Soyers Shilling Cookery - Jewish Fish and Kitchen Utensils
FISH IN FRYING-PAN
75. Fried Fish, Jewish Fashion.
This is another excellent way of frying fish, which is constantly in use by the children of Israel, and I cannot recommend it too highly; so much so, that various kinds of fish which many people despise, are excellent cooked by this process; in eating them many persons are deceived, and would suppose them to be the most expensive of fish. The process is at once simple, effective, and economical; not that I would recommend it for invalids, as the process imbibes some of the fat, which, however palatable, would not do for the dyspeptic or invalid.
76. Proceed thus: - cut one or two pounds of halibut in on piece, lay it in a dish, cover the top with a little salt, put some water in the dish, but not to cover the fish; let it remain there for one hour. The water being below, causes the salt to penetrate into the fish. Take it out and dry it; cut out the bones and the fins off; it is then in two pieces. Lay the pieces on the side, and divide them into slices half an inch thick; put into a frying pan, with a quarter of a pound of fat, lard, or dripping (the Jews use oil); then put two ounces of flour into a soup-plate, or basin, which mix with water, to form a smooth batter, not too thick. Dip the fish in it, that the pieces are well covered, then have the fat, not too hot, put the pieces in it, and fry till a nice colour, turning them over. When done, take it out with a slice, let it drain, dish up, and serve. Any kind of sauce that is liked may be used with it; but plain, with a little salt and lemon, is excellent. This fish is often only threepence to fourpence per pound; it containing but little bone renders it very economical. It is excellent cold, and can be eaten with oil, vinegar, and cucumbers, in summer time, and is exceedingly cooling. An egg is an improvement in the batter.
The same fish as before mentioned as fit for frying, may be fried in this manner. Eels are excellent done so; the batter absorbs the oil which is in them. Flounders may also be done in this way. A little salt should be sprinkled over before serving.
77. In some Jewish families all this kind of fish is fried in oil, and dipped in batter, as described above. In some families they dip the fish first in flour, and then in egg, and fry in oil. This plan is superior to that fried in fat or dripping, but more expensive.
Many of the above-mentioned families have stated days on which they fry, or stew their fish, which will keep good several days in summer, and I may almost say, weeks in winter; and being generally eaten cold, it saves them a deal of cooking. Still I must say that there is nothing like a hot dinner.
THE THREE-LEGGED IRON POT INTRODUCTION
DEAREST FRIEND, - You are aware that every cottage throughout the land has a peculiarity in cookery and cooking utensils, which nothing can alter. One of them has a great claim on our gratitude, which neither time nor place can erase. War, famine, epidemic, revolutions, which have from time to time shaken the foundation of mighty empires, has not caused a wrinkly to appear on his noble brow even in this miraculous age of discovery, which has created railways, steam, electricity, photography, and by the last powerful agent we are actually enabled to take the strongest fortifications without bloodshed.
Not even one of the miracles of the nineteenth century has affected his noble position one jot: he is a posterity in himself, and no throne ever has been, or ever will be, stronger than his.
In winter, when all nature is desolate, when hoary Frost spreads his white mantle over the myriads of defunct flowers, then this homely king rallies round him his subjects, to entertain, comfort, and feed them, and make them happy, even when nature has almost refused to humanity her powerful service. This mighty monarch, Eloise, is no other than the three-legged iron pot, which has done such good service for so many generations, and will continue to do so if properly treated by his subjects.
So much for his moral virtues; but let us see what he has been doing, and if we can make him do anything more, and that in accordance with the enlightenment of the nineteenth century. You will perhaps say, that it is dangerous to try to make any change in a government so well established. Not at all; my object is not to interfere with his noble position, and deprive him of his rights. On the contrary, I only wish to enrich his kingdom, which I am sure no sensible monarch can object to.
Now for the immortal Pot-luck. all these receipts are for one containing two gallons.