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Salt Fish

( Originally Published 1926 )

361. Q. What are anchovies?

A. The anchovy is a very small fish of the herring family, growing to about six inches in length. It is found in European waters, mainly in the Mediterranean Sea around Italy. Anchovies are put up both in brine and in olive oil They are also potted and used in the form of paste and table sauces.

362 Q. Why is Georges Codfish so called?

A. Because it is caught in the vicinity of what are known as Georges Banks, a fishing ground off the coast of Maine.

363 Q. What are those red specks that are some-times found on salt codfish?

A. Such red specks are signs of deterioration. They should be trimmed off to prevent their spreading. Unless such codfish can be used in a short time, it should be placed in a heavy salt brine in a jar or keg. This will prevent further discoloration.

364 Q. How can one tell codfish from other similar fish—hake, for instance?

A. The meat of the codfish is flaky and quite white in color. The meat of the hake is fibrous and dark in color, somewhat pinkish. The meat of the other substitutes for codfish (cusk, pollock, and haddock) is also dark and fibrous. Codfish with the skin on can be distinguished (1) by its speckles, (2) by the three separate fins on the back, and (3) by the tips of the tail, which is square across instead of being round.

365 Q. What are codfish "middles"?

A. The thickest and choicest part of the cod-fish.

366 Q. What are codfish "strips"?

A. Skinned codfish, usually the whole fish, made up in a roll, and varying in weight from 2 to 4 pounds.

367 Q. What are codfish "tablets"?

A. Strips of boneless codfish, cut 6 inches long, 3 inches wide, and about 11% inches thick. The tablets are usually made up of two or three pieces and come in 1-lb. boxes.

368 Q. Why is some codfish labeled "Boneless" and some "Absolutely Boneless"? Is there any difference between these two terms?

A. As a rule, "boneless" signifies that only the big bones have been taken out, while "absolutely boneless" means that all of the bones, large and small, have been removed.

369 Q. What is meant by "marinated" herring?

A. Herring, pickled in white vinegar with slices of lemons and onions and spiced with bay leaves, whole allspice, whole black pepper, whole mustard seed, whole cloves, and sometimes with small Japanese peppers.

370 Q. What is meant by "kippered" when used in connection with herring or other fish?

A. The word "Kippered" is of Scotch origin and refers to fish that has been split, salted, and smoked.

371 Q. What is meant by "bloater"?

A. "Bloater" has two meanings ; it refers (1) to large, fat mackerel, and (2) to large, fat, smoked herring.

372 Q. What is rolled mopse?

A. This is the trade name for herring that has been split in halves, boned, spiced, rolled around a piece of pickle, and held together with tooth-picks.

373 Q. What is Finnan Haddie?

A. A lightly salted and smoked haddock, with the head off. It is split open the entire length, and part of the backbone removed. (The word "Finnan" is a corrupt spelling of Findon, a fishing village near Aberdeen, Scotland, and was originally applied to the haddock cured at that place.)

374 Q. What are ciscoes?

A. "Cisco" is the name the Indians gave to several varieties of fish found in the Great Lakes, commonly known as lake herring, bloater, cisco, and long-jaw.

375 Q. What is stockfish?

A. Stockfish refers to any of several varieties of fish, cured in Norway and in Alaska. The fish is dried and cured, without the aid of salt or other preservatives. Stockfish is used almost exclusively by the Scandinavian people. Makes a very delicious dish.

376 Q. What is lutfisk?

A. This is stockfish that has been soaked and is ready for cooking. The hard, dried stock-fish is soaked for three or four days in a preparation of lye water, after which it is placed in fresh water.

377 Q. What is considered the best mackerel?

A. The fall-caught Norway mackerel. They are fat, white, and of excellent quality. The meat is white, because care is taken to soak out all of the blood before salting. The Gloucester Fat Shore mackerel, caught off the New England coast, are fat and of very fine quality, but they do not have the white color of the Nor-way fish, because the American fishermen catch them in large quantities, and cannot take the time to soak out all of the blood.

378 Q. How should salt mackerel be freshened in order to get the best results?

A. The fish should be put in a large amount of water, meat side down, and, if convenient, raised a few inches from the bottom of the vessel, so that the salt may drop down away from the fish as fast as extracted. The water should be changed several times. Twelve to forty-eight -hours may be allowed, according to the individual taste.

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