Table of Contents
There’s a lot of free recipes on the Internet, but there are many reasons why you might prefer a cookbook. A lot of people find books more user friendly to read, compared with computer screens. A lot of elderly folk prefer old fashioned ways, like cookbooks, but you might be surprised how many elders are actually good with using the Internet these days. Some people have eye sensitivity problems with display screens, so it’s not exactly easy to print off a recipe on a piece of paper, if you have trouble finding the recipe on a screen to begin with.
Do you need to eat more fish, but you feel like an incompetent fish cook? Are you suffering from food fatigue, because every week you’ve been eating the same types of fish meals? That’s when fish cookbooks come in handy, providing you with so many choices and variations, on different ways to enjoy eating fish. With so many recipes in these books, designed to be followed by beginners and experts, your food fatigue will be kept at bay, depending on your time and money.
In the modern world, there are many issues which complicate homemade fish meals. There’s a lot more pollution out there, so you need to know how to choose the healthiest fish you can find. Another big problem is overfishing. Endangered populations of fish, need a chance to replenish their losses, and they can’t do that if there’s a big price on their meat. If enough people stay away from these “forbidden” fish, then maybe one day they might become numerous enough to start eating again, without the risk of extinction.
Mark Bittman Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking
This book is loaded with fish based recipes, it’s so comprehensive, it’s like an encyclopaedia on eating fish. Some people loved it so much, they bought two or more copies, and others have given them away as gifts. The recipes are simple to follow and can be used by beginners to become experts on cooking fish. From common simple dishes to sophisticated novelties for experienced chefs, with more time and resources on hand. The recipes are organized in alphabetical order, according to the type of fish. The book covers seventy different species of fish, that are common in America.
This cookbook is not just a list of recipes. It shows you how to select the best fish at the market. It also provides advice on how to store the fish. Various methods of cooking fish are used, even smoking fish. At least one person was disappointed that the recipes merely showed how to cook fish, without giving detailed tips on how to cook fish to an exceptional degree. The author Mark Bittman, even provides suggestions of substitute species of fish that can be used in recipes, if the reader is unable to use the default fish ingredient listed.
Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore Fish Without a Doubt
The author-chef Rick Moonen, owns a huge restaurant in a Las Vegas resort. His book is designed for people ranging from those reluctant to try and cook their own fish dish at home, to experienced chefs interested in finding some new ideas. The layout categorizes the chapters according to cooking methods. But you won’t find nutritional info, so that’s very disappointing for modern health conscious people. There are images on preparing fish, to help you do it properly, because a picture tells a thousand words. But some recipes don’t even have pictures. However, where there are pictures, they’re very appetizing.
Moonen provides special tips in his footnotes, for cooking better dishes, like how to cut the fish more efficiently. This is a big contrast from Mark Bittman’s book, which was quite the disappointment in that regard. He also likes to include recipes for sophisticated condiments to enhance his fish recipes. Like Bittman, Moonen provides lists of substitute fish in his book. He doesn’t have many recipes on non-endangered species, which are hard to find. And he doesn’t include endangered species, to help those species of fish to replenish their populations; so hopefully they can be eaten, by future generations.
James Peterson Fish & Shellfish: The Cook’s Indispensable Companion
The author James Peterson has provided over 150 recipes, for every way to cook fish, including microwaved and raw meat dishes. Peterson is a New York chef, trained in Paris, and specializes in French cuisine. But he’s a multicultural chef and has recipes in this book from many different cultures. There’s an interesting encyclopedia of so many species of common fish at the end of the book, providing a scope of information relevant for cooking fish. Peterson has opened up to providing as much of his expertise as could fit in this book, all for the reader’s learning benefit.
The book provides tips like how to tell the freshness of a fish in the market, and how to achieve more efficient cooking with modern equipment. Peterson even goes into such fine details like removing bacteria infested parts of a fish, to culinary expertise like which wines he thinks make a good compliment for a given dish of fish. There’s also recipes for many different condiments and relishes. Unfortunately the pictures aren’t included with each recipe of fish dish, but some images are provided in a mere isolated section of just 32 pages.
Becky Selengut Good Fish
The author Becky Selengut seems just as concerned about overfishing, as Rick Moonen. So she’s chosen 15 species of non-endangered fish for the 75 recipes in this book. These species are commonly found along the US Pacific coastline. The recipes are categorized according to the species of fish in the ingredients. Selengut covers a number of different cooking methods. Unlike Jim Peterson, her book is targeted for a busy audience. So she throws out trivial details, for faster and easier cooking. Experienced fish cooks can appreciate the recipes, and the book has been designed to also cater for domestic beginners.
Selengut provides you with tips on how to buy the best fish for your intended meal. Not just on what to look for in the fish, but also what to ask the vendor about the fish. She also provides expert tips. These includes teaching you new skills on methods of preparing and cooking, and even clever tweaks for the ingredients. She has very casual entertaining dialogue, rather than a classy-proud chef tone. Her photographer did a very good job of presenting the choices of meals in such an appeasing way, that it might even overshadow your finished meal.
Karen Adler and Judith Fertig 25 Essentials: Techniques for Grilling Fish
Unlike the other cookbooks which boasted of the variety of different cooking methods, this book is intentionally only focused on grilling fish. The 25 essentials are also 25 recipes. Every single recipe has a photograph of what the fish dish looks like. Surprisingly a lot of cookbooks have neglected to show people images of what exactly they’ll be cooking. Apparently people were strangely expected to sometimes choose a recipe, just by reading a title, the ingredients and a bunch of other words. It left a lot to the imagination, which might not have lived up to expectations.
Another great feature about this book is the spiral-bound spine. This ensures each page effortlessly remains flat-open on your table, without any tension that could suddenly flip-over to another page, or worse: cause the whole book to spring closed while your hands are covered with fish residue. That could cause an irritating run to the kitchen sink, then a rush to find the recipe page in the book, only to read that while you were wasting all that time, you overcooked the fish. This book doesn’t give you much, but for what it packs, you get quality over quantity.
What to Look For
If downloading free recipes isn’t for you, then consider what you need most in a cookbook. Do you want a wide range of recipes to choose from? Do you need recipes that use your local ingredients? Are you a beginner or an expert? What kind of cooking methods are you open to use? If you only want smoked, pouched and microwaved fish, then some cookbooks might not even have those. Do you need a picture for every recipe? A spiral-bound spine, might be hard to find, but it can help keep your book open on the right page, while your hands are covered in food residue.
The personality of the author is something you might not normally consider. If you can’t relate to the author, then it might be difficult for you to mimic their cooking effectively. Some authors are more casual and entertaining, while others might seem very academic and formal. It just depends on your preference.
Some of these books were written around the mid-1990s, which was the time that the Internet had just started to become popular. What that means is that they’re not so competitive against websites that specialize in recipes with the latest dishes for free. But some people prefer reading books rather than electronic screens, so for whatever reason, find a cookbook that is most suitable for you as an individual.