Thursday, July 7, 2016

Historical Food Fortnightly 2016, Challenge No. 10: Breakfast Foods

The Challenge:
10. Breakfast Foods (May 6 - May 19) It’s simple - make a breakfast dish. Get creative, but make sure to provide your documentation for its place at the breakfast table!

If the fellow foodies will remember, I've set an additional challenge to interpret dishes that are listed as served at the 80th Anniversary Dinner of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. While this dinner menu isn't for breakfast, a few items would be just as welcome to start the day as to end it on a high note.
In Eliza Leslie's The Lady's Receipt Book we read of shad suggested in several breakfast menus.
Delmonico's served grilled shad with a white wine sauce for the fish course at our Anniversary Dinner. So, this challenge will present two preparations of grilled white bass, one to start the day and one to end it.
American Shad is on the protected list and restoration of the Virginia shad populations is on-going. Read more about it here.  The Cook's Thesaurus suggests freshwater bass is a nice substitute.

The Recipe:
From: Directions For Cookery by Eliza Leslie, 1840
To Broil Shad

Split and wash the shad, and afterwards dry it in a cloth. Season it with salt and pepper. Have ready a bed of clear bright coals. Grease your gridiron well, and as soon as it is hot lay the shad upon it, and broil it for about a quarter of an hour or more, according to the thickness. Butter it well, and send it to table. You may serve with it melted butter in a sauce-boat.
Or you may cut it into three pieces and broil it without splitting. It will then, of course, require a longer time. If done in this manner, send it to table with melted butter poured over it.


Wine Sauce
Have ready some rich thick melted or drawn butter, and the moment you take it from the fire, stir in two large glasses of white wine, two table-spoonfuls of powdered white sugar, and powdered nutmeg. Serve it up with plum pudding, or any sort of boiled pudding that is made of a batter.

The Date/Year and Region: 
Early to middle 19th century, Mid Atlantic United States

How Did You Make It:
Grease the pan well and lay the fish skin up.
Broil 10 minutes.

Remove skin and bones.
Prepare butter sauce and white wine sauce.

Time to Complete: 
20 minutes, dependent on the size of your fish and the fillet.

Total Cost: 
$8.00 for the fish

How Successful Was It: 
It was incredibly tasty and hey, I got to make fresh fish... with the bones and everything. :-p

How Accurate Was It: 
I think the wine sauce was not meant for fish, so it was sweet and better suited to the puddings suggested. I'll need to keep looking for a wine sauce meant for fish from this era.
At best, call it an inspiration.

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