In the quantity of protein, however, fish is about equal to beef; its protein is also complete. Hence many consider it quite as nutritious as beef. It is lacking in extractives, and needs careful seasoning.
FAT OF FISH.--The fat content of fish varies greatly in different kinds of fish. A few fish, such as salmon for example, contain considerable fat. The edible portion of most fish, however, contains less fat than beef. The ease with which we digest fish depends upon the fat it contains. Fish containing the least quantity of fat is the most easily digested.
CLASSES OF FISH.--According to the quantity of fat it contains, fish may be divided into two classes: (a) dry, or lean fish, and (b) oily fish. Cod, haddock, smelt, flounder, perch, bass, brook trout, and pike are dry, or lean fish. Salmon, shad, mackerel, herring, eel, halibut, lake trout, and white fish are oily fish. (This latter group contains from 5 to 10 per cent of fat.)
Fish may also be divided into two classes, according to the water in which they live, fish from the sea being termed salt-water fish, and those from rivers and lakes fresh-water fish
Since fish contains about as much protein as does beef, it should be generally used as a meat alternative. Inspection of the fish found at market will doubtless acquaint you with many kinds of fish.
SALMON TIMBALE OR LOAF
1 can salmon 1 cupful soft bread crumbs 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls chopped parsley 1/2 teaspoonful salt Pepper 1 or 2 eggs 1 tablespoonful lemon juice 1/4 to 1/2 cupful milk
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly, adding enough milk to moisten. Pour into buttered timbale molds or into one bowl. Place on a rack in a pan, surround with hot water, and cover. Bake in the oven or cook on top of the range until the fish mixture is firm and is heated thoroughly. Turn out, and serve with White Sauce to which chopped parsley has been added (for White Sauce, see White Sauce for Vegetables. For the fat of the White Sauce, use the oil drained from the salmon).
Peas in White Sauce make a pleasing addition to Salmon Timbale, Tuna fish or other cooked fish may be used instead of salmon.
CASSEROLE OF FISH
Cook 1 cupful of rice or barley (see page 85). Measure the ingredients given in Salmon Timbale or Loaf, using salmon or any kind of canned or cooked fish, and prepare a fish loaf.
Let the cereal cool slightly after cooking. Then line a baking dish or a mold with about three fourths of the cooked rice or barley, pressing it in the dish firmly with a spoon. Put the fish mixture in the cavity and cover it with the remainder of the cereal. Steam the food 30 to 45 minutes. Turn from the mold and serve hot with White Sauce as directed for Salmon Timbale.
Any kind of cooked and chopped meat may be used instead of fish and combined with rice or barley as described above. QUESTIONS
What purpose do the eggs serve in Salmon Loaf?
Think of the effect of intense heat upon the different ingredients in this fish mixture, and then explain why it should not cook for a long time or at a high temperature.
What is the price per can of salmon? Of tuna fish?
Name two fresh fish that are in market now. What is the price per pound of each?
FRESHNESS OF FISH.--Fish is a food which spoils very quickly, and which is dangerous to eat if not fresh. For this reason the housekeeper should be able to judge of the freshness of fish. In fresh fish:
(a) The flesh is firm and elastic, especially along the backbone.
(6) The gills are bright.
(c) The eyes are bright and bulging.
The sinking of fish when placed in water has also been given as an indication of its fitness for use as food. Decayed fish floats on water.
Since fish spoils readily, it must be frozen if kept for any length of time. Frozen fish is not undesirable provided it is kept in a frozen state until used; it should be thawed out by placing it in cold water just before cooking. Fish that has been thawed out and kept for some time before cooking may contain at times poisonous substances called ptomaines.