This is a good method of dressing a small quantity of salmon for one or two persons. It may be cut in slices the whole round of the fish, each taking in two divisions of the bone; or the fish may be split, and the bone removed, and the sides of the fish divided into cutlets of three or four inches each: the former method is preferable, if done neatly with a sharp knife. Rub it thoroughly dry with a clean rough cloth; then do each piece over with salad oil or butter. Have a nice clean gridiron over a very clear fire, and at some distance from it. When the bars are hot through wipe them, and rub with lard or suet to prevent sticking; lay on the salmon, and sprinkle with salt. When one side is brown, carefully turn and brown the other. They do equally well or better in a tin or flat dish, in an oven, with a little bit of butter, or sweet oil; or they may be done in buttered paper on the gridiron. Sauce, lobster or shrimp.
If a small fish, turn the tail to the mouth, and skewer it; forcemeat may be put in the belly, or, if part of a large fish is to be baked, cut it in slices, egg it over, and dip it in the forcemeat. Stick bits of butter about the salmon (a few oysters laid round are an improvement.) It will require occasional basting with the butter. When one side becomes brown, let it be carefully turned, and when the second side is brown, it is done. Take it up carefully, with all that lies about it in the baking dish. For sauce, melted butter, with two tablespoonsful of port wine, one of catsup, and the juice of a lemon, poured over the fish, or anchovy sauce in a boat.
Do not scrape off the scales, but clean the fish carefully, and cut into pieces about eight inches long. Make a strong brine of salt and water; to two quarts, put two pounds of salt, and a quarter of a pint of vinegar; in all, make just enough to cover the fish; boil it slowly, and barely as much as you would for eating hot. Drain off all the liquor; and, when cold, lay the pieces in a kit or small tub. Pack it as close as possible, and fill up w,ith equal parts of best vinegar and the liquor in which the fish was boiled. Let it remain so a day or two, then again fill up. Serve with a garnish of fresh fennel. The same method of pickling will apply to sturgeon, mackerel, herrings, and sprats. The three latter are sometimes baked in vinegar, flavoured with allspice and bay leaves, and eat very well; but will not keep more than a few days.
In full season from May to August: may be had much earlier, but is scarce and dear.
To preserve the fine colour of this fish, and to set the curd when it is quite freshly caught, it is usual to put it into boiling, instead of cold water. Scale, empty, and wash it with the greatest nicety, and he especially careful to cleanse all the blood from the inside. Stir into the fish-kettle eight ounces of common salt to the gallon of water, let it boil quickly for a minute or two, take off all the scum, put in the salmon and boil it moderately fast, if it be small, hut more gently should it be very thick; and assure yourself that it is quite sufficiently done, before it is sent to table, for nothing can be more distasteful, even to the eye, than fish which is under dressed.
From two to three pounds of the thick part of a fine salmon will require half an hour to boil it, but eight or ten pounds will be done enough in little more than double that time; less, in proportion to its weight, should be allowed for a small fish, or for the thin end of a large one. Do not allow the salmon to remain in the water after it is ready to serve, fir both its flavour and appearance will be injured. Dish it on a hot napkin, and send dressed cucumber, and anchovy, shrimp, or lobster sauce, and a tureen of plain melted butter to table with it.
To each gallon of water, 8 ozs. salt. Salmon, 2 to 3 lbs. (thick) 1/2 hour: 8 to 10 lbs., 1 1/4 hour: small, or thin fish, less time.
A fashionable mode of serving salmon at the present day is to divide the larger portion of the body into three equal parts; to boil them in water, or in a marinade; and to serve them dished in a line, but not close together, and covered with a rich Genevese sauce; it appears to us that the skin should be stripped from any fish over which the sauce is poured, but in this case it is not customary.