All About Fish
( Originally Published 1904 )
ALTHOUGH the fish is an inhabitant of water and cannot live out of it, the amount of water in the flesh itself is only slightly higher than that of meat; one hundred pounds of fish with-out bone containing from 75 to 85 per cent. of water; whilst meat from a healthy land-animal contains about seventy-five to eighty. A few, especially oily fish, contain an extra 10 per cent. of fat, and that much less water.
Fish, therefore, belongs to the class of nitrogenous foods which build up and repair flesh and tissues, but, although having almost as much nitrogenous or proteid matter as meat, it is not so nourishing, for a larger proportion of the proteids is in the form of gelatine, which is less valuable to the animal economy than is albumen, of which the nitrogenous part of meat is almost entirely composed.
Fish contains more phosphorus' than meat; the active_ fish, like trout and _pickerel, having the greatest percentage.
Fish is well adapted for persons whose physical labor is not considerable, and the constituents lacking 'can easily be supplied by:in intelligent caterer, who would serve potatoes and cucumbers or lettuce with French dressing, to make up the deficiency of carbohydrates and fats.
Fish with pink or dark flesh have fat distributed through the whole body, and are in consequence more difficult of digestion, but they contain more nutriment, and better supply the needs of a strong, active man; such fish are salmon, '.sturgeon, catfish, and mackerel.
Fish white of flesh, like the flounder and English sole, are most easy to digest and serve for invalids and persons of delicate organization.
Stale fish and those kept in cold-storage are not wholesome, nor do they retain their flavor, and it is better to be satisfied with .those in season. They have a plan abroad of catching fish in nets and keeping them alive until sold, which is a most wholesome one.
In Purchasing Fish choose only those in which the flesh is thick and firm, the scales bright and stiff, the eyes full and prominent.
Cleaning Fish.—This is usually done by the fishmonger and varies according to the fish dealt with. The gills, liver, intestines, etc., are first removed; often some skin; then portions of the fins and sometimes the head. These cuttings often equal the remaining flesh in weight and nutriment, and a clever cook will make from them a concentrated liquor which can be utilized to enrich the sauces served with the cooked fish. French and English cooks have several excellent soups and stews made entirely from these cuttings. More bones can be removed without breaking the flesh than is commonly done, and much trouble saved the guest.