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PREPARATION OF FISH FOR COOKING



It is important to determine whether or not fish is fresh. Fish should not give off any offensive odor. The eyes should be bright and clear not dull or sunken. The gills should have a bright-red color and there should be no blubber showing. The flesh should be so firm that no dent will be made when it is touched with the finger. Fish may also be tested for freshness by placing it in a pan of water. If it sinks it may be known to be fresh, but if it floats it is not fit for use. Fish is usually prepared for cooking at the market where it is purchased, but frequently a fish comes into the home just as it has been caught. In order to prepare such a fish properly for cooking, one must understand how to clean it. If fish is purchased in unclean condition, it should be cleaned at once. The first step for cleaning fish consists in removing the scales. With the fish scaled, proceed to remove the entrails. Make sure that the cavity formed by taking out the entrails is perfectly clean. Then cut off the head, fins and tail if desired and wash it in cold water.


In the preparation of some kinds of fish, it is often desired to bone the fish; that is, to remove the backbone and the ribs. Some kinds of fish, especially those having no scales such as flounder, catfish and eels are made more palatable by being skinned. Many recipes require fish to be cut into fillets, that is, thick and flat slices from which the bone is removed.
The fish which is now properly prepared, may be cooked at once or placed in the refrigerator until time for cooking. Salted slightly inside and out, it should be kept in a covered enamel or porcelain dish and then put in the compartment of the refrigerator from which odors cannot be carried to foods in the other compartments.













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