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on 7 January 2000
This is a wonderful book, scholarly, beautifully written yet full of practical recipes. Her writing shows up so much cookery writing as desperately pedestrian just go and read some terrible delia after this. The recipes even if they look strange can always be trusted she really did know what she was doing just try the scallops with gin. Every time you buy fish you'll look the individual fish up in this book and think which recipe shall i do ? Buy it !
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on 3 November 2007
Ignore the "it's too stuffy" comment about this book--it really is a wonderful, intelligent and practical book. With this and Alan Davidson's terrific book on North Atlantic seafood, you don't need much if any more.

And yes, herbs do play an important part in the recipes--it's just not nuovo Italiano of the Jamie Oliver school.
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I bought this book after hearing about it being recommended on A radio programme which featured Rick Stein. To be exact this was on the BBC radios Food Programme and when Rick was asked if he could take one book away which one would it be advise it would be Jane Grigson fish book. I purchased the book and isn't just a good read but is full of excellent recipes. The good thing about the book and the recipes is that the book is written in plain English and recipes are easy to follow and have no weird and wonderful and hard to get ingredients. It was therefore easy for me to pick through the book decide what fish I like to cook, find a recipe, by the fish, cook the fish, and eat it within a very short period of time.

I am a fan of kedgeree and there are two recipes in the book and Jane Grigson recommends that you eat these rather as a evening meal or lunch rather than a breakfast. I love the taste of rice and fish die will certainly be doing that.

The book does cover the exotic as well as the common. Rather than bake a piece of card you may wish to cook or prepare a softshell crab. The recipe and instructions are all there.

The book has been revised several times my version is one of the earlier ones. However don't let that distracts you this is a wonderful book we should be on everybody's bookshelf. If only more recipe books were like this rather than Jamie Oliver's offerings.
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on 9 April 2016
Simply a joy to read. While I do get some tips and ideas to convert to my own dishes, these pages are much more to me than that. For those who haven't yet discovered her façon d'écrire, I can stronly recommend any of Jane's, very comprehensive journals, full of personal accounts and lively anecdotes. I'll often read this as positive stimulation before going to the market. Enjoy!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 August 2012
Let me make this clear - those three stars apply to the Penguin edition in particular. This is a four or five star book let down by a really substandard bit of printing which makes it a misery rather than a pleasure to read. For this is a bible-fat encyclopaedia of a book, and the Penguin edition really isn't up to the job; neither legible enough nor robust enough for the kind of use this book will get. I regret not going for a second-hand hardback instead; at nearly 600 pages, you want decent sized type and a solid binding which will lie flat on the table. I have since traded in my Penguin edition.

Though this is a treasurehouse of things to do with fish, it is a slightly flawed masterpiece. It is wittily written, packed with anecdote and background, and will appeal best to the kind of cook who wants to know the theory and experience which lie behind the recipe. Some of the information is rattled through at a fair pace with little allowance made for the novice; in fact this is, all in all, a book for the dedicated and knowledgeable cook. There are no pictures and the recipes assume a certain level of competence - an introductory chapter does take you through the whole business of court-bouillons, beurre manie and clarified butter, as well as a selection of essential sauces. In places some diagrams would be really helpful, and today we would have them, but this is 1973 and it is assumed we can manage without them

The arrangement is a little confusing. Fish are listed alphabetically, and recipes, discussion and good advice for each dish assembled under major headings for the most important fish. But some fish fall naturally into groups, so sole, dab and plaice share a chapter. Recipes for saltfish come in a chapter headed "Cod, ling, coley, pollock, pollack etc"; quite a bunch. Cross-references are inserted at the end of major chapters, so at the end of the chapter on crabs, and before the one on eels, there are cross-references not only to dabs, but to crawfish, croakers and drums (!), cuttlefish ("see squid"), dab, dolphinfish, dorado and dublin bay prawns. Some of the more obscure fish (including croakers and drums but also the widely-available skate and sprats) are then dealt with in a separate alphabetical sequence under "A few words about other fish and crustacea". There is then a further chapter on dishes featuring many fish, such as bouillabaise, and another on "Caviare and other hard roes", though soft roes are dealt with under "Herring".

You can find the information you want, and there is a proper index, but it is all a little eccentric. Grigson is confident she has included everything; at one point she says "If you see something you've never heard of at the fishmonger, buy then look it up in here when you get home" - but perhaps she has got carried away in the drive for comprehensiveness. There is practically no mention of seasonality; something quite important with a lot of fish - mackerel, for example; and surprisingly little distinction made between freshly caught British coastal fish and those imported frozen from other parts of the world. Admittedly it is annoying when books assume that every reader can just nip down to the quay and wait for the boat to come in, but today one would expect some acknowledgement of sustainability and air miles.

This is probably the only book on fish the serious cook will ever need. It deals with fish many of us will never see in our local fishmonger (very useful if you move to the continent though . . .). The range of recipes is awesome, and I doubt if anyone would ever use more than a fraction of them.If you want something less erudite and more accessible, go for something like the Rick Stein ones. I shall persevere with this, and relish my education.
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on 20 October 2013
This covers preparing and cooking just about every fish and is thus rare. My only other recollection is a River Cottage publication which too is useful too and represents one of their better efforts.The writing by Grigson is as always excellent making it a good read too rather than just for reference.It does however cover this role as well and the book is easy to use and limited to what you need but with useful insights into the subject matter.

It should be on the bookshelf in the kitchen of all fish lovers and cooks. You will, in my opinion,never probably never need another book on fish but if you do check out River Cottage especially if you wish to make your own smoker.
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on 18 January 2016
A wonderful book. Forthright, clear instructions and lots of infomation regarding each fish species, and when they are at their best to buy. A great book!
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on 5 March 2013
I am pleased with jane grigsons book, the recipes are very useful and i am learning a lot about varieties of fish I had never come across before
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on 15 January 2016
A replacement for my previous copy that fell apart from over use. Need I say more?
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on 18 December 2015
classic recipe book
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