SALT FISH BALLS.
(Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook Book, 1884)
1 cup raw salt fish.
1 egg, well beaten.
1 pint potatoes.
1/4 saltspoonful pepper.
1 teaspoonful butter.
More salt, if needed.
Wash the fish, pick in half-inch pieces, and free from bones. Pare the potatoes, and cut in quarters. Put the potatoes and fish in a stewpan, and cover with boiling water. Boil twenty-five minutes, or till the potatoes are soft. Be careful not to let them boil long enough to become soggy. Drain off all the water; mash and beat the fish and potatoes till very light. Add the butter and pepper, and when slightly cooled add the egg and more salt, if needed. Shape in a tablespoon without smoothing much, slip them off into a basket, and fry in smoking hot lard one minute. Fry only five at a time, as more will cool the fat. The lard should be hot enough to brown a piece of bread while you count forty. Or, first dipping the spoon in the fat, take up a spoonful of the fish and plunge it into the hot fat. Drain on soft paper.
These fish balls should be mixed while the potatoes and fish are hot. If you wish to prepare them the night before, omit the egg, and in the morning warm the fish and potato in a double boiler, then add the egg. Keep the fish in a bowl of cold water while picking it apart, and it will need no further soaking.
Contrary to all old theories, boiling the fish with the potato does not harden it. When well mashed and beaten with a strong fork, the fish will only be recognized in the potato by the taste, and not by the presence of hard, lumpy pieces. Never chop salt fish. If picked apart into small pieces and then rubbed with a potato masher till it is reduced to fine threads, it will blend with any mixture better than it will when chopped. These are the most quickly prepared and the most delicious fish balls ever made, and are worthy the superlative adjectives which have been given them by enthusiastic pupils.
Fish Hash. — The same mixture as above, cooked in a little salt pork fat in a frying-pan till brown, and turned out like an omelet.
Fish Souffle. — Prepare the fish as for fish balls; add two tablespoonfuls of cream and two eggs, beaten separately; and bake in a buttered dish.