Let this be done always with the most scrupulous nicety, for nothing can more effectually destroy the appetite, or disgrace the cook, than fish sent to table imperfectly cleaned. Handle it lightly, and never throw it roughly about, so as to bruise it; wash it well, but do not leave it longer in the water than is necessary, for fish, like meat, loses its flavour from being soaked. When the scales are to be removed, lay the fish flat upon its side, and hold it firmly with the left hand, while they are scraped off with the right; turn it, and when both sides are done, pour or pump sufficient water over to float oft all the loose scales; then proceed to open and empty it. Be sure that not tl;e slightest par ticle of offensive matter be left in the inside; wash out the blood en-tirely, and scrape or brush it away, if needful, from the back-bone. This may easily be accomplished, without opening the fish so much as to render it unsightly when it is sent to table. The red mullet is dressed without being emptied, and smelts are drawn at the gills. When the scales are left on, the outside of the fish should be wel washed and wiped with a coarse cloth, drawn gently from the head to the tail.
Eels, to be wholesome, should be skinned, but they are sometimes dressed without; boiling water should then be poured upon them, and they should be left in it from five to ten minutes, before they are cut up. The dark skin of the sole must be stripped off when it is fried, but it must be left on, like that of a turbot, when the fish is boiled, and it should be dished with the white side upwards. Whitings are skinned, and dipped usually into egg and bread-crumbs, when they are to be fried; but for boiling or broiling, the skin must be left on.