BAKED MACKEREL, OR WHITINGS
(Modern Cookery, 1845)
The fish for this receipt should be opened only so much as will permit of their being emptied and perfectly cleansed. Wash and wipe them dry, then fold them in a soft cloth, and let them remain in it awhile. Replace the roes, and put the fish into a baking-dish of suitable size, with a tablespoonful of wine, a few drops of chili vinegar, a little salt and cayenne, and about half an ounce of butter, well-blended with a saltspoonful of flour, for each fish. They must be turned round with the heads and tails towards each other, that they may lie compactly in the dish, and the backs should be placed downwards, that the sauce may surround the thickest part of the flesh. Lay two buttered papers over, and press them down upon them; set the dish into a gentle oven for twenty minutes, take off the papers, and send the fish to table in their sauce.
A few minutes more of time must be allowed for mackerel when it is large, should the oven be very slow.
Full-sized whitings are excellent thus dressed if carefully managed, and many eaters would infinitely prefer mackerel so prepared, to boiled ones. The writer has port-wine always used for the sauce, to which a rather full seasoning of chili vinegar, cayenne, and pounded mace, is. added; but sherry, Bucellas, or any other dry wine, can be used instead; and the various condiments added to it, can be varied to the taste. This receipt is a very convenient one, as it is prepared with little trouble, and a stove-oven, if the heat be properly moderated, will answer for the baking. It is an advantage to take off the heads of the fish before they are dressed, and they may then be entirely emptied without being opened. When preferred so, they can be re-dished for table, and the sauce poured over them.
Obs. — The dish in which they are baked, should be buttered before they are laid in.