Pick out all the bones and bits of skin the day that the fish is boiled, as it is most easily done while it is warm. Next day chop it fine, and also all the potatoes left of the previous dinner; they are better for this purpose than those that are just boiled. Lay three or four slices of salt pork into a spider, and fry till they are crisped; take them out, and put the chopped fish and potato into the middle, and press it out equally, so that the fat will be at the sides. Cover it close; after about five minutes put into the centre a gill of milk, and cover it again. In a few minutes more stir it, but so carefully as not to disturb the sides and bottom, else a brown crust will not form. Add more milk if it is too dry. When thoroughly heated through, stir in a small piece of butter, loosen the crust from the sides with a knife, and turn it out upon a hot dish. If it is done right, it will come out whole, and nicely browned.
Take equal quantities of chopped fish and potato, enough to nearly fill a tray of medium size. Add a beaten egg, and a table-spoonful of butter, melted. Mix and mash well with a wooden spoon. Roll the balls in flour, and fry them with salt pork and a little lard or beef fat. The whole surface of the balls should be gradually browned.
If you wish to boil it, purchase a thick slice cut through the body, or the tail piece, which is considered the richest. Wrap it in a floured cloth, and lay it in cold water with salt in it. A piece weighing six pounds, should be cooked half an hour after the water begins to boil. It is eaten with drawn butter and parsley. If any of it is left, lay it in a deep dish and sprinkle on it a little salt, throw over it a dozen or two of cloves, pour in some vinegar, and add butternut vinegar or catsup. It will, when cold, have much the flavor of lobster.
The nape of a halibut is considered best to broil; but a slice through the body a little more than an inch thick, if sprinkled with salt an hour or two before being cooked, will broil without breaking, and is excellent. When taken up, put on butter, pepper, and salt.
Dress and fry like smelts; but fry them a longer time.
Bake like shad, or cut in pieces, and fry like cod in pork or lard.
If not dressed when they come to you, cut them down the stomach a little way, and take out the inwards. Wash them, sprinkle with salt, roll them in a cloth separately, and boil gently for twenty minutes. Serve with drawn butter.
Open it down the back; wash, and sprinkle salt over, and let it lie for an hour. Grease the gridiron. Lay the skin side down first. The fire should not be so hot as to scorch.
Turn once or twice, and allow fifteen minutes to broil. Lay on a hot dish, and put on shavings of butter.
The wire gridirons are most convenient for broiling fish, as they are turned without using a knife and fork.
Make a stuffing of pounded cracker or crumbs of bread, an egg, pepper, clove, salt, and butter. Fill it very full, and when sewed up, grate over it a small nutmeg, and sprinkle it with pounded cracker. Then pour on the white of an egg, and melted butter. Bake it an hour in the same dish in which it is to be served.
Take three or four fresh caught shad, and when nicely dressed, cut them down the middle, and across in pieces about three inches wide; put these pieces into a jar in layers, with salt, whole cloves, pepper-corns, and allspice sprinkled between. When all is laid in, put in sharp vinegar enough just to cover them,and bake in the oven. It is the best way to put the jar into a brick oven after the bread is drawn, if considerable heat still remains, and let it stand two or three hours, or put it into a range oven at night, to stand till morning. This will keep several weeks, even in hot weather. Almost any fish of the size of shad may be done in the same way.
If they are small, fry them with salt pork. If large, boil them, and serve with drawn butter.