Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fish On!

It's probably not a good idea to try and write about cookbooks during lunch time, but our new seafood cookbook looks so delicious I couldn't resist. Rick Stein's Complete Seafood: a step-by-step reference with over 150 recipes and 550 photographs is exactly what it says it is - a complete reference. Winner of the James Beard Foundation's Cookbook of the Year award, this is a beautifully illustrated guide to cooking with all possible types of seafood. Stein is from England, and the featured fish lean heavily on the Atlantic, but there's no reason you can't substitute Pacific Halibut for flounder, Ling Cod for True Cod, and prawns for langoustines.
The chapter on techniques is especially valuable. Stein shows you how to escallop salmon, salt cod, stir-fry shellfish, make gravlax, saute fresh herring roe, make bisque, shuck oysters and tenderize octopus . He even shows you (in lovely step-by-step color photographs) how to prepare sea urchins.
The recipes are grouped by fish type, so if you find a delicious-sounding recipe that uses an unobtainable fish, it's easy to figure out what would be an acceptable substitute. In fact, Stein often suggests alternative fish at the end of the recipe. Can't get monkfish for "Roast stuffed monkfish with saffron, lemon, tomato and capers"? Try using thick loin fillets from a cod. This is a wonderful cookbook well-suited for people who are busily stuffing their freezers with the ocean's bounty this summer.

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