This section is from the book "The Professed Cook: Or, The Modern Art Of Cookery, Pastry, And Confectionary", by B. Clermont. Also available from Amazon: The professed cook.
The French reckon the Thorn back Scate the best; they have the smooth, which they call Turbotee, from its likeness to the Turbot; and la Raie Ang'e, which I take to be what are called Maids in England. Observ-ing that Scate mostly eats tough when dressed very fresh, the Author says, that in Sea-ports where it is to be had quite fresh, they put a piece of broken Glass Bottle into the Water with the Fish to boil, which makes it eat tenderer: Be this as it may, it is certainly an easy Experiment.
Each different sort is prepared in the same manner. Gut and wash it well, boil it in Water, with a little Vinegar, Slices of Onions, and sweet Herbs; when it is half done, put in the Liver to boil also: When done, serve the Fish and the Liver upon it, with the following Sauces, viz. Capers, Anchovy, Ravigotte, or Sauce Ach'ee.
N. B. Not with standing this Direction of boiling the Liver with the other Part of the Fish, it is better to boil all Fish Livers apart, as they certainly spoil the Whiteness of the Fish if boiled together.
B0IL it as the preceding, seasoning it with Pepper and Salt; fry some Butter, until it is quite black, and still in the Frying-pan; add Vinegar to it at dis-cretion, with Parsley: Serve quite hot upon the Fish.
Cut it into Pieces of what bigness you think proper; put it to marinate about two or three Hours in a Milk-warm Brine made of Butter, Water, Vinegar, Pepper, Salt, all sorts of sweet Herbs coarsely chopped, one Clove of Garlick, slices of Onions, bits of Roots, and two Cloves; then drain it well, and flour it to fry: Serve dry, or with what Sauce you think proper in a boat.
Prepare the pieces as the former, and boil them in Milk and Butter, with all sorts of sweet Herbs chopped, and proper Seasoning; when done, dip the pieces in melted Butter, roll them in Bread Crumbs, and broil of a good Colour: Serve with Mustard, or . Sauce Remoulade, under the Fish, or in a boat.
Friars so called. Make a Sauce with chopped Parsley,Shallots, a little Basil, Taragon, Capers, Anchovies, coarse Pepper and Salt; boil these in Butter, Flour, and a spoon-ful of Water; serve upon plain boiled Scate, when the Herbs are done sufficiently.
Prepare it as directed for broiling, and boil it in the same Seasoning: Make a Ragout of whole Onions, with a very thick Sauce, adding a good quantity of Butter, put some of this Ragout into the Dish you intend for Table, and a little rasped Parmesan Cheese over it; lay the pieces of Scate upon these, with Onions and bits of fried Bread between each; put a spoonful of Mustard into the Remainder of the Sauce, and two Yolks of Eggs; mix all well together, pour it over the Fish, and strew Bread Crumbs and Parmesan over all; put it a moment into the Oven, or give it Colour with a Salamander.
Prepare the Scate as directed for marinating, and then fry it: Make a Sauce with a bit of the Liver bruised, and boiled a moment with two glasses of white Wine, one or two spoonfuls of Cullis, chopped Parsley, green Shallots, Pepper, Salt and Nutmeg; add a good bit of Butter, make a Liaison, and serve it upon the Fish:
Raie a la Burgogne is done after the same manner, only using red Wine instead of white, and the Fish being plain boiled.
N. B. I have passed over several Kinds of Fishes, which are not found upon the English Coast; for it is in Fish as in Fowls, every Country having some particular sorts which others want. Neverthe-less I am afraid that many People will blame my prolixity in giving so many different Directions under this Head, as few other Methods are adopted in England, besides boiling, frying, and broiling, and these all served with much the same Sauces. Yet it must be remembered that this Book was compiled upon the Principles of Cooking in Paris, where they have not Sea Fish so fresh, and are obliged to dress it in many different Ways, on account of the multiplicity of their Fast-Days, when no Meat is used, and a Number of Dishes are required. My greatest Motive, for translating so many of these Receipts, was rather to give Information than Improvement; however, they are not all void of Merit; and I believe, there are few Books containing such a Number of Receipts of every Kind that are not more abundant in Superfluities.