PLANKED WHITE FISH AND SHAD
Planking fresh fish, or, fish on a shingle, generally is an outdoors fish fry, where a great open fire is accessible, for feeding a large number of people.
However, in a 1897 issue of the “Ladies Home Journal” an article gives light to how 'planked fish' can be served to perfection in a small, modest American home.
Planking gives a peculiar flavor which makes the fish more delicious than when cooked in any other way. Shad or white dish is a favorite.
If one has a gas stove the method is simple, however, the oven of a Heartland or Blackwood cast iron cook stove of the 1920's fills the bill well also. Next needed is a 'plank' , one inch or two thick, and make sure it will fit the oven with the door shut tight. For best taste this needs to be Hickory,
at least make it hard wood. When your fish is ready, split down the back side, put the plank in the already hot oven, get it so hot you cannot touch it with bare hands, real hot. Put the fish, skin down, on the plank, season with your favorites, salt, pepper, butter, and such. Bake with oven door shut for about a half an hour. While the fish is cooking you may baste it with your favorite seasoning.
After the done fish is removed from the oven, be sure to have lots of lemon and other seasons to apply the hot 'planked' shad or white fish.
Source: Wilmington Evening News Journal, 29 March 1897. Article by Mrs. S. T. Rorer, Ladies Home Journal.