Last updated on August 22nd, 2022
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I love to fish. Just as importantly, I love eating fish… and just about all types of seafood.
While I still sometimes enjoy visiting my favorite local seafood joints or ordering take-out, I have found that I can whip up some pretty amazing seafood dishes (especially fish recipes for cod!) on my own with a little help from a few inspiring cookbooks.
I can tell you that cooking fish and seafood is one of the healthiest and most delicious ways to eat. I like the excitement and satisfaction that creating a new dish brings me. However, for many Americans, as it was initially for me, cooking seafood can seem like a daunting task.
Not to worry! I have put together a collection of 7 top best-selling fish and seafood cookbooks from award-winning authors, world-renowned chefs, and cooking experts that are sure to raise your culinary game.
They feature simple to more sophisticated recipes for a variety of incredibly tasty fish and shellfish dishes from coast to coast and around the world. You’ll find everything in these books from fish recipes on the grill to oven-roasted dishes with complete sides. There is also invaluable information including how to buy, clean/prepare and even store your seafood.
Whether you are new to cooking seafood or looking for new titles to add to your already well-stocked cookbook library, I’m certain you’ll find something on this list to satisfy your sense of creativity as well as your taste buds.
Let’s check them out…
Foolproof Fish: Modern Recipes for Everyone, Everywhere
Foolproof Fish yet is another excellent cookbook from the team at America’s Test Kitchen. This 2021 IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) Award Winner (in the Single Subject Category) features some 198 easy-to-follow, healthy and delicious seafood recipes.
The book offers up mouth-watering recipes in 7 categories: Everyday Essentials, Easy Weeknight Dinners, Soups, Stews, and Chowders, Sandwiches, Tacos, Salads, and More, On the Grill, Special Occasions, and Small Plates.
Some of the fish and seafood dishes you’ll find within these sections include the all-time favorite fish and chips, shrimp tacos and fish tacos made with salmon instead of the typical white fish, cod in coconut broth with lemon grass and ginger, shrimp and cabbage potstickers, roasted salmon with pistachio gremolata, and roasted snapper and vegetables with mustard sauce.
One of the things I like about this cookbook, and one that everyone can appreciate, is that most of the fish and ingredients for the recipes can be readily found in most supermarkets. There are no exotic recipes requiring hard-to-find fish or seafood that can only be found in specialty fish markets.
They even further simplify things by creating groups of fish that can be substituted for each other for situations where the preferred fish in a particular recipe is unavailable. This is nice, because how many times have you had to scrap a recipe because you couldn’t get exactly what you needed?
This cookbook is really more than just a fish recipe book. It really feels more like a complete guide with great recipes for the fish and seafood lover.
For example, the authors talk about farm-raised vs wild-caught salmon, breaking down certain qualities in each that affect the fish’s texture and flavor as well as determine how to cook the fish.
Also, within the fish and seafood groupings mentioned earlier, you will find group profiles and some specific fish/shellfish information with tips and how-to instructions on how to prepare them (cutting, filleting, etc.).
Foolproof Fish is a great resource for a novice just getting into seafood cooking or maybe someone with more experience who wants to try their hand at making the best fish taco recipes or even more elaborate dishes.
The Big 10 Fish & Seafood Cookbook: 10 Seafood, 80 Recipes, 240 Variations
Written by chef instructor and life-long seafood lover Terri Dien, The Big 10 Fish & Seafood Cookbook brings you 10 chapters covering 10 different types of fish and shellfish with 80 delicious, straightforward, and easy to recreate recipes and 240 mouthwatering variations.
At the core of her book are the 10 fish chosen not only for their tastiness but also for their wide availability, affordability, sustainability, and health benefits. They are salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, tilapia, catfish, trout, shrimp, crab, and clams/mussels.
Examples of some of the delicious recipes you will find in this cookbook include Tilapia Tacos with Creamy Cabbage Slaw, Roasted Salmon with Compound Garlic Butter, and Broiled Mackerel with Lemon Beurre Blanc Sauce, and Cajun Shrimp Cocktail.
A simple variation of the salmon dish listed above would be Roasted Salmon with Miso Butter. Each core recipe comes with two variations.
One of the things I like about this book is that the author really takes the ease and availability of what goes into the recipes. Everyone loves a great-tasting dish but no one wants to be running around town hunting down hard-to-find ingredients. With that in mind, everything you will need for the recipes can be sourced from your local grocery store, regardless of where you live.
In addition to the great recipes, The Big 10 Fish & Seafood Cookbook features handy measurement conversions/equivalents charts for volume, weight, and oven temperatures. I found these to be incredibly useful.
Finally, the author offers valuable advice on sourcing and buying fish and seafood, with practical tips relating to sustainability, nutrition, and health. Her background and experience as an instructor are evident in the way the information is structured and conveyed in this excellent cookbook.
Hook, Line and Supper: New Techniques and Master Recipes for Everything Caught in Lakes, Rivers, Streams and Sea
Hook, Line and Supper is another masterpiece from chef, award-winning author and avid outdoorsman Hank Shaw. Shaw has written a slew of acclaimed hunting and outdoor-themed cookbooks over the years including the highly recommended Buck, Buck, Moose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Moose, Antelope and Other Antlered Things.
Whether you are an angler who is looking for new ways to cook your catch or just a fish and seafood lover who wants to shake things up and learn some new techniques and terrific recipes from someone with an outdoor slant, you will love this book.
More than just a cookbook, the 384-page hardcover Hook, Line and Supper, serves as a complete guide to show you how to buy, clean, and cook a variety of North American freshwater and saltwater fish and shellfish with confidence.
The recipes in this book are all fairly easy to prepare and will satisfy both the home cook as well as the campfire adventurer with dishes such as Seared Red Snapper, New Orleans BBQ Shrimp, Perch Chowder, and Pike Cakes.
Beyond recipes and regardless of whether you caught it or bought it, the book also provides boatloads of good practical advice and tips on matters such as preparing and storing your fish or seafood.
In addition to the awesome recipes and great advice, I love that this book is beautifully illustrated with tons of quality color photographs. This is a cookbook that anglers and fish/seafood lovers will enjoy having on their bookshelves. It also makes for a great gift for the beginner or seasoned seafood pro.
The Whole Fish Cookbook: New Ways to Cook, Eat and Think
Innovative and inspiring are just a couple of the words that have been used to describe this book. The Whole Fish Cookbook is different than most of the fish cookbooks on the market today.
Whereas most of today’s fish recipe books focus on creating dishes around fillets and cuts of fish, acclaimed Australian chef and author Josh Niland wants us to start thinking about cooking and eating the whole fish, not just its parts.
In his debut best-selling cookbook, Niland shares more than 60 recipes using a variety of mostly saltwater species for cooking whole fish in a number of ways, including poaching, grilling, frying, and steaming. He also provides recipes for sauces and sides that complement whole fish well. In addition, he offers advice on buying, cleaning, preparing, and dry-aging whole fish.
The author writes in a clear and detailed style, and the book is full of useful illustrations and beautiful photography. It will enhance any cookbook library.
The driving philosophy throughout the book for the author is to maximize the fish’s flavor while minimizing waste. The whole fish approach is central to this theme and it permeates every page.
The Whole Fish Cookbook is really more than simply a cookbook, though. It is a deep dive into the philosophy of using every part of the fish, much in the same way that Native Americans once believed in using every part of the buffalo.
It is also a comprehensive resource for understanding fish as food, and the things that affect their sustainability, quality, availability, flavor, price tag, and many other aspects.
This is an inspiring cookbook that provides a new and refreshing way of thinking about how we prepare, cook and eat fish. However, it is not a book I would recommend to the novice or anyone without some prior experience in preparing and cooking fish. It can be a bit technical so you should have some base before leaping into it.
But for those of you who already know your way around a kitchen and seafood, this book will help you understand fish cooking from a “nose to tail” perspective and inspire you to new heights in the kitchen.
Sushi Cookbook for Beginners: 100 Step-By-Step Recipes to Make Sushi at Home
Sushi is one of the most popular dishes in the world, enjoyed by millions of people every day. But, if you’ve never made it before, the thought of making your own sushi can be a little daunting.
Sushi Cookbook for Beginners by Chika Ravitch is the perfect guide for anyone who wants to learn how to make their own sushi right at home. With 100 easy-to-follow recipes and plenty of illustrative color photos, you’ll be able to create delicious sushi dishes that will amaze your friends and family.
The book covers everything that the beginner sushi chef needs to know to make delicious sushi dishes, from the types of fish and vegetables to use to the preparation of sushi rice and more. The author also lists the equipment needed for making sushi, including knives and how to choose them.
The recipes include both traditional sushi dishes and even some non-traditional modern variations. The author also includes vegetarian options and gluten-free recipes as well as a section on soups, side dishes, and drinks, and another on recipes for sauces and dressings.
Equally important, nearly everything that is needed, including the fish, seasonings, and other items is readily available from most grocery stores.
Finally, the book offers some interesting information and historical background around Japanese tradition and sushi. This little book packs a lot into 192 pages and really is quite the bargain.
Good Fish: 100 Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast
Authored by Seattle chef, instructor, and sustainable seafood advocate Becky Selengut, Good Fish is a cookbook that pairs delicious seafood recipes from the Pacific Coast with concern for our natural resources.
The book is an updated and expanded edition of the original 2011 cookbook. Whereas the first edition contained recipes based on 15 fish and shellfish species, this version has 20. With the expansion, two Hawaiian species are included (mahi-mahi and Wahoo), and more recipes and related cooking information are added for wild-caught salmon and halibut.
This comprehensive cookbook showcases 100 recipes for sustainably sourced seafood, ranging from easy to intermediate preparations to sophisticated dishes that will impress even the most discerning tastes.
You’ll find recipes for wild-caught salmon (including sockeye, coho, and king), Dungeness crab, and Pacific halibut, as well as rainbow trout, sardines, and even sustainable caviar. Each recipe includes information on the origin of the seafood, the fishing method used, and the sustainability rating of the dish. Beautiful pictures of the recipes only further enhance this book.
The great recipes aside, what I like about this cookbook is how well it is written, with clear explanations and details, as well as helpful tips on buying fish and seafood including seasonal and harvesting concerns (farmed vs. wild). There is also advice on using sustainable substitutes and best practices for storing fish and shellfish.
You will also appreciate the handy terms and definitions section as well as the list of tools you will need to prepare your tasty dishes. Finally, there are even suggestions for wines to pair with your seafood dishes.
Good Fish is packed with delicious recipes and written in an easy-to-follow style and engaging, with tons of helpful tips and a dash of humor, by someone who clearly knows her craft.
No wonder this book garnered high praise from the Seattle Times and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. I have no doubt this cookbook will be a welcome addition to any seafood collection.
Fish & Shellfish: The Definitive Guide to Cooking Seafood with 120 Classic Recipes
Written by award-winning author, chef, and BBC television host Rick Stein, Fish & Shellfish is a classic in the world of seafood. In this revised edition, Stein presents over 120 easy-to-make and delicious recipes from around the world accompanied by mouthwatering photography.
A sample of some of the tempting recipes in the cookbook include:
• Haddock a la Plancha with Caramelized Garlic
• Grilled Miso Salmon with Rice, Noodles, Spring Onions and Beansprouts
• Portuguese Barbecued Sardines with Piri Piri Oil
• Lobster Raviolo with Basil and Spinach
• Singapore Chilli Crab
The recipes alone would justify owning this book, but Stein goes beyond that by making this a comprehensive cookbook that arms you with everything you need to become a better seafood cook.
To me, his advice on buying fish is just as valuable as the recipes. Here, he tells you that starting with the freshest fish you can buy is crucial to any dish. He then tells you specifically what to look for when buying fish with emphasis on 6 key areas for signs of quality: eyes, skin, fins, gills, smell, and feel.
The author goes on to talk about buying farmed fish and gives you tips on how to make the best selection should you choose to go with farmed over wild-caught fish. Additionally, he gives his advice on how to select the best and freshest fish fillets, since they have fewer quality indicators than whole fish, and also addresses fish storage.
Stein also dispenses advice and tips for buying crustaceans, prawns, and live shellfish with instructions on cleaning and storing shellfish. The section on essential seafood kitchen equipment and ingredients comes in very handy as well.
Equally as impressive as the recipes and advice in this book are the more than 60 techniques and instructions that Stein gives for cleaning and preparing seafood. He offers step-by-step instructions for scaling, gutting, and filleting fish of various sizes and shapes with helpful illustrations.
Fish & Shellfish is one of the best cookbooks ever written on the subject of selecting, preparing, and cooking seafood. It belongs in any serious seafood recipe library.
Grab Your Aprons and Let’s Get Cooking!
Well, there you are, friends. I hope that at least one of the 7 outstanding titles on this list gives you some food for thought or, better yet, inspires new creativity in the kitchen. Bon appétit!
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