The Original Recipe
From The Virginia Housewife (1824)
The shad is a very indifferent fish (meaning it can be boney) unless it be large and fat. When you get a good one prepare it nicely. Put some force meat inside and lay it at full length in a pan, with a pint of water, a gill of red wine, one of mushroom catsup, a little pepper, vinegar, salt and a few cloves of garlic, and six cloves, stew it gently until the gravy is sufficiently reduced: there should always be a fish slice with holes to lay the fish on, for the convenience of dishing without breaking it; when the fish is taken up, slip it carefully into the dish: thicken the gravy with butter and brown flour and pour over it.
- Forcemeat (we recommend pork sausage)
- 1/2 cup of red wine
- 1/2 cup of mushroom catsup
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons of vinegar
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 6 whole cloves
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 3 tablespoons of flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Open the fish and pack in the forcemeat. The amount will depend on the size of your fish and how big you made the opening.
- Lay the fish in a 13 x 9″ baking pan with foil in the bottom of the pan. Add 1 pint of water and the wine, catsup, vinegar, and spices.
- Bake the fish until most of the juice has been absorbed. Remove it from the pan by sliding it off the foil to serve whole.
- Put the remaining liquid in a pot. Add the butter until melted. Add the flour and stir constantly until a gravy forms.