In full season in May, June, and July; may be had also in early spring. Open the fish sufficiently to admit of the insides being perfectly cleansed, but not more than is necessary for this purpose; empty them with care, lay the roes apart, and wash both them and the mackerel delicately clean. It is customary now to lay these, arid the greater number of other fish as well, into cold water when they are to be boiled, formerly all were plunged at once into fast-boiling water. For such as are small and delicate, it should be warm, but not scalding; they should be brought gently to a soft boil, and simmered until they are done; the scum should be cleared off as it rises, and the usual proportion of salt stirred into the water before the mackerel are put in. The roes are commonly replaced in the fish, but as they sometimes require more boiling than the mackerel themselves, it is better, when they are very large, to lay them upon the drainer by their sides. From fifteen to twenty minutes will generally be sufficient to boil a full-sized mackerel: some will be done in less time, but they must be watched, and lifted out as soon as the tails split, and the eyes are starting.
Dish them on a napkin, and send fennel or gooseberry sauce to table with them, and plain melted butter also.
Small mackerel, 10 to 15 minutes; large, 15 to 20 minutes.
After they have been cleaned and well washed, wipe them very dry, fill the insides with the forcemeat, No. 1 of Chapter VI (Forcemeats)., sew them up, arrange them, with the roes, closely together in a coarse baking-dish, flour them lightly, strew a little fine salt over, and stick bits of butter upon them; or pour some equally over them,,after having just dissolved it in a small saucepan. Half an hour in a moderate oven will bake them. Oyster forcemeat is always appropriate for any kind of fish which is in season, while the oysters are so, but the mackerel are commonly served, and are very good with that which we have named. Lift them carefully into a hot dish after they are taken from the oven, and send melted butter, and the sauce cruets to table with them.
The dish in which they are baked should be buttered before they are laid in.
After the fish have been emptied and washed extremely clean, cut off the heads and tails, split the bodies quite open, and take out the backbones;* wipe the mackerel very dry, dust fine salt, and pepper (or cayenne), over them, flour them well, fry them a fine brown in boiling lard, drain them thoroughly, and serve them with the following sauce: Dissolve in a small saucepan an ounce and a half of butter smoothly mixed with a teaspoonful of flour, some salt, pepper, and cayenne, shake these over a gentle fire until they are lightly coloured, then add by slow degrees nearly half a pint of good broth, or gravy, and the juice of one large lemon: boil the sauce for a couple of minutes, and serve it very hot. Or, instead of this, add a large teaspoonful of strong-made mustard, and a dessertspoonful of Chili vinegar, to some thick melted butter, and serve it With the fish. A spoonful of Harvey's sauce, or of mushroom catsup, can be mixed with this last, at pleasure.