When I saw a recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook for Fish Loaf, I knew that I needed to give it a try. Now that the holidays are starting to wind down, I’m ready for comfort foods. Maybe most people won’t consider Fish Loaf a comfort food, but for me it fits into that category. I have vague memories of eating (and enjoying) Salmon Loaf many years ago, and I wanted to see if this recipe was similar.
The old recipe called for using any canned fish (or flaked, cooked fresh fish) so there’s lots of flexibility- though I chose to go with salmon.
This recipe was very easy to make – and it tasted just like the Salmon Loaves that I remember from my childhood.
One teaspoon of salt seemed like a lot to me since the canned salmon that I used already contained some salt, so I when I updated the recipe, I reduced the amount of salt to 1/2 teaspoon.
Snowdrift was an old-time shortening that I don’t think is sold any longer.
1 pound can fish or 2 1/2 cups flaked, cooked fresh fish (I used a 14.75 ounce can of Salmon.)
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs (I tore 1 slice of bread into small pieces.)
1 tablespoon melted butter or shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 350° F. Separate the eggs. Put the egg whites in a mixing bowl, and beat until stiff. Set aside.
Put the egg yolks in another mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Flake the fish and add to the bowl with the beaten egg yolks. Add bread crumbs, butter or shortening, salt, pepper, and parsley; stir to combine. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Put in a greased loaf pan, and place in oven and bake until firm (about 40 – 50 minutes). Remove from oven and cut into slices. If desired, serve with peas, cream or white sauce, egg sauce, or tomato sauce.
It’s always fun to find a “new” way of serving a classic in a hundred-year-old cookbook. I recently was browsing through an old cookbook and found a recipe for Green Peppers Stuffed with Fish. Of course, I had to give it a try.
The Green Peppers Stuffed with Fish were delightful. The tender and flavorful peppers balanced nicely with the mild, delicate taste of the fish. (I used flounder.)
3-4 medium peppers (The number of peppers needed will vary depending upon size. Green peppers must have been very small a hundred years ago. The amount of stuffing would not come even close to stuffing 8 modern “good-sized” peppers.)
2 cups cooked halibut or other white fish, flaked (I bought 1 pound of frozen flounder, baked it, and then flaked it. It made approximately 2 cups.)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter + approximately 1 teaspoon butter for bread crumb topping
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut thin slice from stem end of each pepper. Remove all seeds and membranes. Wash inside and out. Put peppers in a large sauce pan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook peppers for 5 minutes; drain.
In meantime, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan. Stir flour, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce into melted butter. Slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly. Place a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of the hot white sauce mixture into dish with beaten egg, stir quickly. Then add egg mixture to the remaining white sauce, and cook for two minutes using medium heat. Stir in the flaked fish and continue cooking until the mixture is hot.
Lightly stuff each pepper with the fish mixture. Stand peppers upright in ungreased baking dish. Top the fish mixture with bread crumbs and small dabs of butter. Cook until the bread crumbs are lightly browned and the stuffing is very hot (20-30 minutes).
17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Tuesday, December 3, 1912: Nothing much to write.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’m going to share an old recipe for Oyster Fritters with you.
Oysters were a very popular late fall food in central Pennsylvania years ago. Even though the area is about 150 miles from the Chesapeake Bay—it is within a day’s train trip from the Bay; and shellfish, even a hundred years ago, were regularly transported into the area.
I have wonderful memories of eating Oyster Fritters when I was a child—and still make them once or twice each year whenever I’m able to find oysters for sale in my local supermarket.
1 pint oysters, drained and coarsely chopped
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening or lard
Mix all ingredients except shortening together. Melt shortening in a skillet. Drop oyster mixture by tablespoonfuls into the hot shortening. Fry until lightly browned; flip and cook other side. Drain on paper towels.