(Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook Book, 1884)
Mackerel, salmon, blue-fish, and all oily fish should never be fried. Smelts, perch, and other small pan-fish may be fried whole. When fried smelts are used as a garnish, fry them in the shape of rings by pinning the tail in the mouth. Cod, halibut, etc., should be skinned and boned, and cut into slices one inch thick and two or three inches square. Flounder and bass may be cut in fillets, and each fillet seasoned with salt and pepper, and fastened with a small wooden skewer. Small fish may be boned without parting in the middle, and rolled from tail to head. Fish for frying should be thoroughly cleaned and dried, seasoned with salt and pepper, and covered first with flour or fine bread crumbs, then dipped in beaten egg, then in crumbs again. If this does not cover them completely, repeat the process.
When the fish has been kept on ice, let it become slightly warm before frying, as otherwise it will chill the fat and become greasy. Fry in deep, smoking hot fat. Test the fat first with bread; and after the first plunge into the hot fat set the kettle back to keep from burning; then reheat before frying any more.
Fry from two to five minutes.
Drain and serve with tomato, or Tartare, or any acid sauce.
Garnish with slices of pickle or lemon, and parsley.
Arrange small fish with heads and tails alternating; or two or three on a skewer, one skewer for each person; or in a circle round a silver cup, placed in the centre of the platter and holding the sauce. Slices or rolled fillets may be arranged in a circle, with the sauce in the centre.