Salmon used to be abundant along the U. S. North Atlantic coastline. But overfishing, logging, soil erosion, dam, and mill construction. and other activities severely damaged the salmon population.
I was fortunate to visit Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada, in 1980 and we ate plenty of fresh salmon. We used a smoker barbecue with a domed lid to cook them over charcoal. They were sure good!
Gridiron – A frame of parallel metal bars used for grilling meat or fish over an open fire.
Moderate Oven – A moderate oven is about 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit; you could hold your hand in the oven about 45 seconds without burning.
Salamander – A metal plate heated and placed over food to brown it.
Suet – The hard white fat on the kidneys and loins of cattle, sheep, and other animals. Ideal for deep frying and making pastries.
INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS:
TO BUY FRESH SALMON
The belly should be firm and thick, which may readily be ascertained by feeling it with the thumb and finger. The flesh will be of a fine red, the gills particularly, the scales very bright, and the whole fish stiff. When just killed, there is a whiteness between the flakes which gives great firmness. Those with small heads, and thick in the neck, are best.
Scale and clean the fish, and be particular that no blood is left inside. Lay it in the fish-kettle with sufficient cold water to cover it, adding six ounces of salt to each gallon of water; sufficient water to cover the fish. Bring it quickly to a boil, take off all the scum, and let it simmer gently till the fish is done, which will be when the meat separates easily from the bone. Experience alone can teach the cook to fix the time for boiling fish. Underdone fish of every kind is disgusting and unwholesome. Neither let it remain in the kettle after it is sufficiently cooked, as that would render it insipid, watery, and colorless. Drain it, and if not wanted for a few minutes, keep it warm by means of warm cloths laid over it. Serve on a hot napkin, garnish with cut lemon and parsley, and send lobster or shrimp sauce, and plain melted butter to table with it. A dish of dressed cucumber usually accompanies this fish.
In places remote from the sea, a whole salmon is seldom seen at table but at dinner parties, or at good hotels. In a very hot climate, it should not be seen at all.
Rub half a pound of raw salmon to a smooth paste with water, adding gradually a dozen chopped raw oysters, half a cupful of Tomato Sauce and the yolks of three eggs. When smooth, fold in the stiffly beaten whites, season with salt and pepper, and press through a purée sieve into small buttered molds. Put into a baking-pan, surround with hot water, and bake for fifteen or twenty minutes in a moderate oven. Unmold and serve with any preferred sauce.
Chop a Spanish onion, fry it in butter, and add a tablespoon of curry powder mixed with a teaspoon of flour. Add two cups of soup stock and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Add cold cooked salmon cut into small pieces, and reheat. Serve in a border of boiled rice.
Clean, bone, and parboil a small salmon. Rub the inside with salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg. Stuff with chopped oysters, minced parsley, and seasoned crumbs. Fold together, put into a buttered baking-dish, and bake for half an hour, basting with its own dripping.
Wash carefully all traces of blood from the inside of the fish. Cut it into rather thick slices, or fillets. Dry them in a clean cloth, then dredge them with flour. Grease the bars of the gridiron with lard or suet, or the dripping of beef or veal, to prevent the fish from sticking. Let the fire be a bed of clear bright hot coals. Broil the slices well on both sides and when done, transfer them to a hot dish. Lay a bit of fresh butter on each, and season them a little with cayenne.
FRIED SALMON CUTLETS
Having washed, dried and floured the cutlets, put a pound of fresh lard into a frying pan, and set it over a clear brisk fire till it boils fast. Have ready a marinade or dressing made of grated bread-crumbs, chopped sweet-marjoram, beaten yolks of eggs, and powdered mace, all well mixed. Dip each cutlet into this marinade twice over, and fry them. There must be plenty of lard, so that the cutlets may float on its surface instead of sinking to the bottom, and becoming dark, heavy, and greasy. When they are done, take them up with a perforated skimmer, draining off the lard as you do so. Lay them on a hot dish, and keep them hot till wanted. Serve up with them mashed potatoes made into flat cakes, and browned with a salamander.
Wash and wipe a small fish. Rub with pepper and salt, and sprinkle with paprika and powdered mace. Bake carefully, basting with melted butter and its own dripping. Take up the fish carefully and add to the gravy enough stock or water to make the required quantity of sauce. Thicken with butter and flour cooked together, season with tomato catsup and lemon juice. Pour around the fish and serve.
Mix half a cupful of vinegar, the juice of half a lemon, two cloves, a bay leaf, an inch of stick cinnamon, a teaspoonful of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Bring to the boil and pour over salmon steaks which have been boiled, drained, and cooled. Let stand for two or three hours before serving.
Do You Like to Eat Fish? What is Your Favorite Kind?