The oven may be used with advantage for many purposes of cookery, for which it is not commonly put into requisition. Calves' feet, covered with a proper proportion of water, may be reduced to a strong jelly if left in it for some hours; the half-head, boned and rolled, will be found excellent eating, if laid, with the bones, into a deep pan and baked quite tender in sufficient broth, or water, to keep it covered in every part until done; good soup also may be made in the same way, the usual ingredients being at once added to the meat, with the exception of the vegetables, which will not become tender if put into cold liquor, and should therefore be thrown in after it begins to simmer. Baking is likewise one of the best modes of dressing various kinds of fish: pike and red mullet amongst others. Salmon cut into thick slices, freed from the skin, well seasoned with spice, mixed with salt (and with minced herbs, at pleasure), then arranged evenly in a dish, and covered thickly with crumbs of bread, moistened with clarified butter, as directed in Chapter II (Fish)., for baked soles, and placed in the oven for about half an hour, will be found very rich and highly flavoured.
Part of the middle of the salmon left entire, well cleaned, and thoroughly dried, then seasoned, and securely wrapped in two or three folds of thickly buttered paper, will also prove excellent eating, if gently baked. (This may likewise be roasted in a Dutch oven, either folded in the paper, or left without it, and basted with butter.)
Wire Basket for Frying.
* By means of this oven, which, from its construction, reflects the heat very strongly, bread, cakes, and pies, can be perfectly well baked before a large clear fire: but, as we have stated in another part of our work, the consumption of fuel necessary to the pro cess renders it far from economical. A spit has lately been introduced into some of the American ovens, converting them at once into portable and convenient roasters.
Hams, when freshly cured, and not over salted, if neatly trimmed, and closely wrapped in a coarse paste, are both more juicy, and of finer flavour baked than boiled. Savoury or pickled beef, too, put into a deep pan, with a little gravy, and plenty of butter, or chopped suet on the top, to prevent the outside from becoming dry; then covered with paste, or with several folds of thick paper, and set into a moderate oven for four or five hours, or even longer, if it be of large weight, is an excellent dish. A goose, a leg of pork, and a sucking pig, if properly attended to while in the oven, are said to be nearly, or quite as good as if roasted; but baking is both an unpalatable and an unprofitable mode of cooking joints of meat in general, though its great convenience to many persons renders it a very common one.
It is usual to raise meat from the dish in which it is sent to the oven by placing it, properly skewered, on a stand, so as to allow potatoes or a batter pudding to be baked under it. A few button onions, freed from the outer skin, or three or four large ones, cut in halves, are sometimes put beneath a shoulder of mutton. Two sheets of paper spread separately with a thick layer of butter, clarified marrow, or any other fat, and fastened securely over the outside of a joint, will prevent its being too much dried by the fierce heat of the oven. A few spoonsful of water or gravy should be poured into the dish with potatoes, and a little salt sprinkled over them.
A celebrated French cook recommends braising in the oven: that is to say, after the meat has been arranged in the usual manner, and just brought to boil over the fire, that the braising pan, closely stopped, should be put into a moderate oven, for the same length of time as would be required to stew the meat perfectly tender.