Fish-balls, and all the various modes of using salted cod, require this preparation beforehand.
Flake two pounds of cold boiled salt cod very fine. Boil one pint of milk. Mix butter the size of a small egg with two tablespoonfuls of flour, and stir into it. Add a few sprigs of parsley or half an onion minced very fine, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and half a teaspoonful of salt. Butter a quart pudding-dish. Put in alternate layers of dressing and fish till nearly full. Cover the top with sifted bread or cracker crumbs, dot with bits of butter, and brown in a quick oven about twenty minutes. The fish may be mixed with an equal part of mashed potato, and baked; and not only codfish, but any boiled fresh fish, can be used, in which case double the measure of salt given will be required.
Any remains of cold fresh fish may be used. Take out all bones or bits of skin. Lay in a deep dish, and barely cover with hot vinegar in which a few cloves and allspice have been boiled. It is ready for use as soon as cold.
Fresh herring or mackerel or shad may be used. Skin the fish, and cut in small pieces, packing them in a small stone jar. Just cover with vinegar. For six pounds of fish allow one tablespoonful of salt, and a dozen each of whole allspice, cloves, and pepper-corns. Tie a thick paper over the top of the cover, and bake five hours. The vinegar dissolves the bones perfectly, and the fish is an excellent relish at supper.
Three pounds of any sort of fresh fish may be taken; but fresh cod is always best. Six large potatoes and two onions, with half a pound of salt pork.
Cut the pork into dice, and fry to a light brown. Add the onions, and brown them also. Pour the remaining fat into a large saucepan, or butter it, as preferred. Put in a layer of potatoes, a little onion and pork, and a layer of the fish cut in small pieces, salting and peppering each layer. A tablespoonful of salt and one teaspoonful of pepper will be a mild seasoning. A pinch of cayenne may be added, if liked. Barely cover with boiling water, and boil for half an hour. In the meantime boil a pint of milk, and, when at boiling-point, break into it three ship biscuit or half a dozen large crackers; add a heaping tablespoonful of butter. Put the chowder in a platter, and pile the softened crackers on top, pouring the milk over all. Or the milk may be poured directly into the chowder; the crackers laid in, and softened in the steam; and the whole served in a tureen. Three or four tomatoes are sometimes added. In clam chowder the same rule would be followed, substituting one hundred clams for the fish, and using a small can of tomatoes if fresh ones were not in season.