The use of Pickled Fish, such as Mackerel, Salmon, Shad, etc. is becoming more general than formerly, and would be still more extensive if the proper mode of preparing them for the table was better understood. These fish constitute not only a salutary diet, but in many cases makes a very beneficial change in our food.
Whoever will give the following directions a fair trial will become sensible of their value: First. The fish should be kept covered by the pickle by means of a flat stone or slate, laid on them. The oil, or animal fat, which floats on the top of the cask, should not be removed, as it prevents the fish from rusting; but in taking the fish from the barrel or keg, this oil ought to be put aside, care being taken not to let the fish touch it. Secondly - The fish should be washed clean, then put to soak in a large quantity of water for eight or ten hours, with the flesh side down. The time of soaking may be varied to suit the palate. It must again be washed clean, put it to soak six or eight hours in milk, (if you have it) then dry it by the fire. Thirdly - When dry lay it on the gridiron, with the flesh side downward, over pretty lively coals, for five minutes, or till it is moderately browned, then turn it with a plate, or some flat instrument that will not break the skin, and let it remain over the coals ten or fifteen minutes, or till it is cooked sufficiently. Slide it off the gridiron into the dish, and strip off the backbone with a broad knife: pat the fish, to cause the thick part of the fish to absorb the fat from the belly part; use no butter - then you will enjoy all the flavor and juices of the fish.
If a Mackerel or Shad so prepared does not relish, it must be more the fault of the palate, than of the food. How many articles, capable of being made into excellent dishes, are lost of spoiled from want of care and skill in dressing them.
* As the whole beauty of pickled Fish depends upon the right method of cooking it, we insert by itself the receipt of Capt. Henry Purkitt, Massachusetts Inspector of Fish, who obligingly handed it to the Editor.
In helping, first cut off the head, at 1, as that part is very inferior and unsavory then divide down the hack, and give a side to each; if less is asked for, the thickest end, which is the most choice, should be served. Inquire if the roe is liked; it may be found between 1 and ,2. That of the female is hard, of the male soft.
Will be easily helped by attending to the foregoing directions. The head of the Carp is esteemed a delicacy, which should be borne in mind.
Introduce the fish-slice at 1, and cut quite through the back, as far as 2, then help pieces from between 3 and 4, and with each slice give a portion of the sound, which lines the under side of the back bone. It is thin, and of a darker color than the other part of the fish, and is esteemed a delicacy.
Some persons are partial to the tongue and palate, for which you must insert a spoon into the mouth. The jelly part is about the jaw, the firm part within the head, on which are some other delicate pickings; the finest portions may be found about the shoulders.
The under side of this fish is the most esteemed, and is placed uppermost on the dish. The fish-slice must be introduced at 1, and an incision made as far as 2; then cut from the middle, which is the primest part. After helping the whole of that side, the upper part must be attacked, and as it is difficult to divide the back bone, raise it with the fork, while you separate a portion with the fish-slice; this part is more solid, and is preferred by some, though it is less delicate than the under side. The fins are esteemed a nicety, and should be attended to accordingly.