The bones and trimmings remaining can either be stewed in a pint of water till done, adding half a teaspoonful of salt, a saltspoonful of pepper, and a tablespoonful of catchup; straining the gravy off, and thickening with one heaping teaspoonful of flour dissolved in a little cold water: or they can be broiled. For broiled bones, mix one saltspoonful of mustard, as much cayenne as could be taken up on the point of a penknife, a saltspoonful of salt, and a tablespoonful of vinegar. A tablespoonful of olive-oil may be added, if liked. Lay the bone in this, turning it till all is absorbed; broil over a quick fire; and serve very hot.
Fish may also be fried in batter (p. 182), or these pieces, or filets, may be laid on a buttered dish; a simple drawn butter or cream sauce (p. 182) poured over them; the whole covered with rolled bread or cracker-crumbs, dotted with bits of butter, and baked half an hour. A cup of canned mushrooms is often added.
Any fresh-water fish is good, cooked in this way; cat-fish which have been soaked in salted water, to take away the muddy taste, being especially nice. Cut the fish in small pieces. Boil two sliced onions in a cup of water. Pour off this water; add another cup, and two tablespoonfuls of wine, a saltspoonful of pepper, and salt to taste (about half a teaspoonful). Put in the fish, and cook for twenty minutes. Thicken the gravy with a heaping teaspoonful of flour, rubbed to a cream with a teaspoonful of butter. If wine is not used, add a sprig of chopped parsley and the juice of half a lemon.
These methods will be found sufficient for all fresh fish, no other special rules being necessary. Experience and individual taste will guide their application. If the fish is oily, as in the case of mackerel or herring, broiling will always be better than frying. If fried, let it be with very little fat, as their own oil will furnish part.
The large, white cod, which cuts into firm, solid slices, should be used. If properly prepared, there is no need of the strong smell, which makes it so offensive to many, and which comes only in boiling. The fish is now to be had boned, and put up in small boxes, and this is by far the most desirable form. In either case, lay in tepid water skin-side up, and soak all night. If the skin is down, the salt, instead of soaking out, settles against it, and is retained. Change the water in the morning, and soak two or three hours longer; then, after scraping and cleaning thoroughly, put in a kettle with tepid water enough to well cover it, and set it where it will heat to the scalding-point, but not boil. Keep it at this point, but never let it boil a moment. Let it cook in this way an hour: two will do no harm. Remove every particle of bone and dark skin before serving, sending it to table in delicate pieces, none of which need be rejected. With egg sauce (p. 169), mashed or mealy boiled potatoes, and sugar-beets, this makes the New-England “fish dinner” a thing of terror when poorly prepared, but both savory and delicate where the above rule is closely followed.