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Our series of seasonal recipes from Eliza Soane's copy of The London Art of Cookery continues with August (see also our our May, June and July recipes). Published in 1783 by John Farley, the book, very popular in the Soanes' day, recommends a variety of dishes for each month using foods that were in season at the time.
Having skinned the head, split it, and take out the black part of the eyes. Then wash and clean it well, and lay it in warm water till it looks white. Wash and clean the purtenances, take off the gall, and lay them in water. Having boiled it half an hour, mince very small the heart, liver and lights, and put the mince meat in a tossing-pan, with a quart of mutton gravy, half a lemon, a little ketchup, and some pepper and salt. Thicken it with flour and butter, a spoonful of cream, and just boil it up. When the head be boiled, rub it over with the yolk of an egg, strew over it crumbs of bread, a little shred parsley, and some pepper and salt. Baste it well with butter, and brown it before the fire, or with a salamander. Put the purtenances in the dish, lay the head over it, and garnish with pickles or lemon.
Lay as large a piece as you please of your fish all night in salt water, having first taken care to wash it clean. Take it out the next morning, and rub it well with allegar [vinegar made of ale], and let it lie in it two hours. Put your sturgeon into the fish kettle when full of boiling water, and throw in an ounce of bay-salt, a few sprigs of sweet marjoram, and two large onions. When you perceive the bones begin to leave the fish, take it up, and strip off the skin; then flour it well; put it before the fire, and having basted it with fresh butter, let it stand till it be of a fine brown. When you dish it up, you must make use of the white sauce, which you will find in the section on Sauces. Crisp parsley and red pickles must be your garnish.
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