Rick Stein confesses that, following the world-wide peregrinations of his Seafood Odyssey
, the prospect of a seafood tour of the coasts of the United Kingdom and Eire seemed humdrum. That he was completely wrong is shown triumphantly by the resulting Seafood Lover's Guide
, an account of the fish and shellfish harvested around the coast, where to buy it and how to cook it and eat it. This book will be for many readers an eye-opener in the richness and variety of the country's seafood. Starting from his home in the west country, Stein travels the length of a coastline "of matchless beauty", talking to fishermen, suppliers and cooks. He skilfully maintains a very delicate balance between a chef's enthusiasm for the product, as it were, on the one hand, and a proper dismay at the state of the fisheries after decades of thoughtless over-fishing. Yet the overall mood is optimistic, as he meets so many people who care so passionately about the fruits of the sea. Each regional section contains a choice selection of Stein recipes, some local, some modified, some unapologetically foreign, all expertly crafted (of course) and delicious, all designed to show off the superlative quality of the seafood. Representative highlights might include Gurnard Fillets with a Potato, Garlic and Saffron Broth, Split Herrings with a Caper and Fresh Tomato Salsa, Seafood and White Bean Cassoulet with Salt Cod, Garlic and Toulouse Sausage, and the exquisitely simple Halibut Poached in Olive Oil with Cucumber and Dill. Regional listings of seafood restaurants, fish and chip establishments, fishmongers, seafood suppliers and smokers add further value to this very classy production. --Robin Davidson
From Publishers Weekly
In this beautiful full-color cookbook, British seafood expert Stein delves into the many wonders of the United Kingdom's fish. Interspersed among the recipes are restaurant suggestions, lush photographs and the stories of those who make their livings from the waters around Britain: fishermen, lobstermen, restaurateurs and fishmongers. Their stories underline the dangers of overfishing in U.K. waters while documenting the decline of the independent fisherman's way of life. Despite the veddy Britishness of this cookbook, several of Stein's recipes are easy to follow no matter what side of the Atlantic one lives on: Devilled Mackerel with Mint and Tomato Salad, Stir-Fried Clams with Garlic and Ginger, and Poached Haddock with Mussels, Spinach and Chervil are a few examples. Likewise, the Salmon en Croute with Currants and Ginger is easy and elegant, although the recipe does ask that home cooks seek out a fillet that originated "behind the gut cavity of a 3-4 kg (7-9 pound) fish." Other recipes, however, like Gurnard Fillets with a Potato, Garlic and Saffron Broth involve fish unlikely to be found at an American fishmonger's, and the "American" alternative offered at the chart in the back of the book can occasionally be just as esoteric. Recipes like Salt Ling, Tomato, and Potato Pasties employ dried salt fish-perhaps a bit briny for the American palate-and Kedgeree of Arbroath Smokies, which Stein includes in his "classics" section, may also be a bit too foreign. As a chronicle of British seafood in all its glory, this book succeeds terrifically, but as a recipe collection for the American home cook, it doesn't fare nearly as well. However, the pictures are so pretty and the writing is so engaging that perhaps the book's practicality might just be beside the point.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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