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Scottish Salmon

To Boil a Salmon is the best way of cooking it, though there are a dozen other ways that are a good second-best. If possible the fish should be boiled whole, well covered with well salted spring water. It ought never to be skinned beforehand, and the cleaning and scaling must be done with the utmost circumspection so that there is no unnecessary cutting. Cooking should be gentle, and about ten minutes to the pound allowed, but this will vary according to each fish and its freshness. Scum should be removed during the cooking.

The moment it is taken from the boiling water, and drained, it should lie on a napkin and be covered with several folds. The noble way to serve a fish that is nobly fresh, and accordingly, as Meg Dods has it, "crisp, curdy, and creamy", is with no other sauce but a tureenful of the plain liquor in which it was boiled. When carving, help each person to a slice of the thick (from the shoulders and back) and a slice of the thin (from the side and the belly). Epicures know that the thin is the better. Salmon that is no longer quite fresh may profitably be boiled with some horse-radish and served with mustard sauce. When mere cuts are to be boiled the water should be warm to start with, and a squeeze of lemon will help to keep the flesh firm.

Smoking, Kippering and Pickling Salmon are mostly processes demanding time, space and practice, but there is one good and easy way of pickling, should you have more fish than you can use fresh, which will keep the precious stuff for you for a year.

Cut the fresh fish in pieces, boil, skin and bone them, and wrap them in a dry napkin till the next day. Then put them in a deep crock and pour on two quarts of the best vinegar which has been boiled along with one quart of the liquor the fish was cooked in, one ounce of whole black pepper, half an ounce of allspice, and four blades of mace. The spiced vinegar must be quite cold when poured on to the salmon. Cover the whole surface with olive oil and leave it.

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