This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
Choice fish plentiful on both sides the Atlantic. Says Grimod de la Reyniere: The mackerel has this in common with good women - he is loved by all the world, he is welcomed by rich and poor with the same eagerness. He is most commonly eaten a la maitre d'hotel, but he may be prepared in a hundred ways, and he is as exquisite plain as in the most elaborate dressing.
Mackerel which are taken in May and June are superior in flavor to those caught either earlier in the spring, or in the autumn. They are best a la maitre d'hotel. To enjoy the flavor of these fish, they should not be washed, but wiped clean and dry with a cloth.
The fish laid open by splitting down the back, the back bone taken out. Juice of 1/2 lemon squeezed over each fish, after drying it, also salt and pepper, broiled over clear coals, skin side down at first, butter over.
Clean and cut a fresh mackerel into four pieces, and take out the bone. Have ready a pint of melted butter, seasoned with a little salt, mace, end cayenne. Throw in the thin rind of 1/2 lemon, and the juice also. Stew the fish in the sauce twenty minutes, and just before serving add a dessertspoonful of anchovy sauce and a little mustard.
Clean the fish and stuff with butter mixed with chopped shallots, chives, lemon-juice, salt and pepper; wrap in sheets of buttered paper, tie up the ends with string, and broil over a slow fire for twenty-five minutes; remove the covers and serve.
Cut off the heads and tails, open and clean the fish, and lay them in a deep pan with a few bay leaves, whole pepper, half a teaspoonful of cloves, and a whole teaspoorful of allspice, pour over them equal quantities of vinegar and water, bake for an hour and a half in a slow oven, and serve when cold. Herrings are also nice prepared in this way.
The fish laid open, back bone removed, and head. Rolled up, tail outwards, cooked as baked mackerel with vinegar, with plate or top to hold them in shape. Served cold.
Mackerel plain boiled in salted water.
Mackerel broiled, served with black butter sauce.
Of salt mackerel made same as codfish balls.
There are 3 or more grades, the largest are the best; can be freshened most completely by soaking in milk. Are cut up and boiled a very few minutes, served with plain butter or with mustard sauce. Broiled they are buttered and garnished with lemon and parsley.