17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
B. Marold has done this book huge favor by summarizing that this will not satisfy those who want a "basic" book on fish prep, but this will serve as excellent second source to take fish cooking up a notch as Emerald is fond of saying.
Yet these recipes are not all that difficult, likely what one might call "intermediate" in terms of technical difficulty and ingredient sourcing. Those are aided as well by clear glossary and definitions and source listing.
For some who have large cookbook collections with many seafood volumes, this will be great addition with its creative, essential approach.
What this reviewer enjoys is the wine suggestion as well as side-dish ideas, and when possible even fish substitutions.
The collection is organized around multi-dish meal, with appetizer, entree, soup/salad, dessert the organizing structure.
Those which have been most enjoyable in trials so far: Stone Crab with Avocado and Grapefruit Juice;Provencial Matchsticks (made with anchovies and puff pastry); Bay Scallop, Blue Cheese and Fig Salad; Poached Skate with Spicy Lime-Yogurt Vinaigrette; Ricotta Tortellin with Grilled Sardines; Foil-Baked Cod; Crayfish and Chicken Casserole; Mushroom-Crusted Halibut with Truffle Oil Emulsion; Spicy Moraccan Swordfish; Corn And Scallion Pancakes; Steamed Banana Baba with Rum Syrup.
Excellent gift consideration for discrimnating gourmet friends.
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
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`go FISH' by Laurent Tourondel and Andrew Friedman is one of those books which exudes promise from its pores, as it were. It has the very promising subtitle, `Fresh Ideas for American Seafood', the talented co-author who has assisted several other major New York chefs with their books, and complementary back cover blurbs from six of the heaviest of heavy culinary hitters. I will be only a little skeptical about the fact that all but Thomas Keller are French chefs with restaurants in New York. This `coincidence' is offset by the fact that one of the French five is Eric Ripert, who is a first rate fish specialist in his own right. So, if Eric is willing to pass some of his cachet off to our man Laurent, then I will take him at his word.
The book explains itself as a collection of recipes for only fish found in American markets (not necessarily in American waters) and as a collection of recipes written to be prepared at home rather than at a restaurant. That is, although Monsieur Tourondel is a seafood restaurant chef, these are dishes he prepares at home and not in his restaurants. So far, all of this sounds really great.
Tourondel continues to please me when he says that fish is really easy to cook. This coincides with everything I have read and experienced about fish cookery so far. In fact, the main talent you need with fish is to avoid overdoing it with strong flavors so as to avoid loosing the identity of the fish under a blanket of strong flavors.
Tourondel pays up on this promise by offering many dishes of raw (sushi, sashimi, tartare, carpaccio) acid-cooked (ceviche) recipes which are practically all about good knife skills and involve virtually no cooking by heat.
The authors offer us a great service by providing a chapter of fifty-eight (58) profiles of fish in American markets, almost all of which are also from American waters. Understandably, many will only be available in certain parts of the country. In eastern Pennsylvania, I have never seen stone crab, frog's legs, spiny lobster, rock shrimp, sea urchin, snails, Dungeness crab, or peekytoe crab at my fishmonger or megamart. The only seafood I miss from their list is abalone and terrapin, which are both in `James Beard's New Fish Cookery'. I will certainly not hold that against this book, as I would rather have two good books that do not overlap than two good books which succeed in the same areas.
Another introductory section gives expert advice on how to select and care for seafood purchases. This advice covers everything I have heard or read before, but with not much I have not heard or read before.
Thus, the authors seem to have succeeded with three important big ideas, all of which add up to a promising book for American home cooks. The next issue is whether their recipes are good and they have a good supply of little ideas to back up their agenda.
For starters, I believe their recipes are written in an especially good format. My usual preference is for numbered steps that make it easy to see where you are at any given point in the preparation. The authors go one better and give titles to each step. This is an excellent measure for making the recipe easy to follow, but it is also an excellent step to show, upon reading the recipes, how much work is involved in actual cooking and how much is involved in prepping the ingredients and the garnishes. In almost all other regards, the layout of the recipe text is first class. The headnotes are at the beginning, the notes about ingredients are highlighted with large type names, and almost all recipes are for the same number of servings.
An excellent last step to each procedure is instructions on how to serve the dish. Each recipe, even the appetizers, also include a wine selection which goes far beyond the usual. In fact, it goes so far that while the novice can use it, its full value may only be evident to a wine aficionado. These last two features make this book doubly valuable as a resource for dishes with which to entertain.
I am very happy to find the names of all the recipes at the beginning of each chapter. One can see at a glance, for example, that the book includes recipes for the traditional Manhattan and New England clam chowders, Pesto Minestrone, Mediterranean Fish Soup, crab bisque, and cream of cauliflower with salt cod. The editors should have taken just one more step and put the page numbers on the recipe titles.
With fish described as being so simple to cook, one may be surprised at the long ingredient lists and not trivial cooking instructions. The fact is that except for soups and plating instructions for things such as salads, much of the time and materials in many of the recipes goes for the dressing, sauce, or garnish. I looked at a few of the scallop recipes and found that the cooking in most of them was the same. The differences lay in the saucing and dressing. In spite of the somewhat long ingredient lists, I found nothing really expensive or out of the ordinary, as long as you are reasonably knowledgeable about world cuisines. Recipes originate from around the world, with a heavy concentration from France, Italy, America, the Mediterranean, Japan, and Southeast Asia (formerly French Indo-China). Many recipes even used water in lieu of chicken or fish stock.
Scallops bring up an important point. These recipes were probably written and tested with the very highest quality of scallops in hand. In landlocked Pennsylvania, all the sea scallops I ever see look more like scallop pieces laden with that stuff they add to keep them looking white.
An excellent second fish book, after acquiring Beard's book or Mark Bittman's `Fish'.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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Every time I want prepare fish for a meal, this is the book I grab! Last night I made the "Salmon Steak with Ginger-Chile Glaze." I was very happy after eating this meal. I made the "Sticky Rice" (also in the cookbook) and steamed broccoli. The "Red Snapper with Tomato-Ginger Chutney" and "Wilted Spinach" was sooooooooo good! I have probably made about 7-8 meals from this cookbook and have not been disappointed yet. The dishes are unique and favorable.
Included in this book is what to look for when buying fish. I always need advise about what to look for when trying to figure out fish quality. Desserts are not left out and sound quite good. I have not made a dessert yet but plan to make one soon. I like that included with recipes are recommended side dishes and wines. I usually make at least one of the side dishes. This book is fun to read and very well written. I would love to give this book to all of my friends(but probably can't afford it!) It is a keeper!
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Even though I didn't buy this book for myself, and I gave away as a gift, I browsed through the pages and wrote down a few recipes I've enjoyed following. I gave it as a gift to the seafood manager of a grocery store who has thoroughly enjoyed it, so if it passed muster with me (a selective cook) as well as the SEAFOOD MANAGER of a grocery store, I'd recommend it.