Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category
Wash, wipe, and split the fish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and lay it upon a buttered gridiron, inside downward. When the lower side is browned, turn the fish. One of medium size will be done in about twenty minutes. Serve upon a hot dish, and lay a good piece of butter upon the fish.
Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: Shad of course played a prominent role in the Civil War when Gen. George Pickett left his post on the defensive lines at Petersburg to attend a shad bake at a nearby plantation. Unfortunately this event coincided with the final Union attack which succeeded in breaking the siege, leading just days later to the surrender at Appomattox, doing poor Gen. Pickett’s already battered military reputation no good at all.
The reputation of the shad is equally dubious today as it is extremely difficult to clean them completely of bones. It is suggested that the roasting technique, either on a grill ["gridiron"] as here or the procedure known as “planking” [nail tail of fish to board, prop board up by a pit containing an open fire], may help soften the bones to the point where they do not trouble the eater. The fish is one which, like the salmon, spends most of its life in the open ocean but must return to a freshwater stream to breed. They are making something of a comeback as old dams which no longer serve any purpose are being removed to let rivers run free again.
1 young fowl
Oysters (enough to fill the cavity of the fowl)
White Sauce (if desired)
Take a young fowl, fill the inside with oysters, put it into a jar, and plunge the jar in a kettle or saucepan of water. Boil it for one hour and a half. There will be a quantity of gravy from the juices of the fowl and oysters in the jar; make it into a white sauce, with the addition of egg, cream, or a little flour and butter; add oysters to it, or serve up plain with the fowl…the dish loses nothing of its delicacy and simplicity.
From Godey’s Lady’s Book magazine, reader- contributed recipe from the issue of January, 1861.
Comment: This is perhaps the only recipe of either past or present time which we have seen call for cooking a bird in what amounts to a double boiler. The technique was used on smaller cuts of beef or poultry to produce the substance known as “meat tea,” often used as a therapeutic agent in cases of illness or injury. It is difficult to see how a bird, even a “young’ and presumably small one, can be cooked through with this procedure in the amount of time given. It would seem just as quick and a great deal safer to simply roast the creature, stuffed as indicated and with sauce made as directed with the pan juices.