immediately.
Fish is cooked by nearly all methods, but retains more nourishment when broiled or baked. It should be thoroughly cooked, being both indigestible and unpalatable when underdone.
Boiled fish is usually dependent for flavor upon some kind of rich sauce so incompatible with healthy digestion that we do not recommend this method.
BAKED FISH.—Select a perfectly fresh, properly dressed fish. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. Fold it together and place in a dripping pan with a cup of boiling water. Cook slowly and steadily until tender. A fish weighing three or four pounds will require at least two hours. If desired, the fish may be lightly dredged with flour, toward the last, as it begins to brown.
BROILED FISH.—Thoroughly clean the fish, and if small, split down the back. Fish of larger size should be cut into inch slices. Use a double wire broiler well oiled with a bit of suet. Lay the fish, with its thickest part next the center of the broiler, skin uppermost, and broil over a bed of clear coals until the flesh-side is of an even brown. The time required will vary, according to the size of the fish, from five to twenty minutes; then turn and brown on the other side. If the fish be very thick, when both sides are browned, put the broiler in the oven over a dripping pan and cook until done.
Soups made from meat require first the preparation of a special material called stock, a liquid foundation upon which to begin the soup.
Beef, veal, mutton, and poultry are all made into stock in the same manner, so that general rules for its preparation will be sufficient for all meat soups.
The principal constituents of meat and bones, the material from which stock is compounded, are fiber, albuminous elements, gelatinous substances, and flavoring matters. The albuminous elements are found only in the flesh. The gelatinous substance found in bones, skin, and tendons, is almost devoid of nutriment. In selecting material for stock, therefore, it is well to remember that the larger the proportion of lean meat used, the more nutritious will be the soup.
But little else than gelatine is obtained from the bones, and although serviceable in giving consistency, a soup made principally from bones is not valuable as a food. The amount of bone used for soup should never exceed the flesh material in weight. The bones, trimmings, and remnants of steaks, chops, and roasts may be advantageously utilized for soups. Bits of roast meat and roast gravies are especially serviceable material, since they are rich in the flavoring elements of meat. It should be remembered, however, that these flavoring matters are chiefly excrementitious or waste substances, derived from the venous blood of the animal.