Book review – Fish: Recipes from the Sea

24 February 2012 by
Book review – Fish: Recipes from the Sea

Fish: Recipes from the Sea
Contributor: CJ Jackson
Phaidon Press, £29.95
ISBN 978-0-7148-6387-4

Coming from the celebrated Silver Spoon series - recognised as the most successful cook books in Italy since the launch of the original tome in 1950 - you know from the outset that Fish: Recipes from the Sea is going to be comprehensive and well-researched.

And indeed it is. It is packed full of information that will turn a novice into a knowledgeable fish cook. Each of the five sections on round white fish, flat white fish, oily fish, freshwater fish and seafood contain useful descriptions and drawings of the varieties of fish within each categories, while the final chapter on basic techniques provides step-by-step tips - illustrated by clear photography - on everything from removing pin bones from a fillet to shucking oysters.

In between there are some 200 recipes for Italian fish recipes, many of which have an icon, usefully directing you to the relevant preparation technique later in the book.

The recipes themselves are solid, easy to follow and ones that you know will work every time. Sea bass in red wine, John Dory with tomatoes and herbs and trout with almonds are dishes which you will always be able to rely upon. More flair is provided with the likes of cream of fennel soup with smoked salmon and skate with green herb sauce.

But generally, the recipes lack the kind of inspiration you tend to find in a book written by a chef or food writer who is keen to push the boundaries.

CJ Jackson, who has contributed to the book but has not necessarily written the recipes, is a food writer and director of the Billingsgate Seafood School in London and her scholarly approach adds gravitas and authenticity to the educational aspects of the book. Hence, I would recommend this book for anyone looking for an all-embracing introduction to fish and seafood cookery.

If you like this, you'll love these:
The River Cottage Fish Book Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Nick Fisher
â- Fish: The Complete Fish and Seafood Companion Mitch Tonks
â- Leith's Fish Bible CJ Jackson and Caroline Waldegrave
â- The Billingsgate Market Cookbook CJ Jackson

By Janet Harmer

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