Hitherto, the contents of Rick Stein's Seafood
have been accessible only to students of the Padstow Seafood School, as course notes in a loose-leaf binder. Now the teachings of this remarkable establishment are made available to a wider public, in amply illustrated form at once lucid and sumptuous. This is both a technical manual and an extraordinarily comprehensive collection of recipes; and the tone throughout is correspondingly sober and professional. The first hundred pages cover technique--not just cooking seafood, but buying and preparing it, too--in great thoroughness, from scaling and gutting fish, skinning eels (requiring a butcher's hook and a pair of pliers, if you can face it), through deep-frying, poaching, steaming, grilling, to opening oysters and tenderising octopus (not, as you might suppose, by bashing it repeatedly against a rock, but in the oven).
The recipes group fish not just by species, but by shape: large fleshy fish, flat fish, small round fish, crustaceans and so on--a sensible approach, since within these categories the fish are to an extent interchangeable. Austerely, the recipes are neither prefaced with an introductory blurb nor sourced, but they are of the most distinguished provenance. Salmon en Croute with Currants and Ginger, for example is a famous George Perry-Smith recipe; the neighbouring Escalopes of Salmon with Sorrel Sauce derives from the Triosgros brother; while the interestingly strange Pernod and olive oil dressing with which Stein anoints grilled Dublin Bay prawns comes from Alexandre Dumas by way of Elizabeth David (it also includes mustard, soy sauce and tarragon). This is not to accuse Stein of plagiarism: he has simply collected the very finest seafood recipes and filtered everything through his characteristic simplicity and emphasis on freshness, quality and flavour. The result is a book of quite exceptional quality and usefulness. One hesitates to use the word bible, but if seafood can have one, this may be it. --Robin Davidson
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A comprensive sea map which should be test-driven by the flotillas of fish-cooking-phobics I encounter regularly. The step-by-step photographs are startlingly clear about the process, from skinning an eel to preparing and filleting." (Tamsin Day-Lewis Daily Telegraph
"Could be subtitled "Everything You Wanted to Know About Seafood but Were Afraid to Ask"... this book reveals Stein's hidden depths: he really does know a hell of a lot about fish." (Time Out
"His repertoire of recipe books, restaurants and television programmes - not to mention an inexhaustible knowledge and infectious passion for the subject - have all helped him bring fish to the culinary forefront in the UK." (Daily Express
"For me he is the nonpareil telly chef because he always makes me drool like a slobberhound... Stein is like a plateful of smoked haddock, poached egg and mashed potatoes, a combination that it both unbeatably satisfying and fun." (Kathryn Flett Observer Food Monthly