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Serving Food Attractively: Fish
ANCHOVIES: Wrap anchovy fillets around stuffed olives; arrange in groups around fish and intersperse with parsley.
ASPARAGUS: Insert three or four asparagus tips in a green pepper or pimento ring. Place four bundles on a fish platter, two at each end. Arrange at an angle parallel to the fish.
ASPIC: Mold colored, well-seasoned aspic in a fancy mold or in a flat pan about 1/2 inch thick and cut into fancy shapes. Place in lemon or lime cups or in a bed of garnishing greens around fish. To make the lemon or lime cups, cut the fruit in half lengthwise and remove pulp carefully. Edges may be plain or scalloped. Well-seasoned fish may be molded into the aspic.
BACON: Before baking, top fish with slices of bacon. During baking the bacon will curl to a certain extent. Place the grilled bacon curls around the fish.
BEETS: Cook small or medium-sized beets, rub off skin and remove tops. Scoop out center of beets and fill with a well seasoned vegetable of contrasting color. Arrange filled beets in groups or place at intervals around fish. Cook beets and slice while hot. Arrange in groups of three overlapping slices and alternate with cooked Brussels sprouts to form a border around fish. Fill small parboiled onion cups with chopped cooked beets.
BREAD: Cut bread in fancy shapes, such as hearts, clubs, diamonds, et cetera. Deep-fat fry and arrange as a garnish around fish. Scoop out a 2- or 3-inch square of bread to make a bread foundation. Fill with creamed fish and top with a bit of parsley. Make bread boats from long diamond shaped pieces of bread cut about 2 1/2 inches thick. Fill with creamed fish, sprinkle grated cheese on rim of boat, and return to oven to toast bread and melt cheese. Insert a carrot cut in the shape of a sail in front of the boat.
CARROTS: Cut off the large end of a carrot, about 1 1/2 inches deep. Parboil, then scoop out center portion to form a cup. Fill with fish sauce or fish dressing, then arrange as many cups as needed to make an attractive border around the fish. Carrot cups may also be filled with buttered peas instead of a sauce. Score carrots with a fluting knife; slice, cook, and then arrange in design over fish. Cut raw or cooked carrots in julienne strips and arrange as border around baked fish. Insert parsley here and there. With a French ball cutter scoop balls from large parboiled carrots. Place in nests of mashed potatoes or shredded greens, such as cooked spinach or Swiss chard.
CHARD: Shred chard, mix with a slightly beaten egg, season to taste, then bake in custard cups. Remove the chard by inverting the custard cups. Arrange the mounds of chard as a border or in groups around fish. Top each mound with a slice of hard-cooked egg sprinkled with paprika or garnished with a star or other shape cut from pimiento.
CHEESE: Mold tinted cream cheese in shape of birds' eggs. Place in nests of shredded greens; arrange nests around cooked fish on large platter. Grate cheese and sprinkle over baked fish. The heat of the fish should melt the cheese. If it does not, put in oven long enough to melt cheese. Pour cheese sauce over fish and sprinkle with paprika.
COLESLAW: Prepare green or red coleslaw with sweet-sour dressing. Fill cooked onion or turnip cups with slaw, then arrange between servings of fish fillets. Use coleslaw to make nests; fill with tiny fish balls made from fish-croquette mixture.
CUCUMBERS: Cut off the large end of a cucumber about 2 inches deep. Do not peel. Scoop out pulp, then cut peel in 5 petals and shape each petal like that of a water lily. Place in ice water to open. Insert carrot slice for center of lily. Place among greens next to fish on a large platter. Cut a 1 3/4 -inch section from the end of a large peeled or unpeeled cucumber. Scoop out pulp. Fill with olive-tomato sauce. Make a carrot spoon by carving a raw carrot into the shape of a spoon. Make a cucumber basket by cutting peeled or unpeeled cucumbers into 2-inch pieces from end of cucumber. Cut the edge in notches. Scoop out the center portion. To make the handle, cut a slice from the large part of a second cucumber, then cut out the center to form a ring that will fit over the top of the basket. Two thirds of the cucumber ring is usually needed to form the handle. Fasten the handle in place with toothpicks. Score an unpeeled cucumber with a fluting knife. Cut slices and arrange in greens around fish.
Cucumber Twists: Cut a large cucumber into thin slices, then cut each slice through up to the center. Pull the ends thus made in opposite directions to form a curl and hold in place with a toothpick. Chill, then remove toothpick and place among greens around fish. Slice a cucumber into thin lengthwise slices. Roll, then fasten with toothpicks and chill in ice water. Remove the toothpicks and arrange among greens on a fish platter. Fringe edges before rolling if desired.
EGGS: Cut a hard-cooked egg in halves, quarters, or slices. Top with chopped parsley, paprika, or pimiento cut in narrow strips or shapes of objects and place around salmon loaf. Bits of truffle or grated cheese may be sprinkled over fish loaf and toasted just before serving. Cut perpendicular gashes in a hard cooked egg and insert cucumber slices in the gashes formed. Mince the white and yolk of a hard-cooked egg, separately or together, and sprinkle over creamed fish. Top beet slices with slices of hard-cooked eggs and arrange around fish loaf.
ENDIVE: Curly endive (chicory) is particularly effective used as a border on fish platters because of its feathery texture and variegated color, which ranges from yellow green to dark green.
HORSE-RADISH: Fill small cucumber or beet cups with ground, well-seasoned horse-radish. Serve on fish platter.
LEMONS: Stud rind of lemon slice with whole cloves, or form cross on top of lemon slice with inserted whole cloves. Cut a lemon slice about 1/2 inch thick, then use whole or cut in wedges. Cut gash in rind in middle of each wedge. Insert a scored cucumber slice. If whole slice of lemon is used, insert scored cucumber slices in gashes made in rind 3/4 to 1 inch apart. The outer edge of cucumber may be dipped in paprika. Cut lemons in half crosswise or lengthwise and remove pulp. Stuff with fish salad, cut in wedges, and arrange in design on fish platter. Serve fish sauce in lemon cups. To make lemon cups, cut a lemon in half lengthwise and remove pulp carefully. Cut lemons in sections, top pointed edge with strips of pimiento or whole cloves.
LOBSTER: Arrange lobster claws, feelers, or corals around lobster on large platter.
MUSHROOMS: Sauté mushroom caps, fill with browned minced onion or top with piece of pimiento; arrange in a row on top of baked fish. Sliced mushrooms may be used in the same way.
OLIVES: Chop ripe, green, or stuffed olives, and sprinkle on top of fish sauce. Cut stuffed olives in half crosswise; stand on edge as dividing lines between servings of fish fillet. Arrange ripe, green, or stuffed olives in nests of shredded lettuce or watercress surrounding fish.
ONIONS: Cut onion slices and separate into rings. Arrange a row of rings over large fish before baking, overlapping the rings to form lacy effect. Arrange small parboiled onions in bed of greens as border around baked fish.
PAPRIKA: Use brilliant red variety of paprika. Sprinkle over fish or dip edges of greens into paprika before arranging on fish platter.
PARSLEY: Chop parsley; scatter over cooked fish or sauce. Arrange sprigs of parsley generously on fish dishes.
PIMIENTOS: Cut pimientos into shape of stars and place on top of cone-shaped croquettes. Scatter bits of pimiento with green pepper or chopped parsley over creamed fish. Arrange strips of pimiento, cut in different lengths, over fish cakes.
PINEAPPLES: Sauté pineapple slices or finger strips. Stand a 2-inch section of whole cooked carrot in center of pineapple ring; or insert pineapple finger through cooked carrot ring. Arrange at intervals around fish platter. Top carrot in pineapple ring with a star or other shape cut from green pepper. Sprinkle chopped parsley and paprika in alternate wedges on slice of pineapple. Dip outer edge of pineapple slice or wedge in paprika. Place small French-fried fish balls in center of pineapple ring.
PEPPERS: Cut a green or red pepper in rings, strips, or cups. Fill the cups with fish sauce. Alternate or interlace red and green rings or strips around or on fish.
POTATOES: Scoop potato balls with a French ball cutter. Parboil, butter, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and arrange in shredded carrot nests. Carrots may be cooked or left raw. Make lattice potatoes by cutting the potato with a fluting cutter. Make one crosswise cut, then turn the potato and make the second cut at right angles to the first. A perfect latticed slice will be obtained if the slice is thin enough to obtain an open lattice effect. Deep-fat fry and arrange around fish. Cut potatoes in julienne strips, deep-fat fry, and arrange in mounds around fish. Force hot mashed potatoes through a pastry tube to make rosettes or other design around baked fish. Mold cold mashed potatoes into the shape of apples, sprinkle paprika on one side, insert a bit of parsley at stem end and a whole clove at blossom end. Heat the potato apples in oven before garnishing fish platter.
RADISHES: Form bouquet with radish roses, tulips (For directions see radishes in Appetizer section.), and daisies and intermingle with watercress on platter. To make radish daisies, cut a crosswise slice through center of large radish, then cut petals freehand with a sharp paring knife, or cut around a daisy cardboard pattern which has been placed on radish slice. When making radish flowers, leave enough stem on each radish so that they can be fastened together with thread.
RICE: Mold well-seasoned rice in croquettes of various shapes, dip in slightly beaten egg and fine cracker crumbs, then deep-fat fry. Top with a bit of cranberry-orange relish.
SAUCES: Use a sauce that will lend color as well as flavor to the fish; egg, hollandaise, oyster, shrimp, Spanish, or tartar.
SHALLOTS: Chop shallots and use in place of onions.
SHELLS: Serve clam, crab meat, or other sea food in clam shells. They will make an attractive dish for an otherwise drab looking fish food.
SHRIMP: Clean shrimp, dip in fritter batter, deep-fat fry, then arrange in groups around baked fish.
SMELTS: Deep-fat fry smelts, place on a slice of Bermuda onion or tomato, and use as garnish on fish platter.
SPINACH: Shred cooked spinach, shape into nests, and fill with cooked, well-seasoned carrot balls.
TOAST POINTS: Cut 1/2-inch slice of bread into small triangles. Sauté and stand upright in border around fish.
TOMATOES: Place small plum tomatoes in groups in a bed of greens on platter of fish fillets. Broil tomato slices, top with chopped chives, arrange at ends of fish platter. Raw tomato slices may be used topped with grated cheese. Cut a slice from the top of each of several small tomatoes. Scoop out the center and stuff with well-seasoned rice, bread, or meat filling. Grill, then arrange on platter with cooked and buttered broccoli.
TROUTLETS: Carve cold canned or cooked salmon croquette mixture in shape of trout. Roll in slightly beaten egg and fine cracker crumbs. Deep-fat fry. Serve hot on platter and garnish with watercress. Use little pink or red candy peppermint drops for eyes of fish. These fish should be small in order to serve as a border around large baked fish.