As the main course at a meal, fish may be served accompanied by vegetables or it may be prepared as a “one-meal dish” requiring only bread and butter and a simple dessert to complete a nutritious and well balanced diet. A lack of proper knowledge of selection of fish for the different methods of cooking, and the improper cooking of fish once it is acquired, are responsible to a large extent for the prejudice so frequently to be found against the use of fish.
The kinds of fish obtainable in different markets vary somewhat, but the greatest difficulty for many housekeepers seems to be, to know what fish may best be selected for baking, broiling, etc., and the tests for fish when cooked. An invariable rule for cooking fish is to apply high heat at first, until the flesh is well seared so as to retain the juices; then a lower temperature until the flesh is cooked throughout.
Fish is thoroughly cooked when the flesh flakes. For broiling or pan broiling, roll fish in flour or cornmeal, preferably the latter, which has been well seasoned with salt and cayenne. This causes the outside to be crisp and also gives added flavor.
Leftover bits of baked or other fish may be combined with white sauce or tomato sauce, or variations of these sauces, and served as creamed fish, or placed in a greased baking dish, crumbs placed on top and browned and served as scalloped fish.
Fish canapes, fish cocktail, fish soup or chowder; baked, steamed, broiled or pan broiled fish, entrees without number, and fish salad give opportunity to use it in endless variety.
Combined with starchy foods such as rice, hominy, macaroni, spaghetti or potato, and accompanied by a green vegetable or fruit, the dish becomes a meal. Leftover bits may also be utilized for salad, either alone with cooked or mayonnaise salad dressing, or combined with vegetables such as peas, carrots, cucumbers, etc.
The addition of a small amount of chopped pickle to fish salad improves its flavor, or a plain or tomato gelatine foundation may be used as a basis for the salad.
The appended lists of fish suitable for the various methods of cooking, and the variety in the recipes for the uses of fish, have been arranged to encourage a wider use of this excellent meat substitute, so largely eaten by European epicures, but too seldom included in American menus.
During the period of the war, the larger use of fish is a patriotic measure in that it will save the beef, mutton and pork needed for our armies.