Raw oysters, whiting, haddock, and sole are the most easily digested members of the fish group, and as such should come first in the dietary (see also Chapter V (Animal Foods). and p. 207).

Oysters Au Naturel

Oysters. Pepper and salt.

Cayenne. Lemon juice.

Open the oysters carefully and serve them in their shells. Season with pepper, salt, and a pinch of cayenne. Garnish with parsley or cut lemon. Serve directly they are opened, or the flavour will be spoilt. They are best eaten with a little brown bread and butter. Oysters may be peptonised and then given, and are an excellent and easily digested food (p. 175).

This is richer and not so digestible as above, but is quite suitable for many convalescent patients: -

Oysters Scalloped

1/2 dozen oysters. 1/2 ounce butter.

Breadcrumbs. Pepper and salt.

Lemon juice.

Put the oysters and their liquor into a small saucepan, and bring them to the boil. Remove the beards from the oysters, and strain the liquor. Grease china or well-washed oyster shells. Sprinkle into each dish a few breadcrumbs, then put in three oysters into each shell. Season to taste with pepper and salt. Pour over a little oyster liquor. Cover with more breadcrumbs. Pour some melted butter over the top. Brown in the oven or in front of the fire, and serve very hot.

The white fish can be steamed and served without any sauce, or stewed in a little milk and served with a white sauce, as follows: -

White Sauce (French)

1/2 ounce butter, 1/2 ounce flour.

1/2 gill cream. Pepper and salt.

Small 1/2 pint fish stock or seasoned milk.

Method

Melt the butter in a lined saucepan, add the flour, and mix smoothly with a wooden spoon. Cook for four minutes over the fire, but do not brown. Draw the pan to the side of the fire, and add the stock or milk gradually, then return to the fire, and stir constantly until boiling. Add the cream and seasoning, and boil for a minute or two longer. Remove the pan from the fire before adding the lemon juice, and strain before using. More or less milk may be added according to the thickness of the sauce required. If considered too rich, the cream may be omitted.

Seasoned Milk

Put as much milk as is required into a lined saucepan, with a small piece of carrot, turnip, onion, and a few parsley stalks. Let the pan stand by the side of the fire until the milk is well seasoned, then strain and cool before using.

Steamed Fish

This is the lightest and simplest mode of cooking fish for an invalid.

1 filleted haddock, whiting, or sole. A pinch of salt and white pepper.

A small piece of butter. A squeeze of lemon juice.

Cut the fillets of fish into neat-sized pieces; grease a soup-plate or muffin-dish with a little butter, and place the fish on this. Sprinkle with a little salt and white pepper if it is allowed, and squeeze over some lemon juice, which helps to keep the fish firm and white. Cover the fish with a piece of greased white paper, and then with a lid or basin. Place this over a pan half-full of boiling water, seeing that the plate fits well on the pan. Keep the water in the pan boiling, so that there may be plenty of steam, and cook from twenty to thirty minutes, until the fish loses its clear, transparent appearance and looks quite white. If the pieces are thick, it is better to turn them while cooking. The liquid that is on the plate when the fish is cooked is the juice from the fish, and should be served with it. Serve the fish with a little plain cold butter and a piece of plain bread or toast.

Stewed Fish

I filleted fish, whiting, haddock, sole, plaice. 1 tablespoonful breadcrumbs. 1 teaspoonful chopped parsley.

I gill milk.

1 ounce butter.

White pepper.

1 gill cold water.

Wipe the fish with a damp cloth and cut it into small, neat pieces. Rinse out a lined saucepan with water, and place the pieces offish at the foot. Sprinkle over them a little salt and white pepper, pour in the milk and water; put the lid on the pan, and let the fish cook slowly by the side of the fire until it is ready, which will be in about fifteen minutes. Do not overcook, or the fish will be hard. Lift out the pieces of fish on to the plate on which they are to be served, and keep them hot. Add the breadcrumbs and the butter to the water and milk in the pan. Stir over the fire for a few minutes until the breadcrumbs swell and thicken the sauce. Sprinkle in the parsley, and then pour this sauce over the fish.

Baked Fish

1/4 lb. uncooked fish.

2 tablespoonfuls breadcrumbs.

Pepper, salt, and a little lemon juice.

1 egg.

1/2 gill milk.

1/2 ounce butter.

Grease a small pie-dish with a little of the butter. Have the fish free from the skin and bone, and cut it into neat pieces. Lay half of these pieces at the foot of the pie-dish, sprinkle over them a little white pepper, salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice, and then put on a layer of breadcrumbs. Next, put in the rest of the fish, seasoning, and more crumbs. Beat up the egg in a small basin, add the milk to it, and strain this into the pie-dish. Put the rest of the butter in small pieces on the top and wipe round the edyes of the pie-dish, and bake in the oven until nicely browned.

Fried Fish

Nothing is nicer for an invalid than a really well-fried fillet of sole or small whiting, with a slice of lemon to squeeze over it.

Soles To Fry

I sole.

A little flour.

Pepper and salt.

Egg and breadcrumbs.

Frying Fat

Skin and fillet the fish, and wipe the fillets with a damp cloth. Trim neatly and cut across in slanting direction into two or three pieces. Dip each piece in flour mixed with pepper and salt, then egg and breadcrumbs, and fry in boiling fat until well browned. Drain on kitchen paper and serve very hot. Garnish with lemon (see method of wet frying, p. 69).

Small whitings and haddocks, small flounders and plaice, can be cooked whole in this way. Large flounders, plaice, and haddocks are better filleted whole.

Quenelle Of Fish

1 lb. haddock. 1 slice bread. 1/2 ounce butter.

1 teacupful milk.

1 teaspoonful parsley.

1 egg and 1 yolk.

Pepper and salt.

Remove the skin and bones from the haddock, and scrape it down, putting aside any part that is not white. Soak the breadcrumbs in milk, and when quite soaked, strain and place in a small saucepan with the butter, parsley, and the yolk of one egg, and stir over the fire till it becomes a thick paste. Put it in a mortar with the fish, and powder it into a smooth paste; mix in thoroughly a beaten up egg, also pepper and salt. Place in a buttered shape and steam for an hour and a half.