This section is from the book "Philadelphia Cook Book: A Manual Of Home Economies", by Sarah Tyson Heston Rorer. Also available from Amazon: Philadelphia Cook Book.
The flesh of all fish out of season is unwholesome; to be eatable they should be perfectly fresh, the eyes clear, the gills red, the scales bright, the flesh firm and free from any unpleasant odor and, to secure the best flavor, should be cooked as soon as possible after leaving the sea, river or pond. They should be scaled and cleaned as soon as they come home from the market, washed quickly without soaking, removing the smallest atom of blood. Sprinkle salt on the inside and put them in a cold place until wanted. If necessary to keep them over night, place where the moon will not shine on them, as the effect is as bad as the hot sunshine. Cod, haddock and halibut may be kept a day before using, but mackerel and whitefish lose their life as soon as they leave the water. The fat or oil of most fish is found in their livers, consequently the flesh is white. Salmon, herring, mackerel, sturgeon and catfish are exceptions, having the oil distributed throughout the body, thereby giving color to the flesh.
5 pounds of haddock
2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves 1 stalk of celery 2 sprigs of parsley
3 quarts of cold water
Clean and wash the fish, cut it into pieces about three inches square; put it into a soup kettle, with the water, onion, bay leaves, cloves, celery and parsley; place it over a moderate fire and skim at the first boil. Simmer gently for two hours, then strain, add a tablespoonful of salt and it is ready for use.
This makes a nice soup for Lent, served clear, with croutons.
Wash the fish well in cold water. Wipe it carefully, and rub it with a little salt. Wrap it in a cloth; cheese cloth will answer. Have the cloth just large enough to envelop the fish. Sew the edges so that there will be but one thickness of the cloth over any part of the fish. Now put it into a fish kettle if you have one; if not you may lay it on a platter, tie fish and platter together in a cloth and put it in the bottom of a large saucepan. Cover with boiling water, add one tablespoonful of salt and simmer very gently ten minutes to every pound of fish. Take the fish from the water the moment it is done; drain, remove the cloth carefully, turn the fish on to the plate; garnish with slices of lemon and parsley. Serve with either shrimp, oyster, Hollandaise or caper sauce, or plain drawn butter.
This is a general rule for boiling all kinds of fish.
Have the steak about two inches thick; wrap in a cloth,put in a kettle of boiling water, add a teaspoonful of salt and simmer twenty minutes. Serve with lobster or shrimp sauce. Rub the coral of the lobster fine and sprinkle over the fish. Halibut steaks may be boiled and served in the same way.
Wash the fish well in cold water. Cover it with fresh cold water and soak over night. In the morning, wash it again; put it into a kettle, cover with cold water, place over a hot fire and bring it to boiling point. Now stand it over a more moderate fire for four hours. If it boils, the fish will become hard. When done, dish and serve with drawn butter.