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Bonnie Ruth

Best Seafood Cookbooks

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it does a good job of covering fish available on BOTH coasts . . .

There are more than two coasts.

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In the little Spanish town we go to on holiday (L'Escala, Catalonia if anyone's interested) there are loads of good fishmongers within walking distance. This year instead of doing fried prawns over and over again I thought I'd make the most of it and bring along a decent cook book to help me tackle the more exotic produce there without making a complete hash of it.

I remember one year I saw loads of little crabs for sale, about 1-2 inches across, and thought they looked interesting, and were dead cheap, so I bought a bag. Once home, I had no idea what to do with them so I just boiled them up and made an aioli. Out of a pound of crabs I think we had one mouthful of edible meat. I don't know what I was thinking.

Anyway, it doesn't have to necessarily be Spanish, just a seafood cookery book that will give me a few good ideas for what to do with the freshly landed squid or interesting whelks and clams that show up in the fishmongers occasionally.

Does anyone have any favourites? Something suitable for the keen amateur would be ideal. And based in the UK to save on Amazon's postage charges :)

Much appreciated,

Chris

P.S. Can anyone tell me what I should have done with those crabs?

I reckon Davidson's "Mediterranean Seafood" is the book for you.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mediterranean-Seaf.../dp/1903018218/

Botanical illustrations, names in many languages, cross referenced to appropriate recipes...

... and its an inexpensive paperback!

PS - Probably swimming crabs, (Spanish "nécora", Catalan "cranc", Davidson says) which he suggests using to flavour fish soup... :smile:

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I've gotten some great inspiration from Charlie Trotter's Seafood.

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Hey gang,

I'm on the hunt for a new cookbook. I live surrounded by amazing seafood here in Vancouver and though I eat a lot of it (mostly in raw form) I do actually love fish. I just never seem to cook it very often in my house. I do own a whack of cookbooks that have fish in them but I like things that go a lot more into technique and theory than 'just' a recipe. For example, River Cottage MEAT and Les Halles have changed the way I deal with meat and leftovers in my kitchen, for the better. Lean on recipes, heavy on theory is always more helpful.

Any suggestions?

I was eyeballing river cottage fish, but there has to be others (and possibly betters) out there. Preferably not too tied to one places fish (or at least, has a good substitution section!)

- pg.

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Dave beat me to it: I own, and love, Peterson's book. In addition to recipes, it's a good reference book, with descriptions of different fishes (and their many names!) and suggestions for cooking techniques. It's the first place I turn when I have a new kind of fish to cook.

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I wasn't a big fan of Peterson's book. When I needed to find a recipe for catfish, there really wasn't anything in his book that got me excited.

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I am opening a high end seafood restaurant and I was just wanting to find as much inspiration as possible... anyone know of the best Restaurant seafood books? I have riperts books and a couple of Nobu's. Anything suggestions from any cuisine would be appreciated!

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Fish is a protein best prepared simply to bring the most out of the ingredient. That said one book I turn to is "The Romagnolis' Italian Fish Cookbook" because I believe the Italian preparation methods best showcase superior product. Good Luck!

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If you can find it, Bluewater Cafe Seafood Cookbook from Vancouver for a sustainability-focused point of view - Chef Frank Pabst does a great job with his so-called "unsung heroes" as well as the more conventional species. I photographed it but I've also cooked from it, and eaten in the restaurant many times. Worth a look.

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there's also a new one coming out in the next couple of months by Paul Johnson, owner of Monterey Fish and supplier to most of the best restaurants in teh bay area. it does a good job of covering fish available on BOTH coasts (there are distinctly different varieties on the Pacific side).

I skimmed through it, and I didn't like that book.

First of all, its too focused on sutanability to the point that the other information and recipes get short shrifted to a certain degree. Its like what happened to Sunset Magazine, where the constant enviormental harping turned me off the magazine. This should have been a much better book if he had left out that sustanability stuff, which takes up a lot of room in the book, and used that space for other stuff.

There's a bunch of glaring mistakes that just jumped off the page- he continously mis-labeled fishes in the book with the wrong picture. You don't even need the ability to identify fish to spot that mistake because the book used the same photo of a fish for several different types of fish throughout the book. Also, he continues the oysters with R myth. At that point, I was surprised he didn't say anything about searing steaks to keep all the juices inside the steak...

And, then the recipes themselves didn't look that great themselves. The guy's a fishmonger, not a chef. If he had paired up with somebody else to develop the recipes...

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Any updates on this topic?  I've decided to up my fish game, and while I have a number of good seafood recipes, I realize that I don't own a central reference book on the topic besides Bittman's "Fish", which even he has distanced himself from.  

 

On the Peterson book that several folks have noted, the phrase upthread "I keep it in my car", from @memesuze twelve years ago -- well, that might be the most powerful commendation I've ever seen for a cookbook.  

 

 

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Just ordered Peterson. 

From my point of view,  the big issue is when to sous vide, Steam, broil , poach or grill. I have my own rules.

 

shrimp...grill or SV

salmon...steam , poach or broil

flatfish..pan fry or briefly broil

scallops...pan fry

halibut...SV

lobster..SV

tuna...pan roast

catfish...give it to the cat

 

 

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@gfweb  says it well though I do not sous vide. (not gotten into it) I think the main thread with seafood is "quick" (unless sous vide).  Seafood is my main non veg protein.  Heat levels of course vary.  I suggest experience as the best teacher.  I also have had many years good advice from my fishmongers.  Most of my fresh seafood is sourced through Santa Monica Seafood. When you ask a fishmonger where they source they are happy to share.  Full diclosure I went to school with the kids.  https://santamonicaseafood.com/

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11 hours ago, SLB said:

Any updates on this topic?  I've decided to up my fish game, and while I have a number of good seafood recipes, I realize that I don't own a central reference book on the topic besides Bittman's "Fish", which even he has distanced himself from.  

 

If you are interested in restaurant books then these ones come to mind:

 

Tim Hughes + Allan Jenkins - "J. Sheekey Fish"

This is a London (UK) restaurant specialized in fish. Style is classic (what you could find during 1900-1950), explanations are really good, recipes are solid and adapted for the home cook. Solid book if you want classic seafood dishes.

 

Nathan Outlaw - "Nathan Outlaw's Fish Kitchen"

Another British seafood restaurant. Dishes are modern and inventive, especially in pairings and composition. As for the previous one, explanations are really good, recipes are solid and adapted for the home cook. Solid book if you want modern creative stuff.

 

Shinzo Satomi - "Sushi Chef: Sukiyabashi Jiro"

This book was written by one that was considered to be the best food journalist in Japan. He made various interviews to Jiro Ono (considered the best sushi master in the world) and transcribed them here. Ono did not hold any secret and talked in full details on what he does and why. This book is not useful in a direct way (the difficulties to recreate his stuff are really high), but it's a great read if you want to understand fish as a whole and how to deal with them, how to appreciate all their nuances and respect them as living beings.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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10 hours ago, gfweb said:

shrimp...grill or SV

 

Now you can even sniff them.

 

 

 

10 hours ago, gfweb said:

catfish...give it to the cat

 

Seems philological, I agree with you and support you now.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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I grew up off the east end of Long Island and we really relied on local cookbooks like Seafood Recipes from Local Waters by Jacqueline Pell Tuttle and Catch 'em and Cook 'em and Hook 'em and Cook 'em by Bunny Day.  No SV in there but just good basic cooking.

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15 hours ago, gfweb said:

Just ordered Peterson. 

From my point of view,  the big issue is when to sous vide, Steam, broil , poach or grill. I have my own rules.

 

shrimp...grill or SV

salmon...steam , poach or broil

flatfish..pan fry or briefly broil

scallops...pan fry

halibut...SV

lobster..SV

tuna...pan roast

catfish...give it to the cat

 

 

 

Now, now...don't be dissing catfish. Properly cleaned, then breaded and fried, it's fine, fine fish. And smoked catfish is much cheaper than smoked salmon or trout, and tastes quite good.

 

I can't offer a good fish book, but I can give you my very favorite seafood dish: Crabmeat Justine, from the late lamented Justine's restaurant in Memphis, which was the finest of fine dining the River City ever offered.

1/4 cup butter

2 tbsp dry sherry 

1/2 pound lump crabmeat

dash of Worcestershire

dash of Tabasco

healthy squeeze of lemon

Hollandaise sauce

Toasted French bread

 

Melt butter over medium low heat in a small skillet, and add other ingredients except Hollandaise in the order listed, taking care to neither burn nor boil mixture. Put about 2 tbsp of mixture on a slice of lightly toasted French bread, top with a little Hollandaise, and run under the broiler until just lightly browned.

 

I can eat my weight in these things.

 

The recipe, and a few other Justine's favorites, are found in Memphis Cuisine, by Christine Arpe Gang, who was the long-time food writer for The Commercial Appeal. Should you ever run across this book, buy it. It has some wonderful classic recipes from favorite Memphis restaurants.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 2/1/2008 at 12:58 PM, Harry said:

There are more than two coasts.

 

Yup there would significantly be the entire large Gulf!


Edited by heidih (log)

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2 hours ago, kayb said:

 

Now, now...don't be dissing catfish. Properly cleaned, then breaded and fried, it's fine, fine fish. And smoked catfish is much cheaper than smoked salmon or trout, and tastes quite good.

 

 

Catfish used to be considered "muddy". I like the texture and taste. My even mainstream markets sell "nuggets" (not breaded - just the off peelings). And of course my favorite vendor https://santamonicaseafood.com/seafood/catfish

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