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Fish & Shellfish: The Definitive Cook's Companion

Fish & Shellfish: The Definitive Cook's Companion

by James Peterson, Janet Odgis (Designed by)

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Every few decades a chef or a teacher writes a cookbook that is so comprehensive and offers such depth of subject matter and cooking inspiration that it becomes a virtual bible for amateur and professional alike. Author James Peterson, who wrote the book Sauces, a James Beard Cookbook of the Year winner, and the incomparable Splendid Soups, once again demonstrates


Every few decades a chef or a teacher writes a cookbook that is so comprehensive and offers such depth of subject matter and cooking inspiration that it becomes a virtual bible for amateur and professional alike. Author James Peterson, who wrote the book Sauces, a James Beard Cookbook of the Year winner, and the incomparable Splendid Soups, once again demonstrates his connoisseurship with Fish & Shellfish, a monumental cookbook that will take its rightful place as the first and last word on seafood preparation and cooking.

Fish & Shellfish demonstrates every conceivable method for preparing sumptuous meals of fish and shellfish, from baking, braising, deep-frying, grilling and broiling to poaching, panfrying, marinating, curing and smoking, steaming, and microwaving. Whether your taste runs strictly to shellfish or to everything seafood, Fish & Shellfish offers the equivalent of a complete cookbook on each subject. Within the chapters on finfish you'll learn how to prepare enticing recipes remarkable for their ease of preparation, their versatility, and their originality Here Peterson offers such splendid flavors and textures as succulent Stuffed Striped Bass with Spinach, Shrimp, and Mushrooms; crunchy Halibut Fillets with Curry, Herbs, and Almond Crust; delicate Salmon Fillets A la Nage with Julienned Vegetables; savory Braised Tuna with Vegetables; and fiery Thai-Style Swordfish Satay.

If it's shellfish you prefer, there are pages and pages of recipes for baking, frying, steaming, or serving raw everything in a shell, including mussels, clams, oysters, scallops, lobster, shrimp, crab, and crayfish. Peterson explains how to judge freshness and how to prepare shellfish delights, including lemony-flavored Steamed Mussels with Thai Green Curry; aromatic Littleneck Clams in Black BeanScented Broth; a simple and comforting Linguine with Clam Sauce; elegant Hot Oysters with Leeks and White Wine Sauce; rich and savory Braised Scallops with Tomatoes and Fresh Basil; Steamed Lobster with Coconut Milk and Thai Spices; Shrimp with Tomato Sauce, Saffron Aioli, and Pesto; hit-the-spot Sautéed Crab Cakes; and Japanese Style Grilled Squid, to name but a few of the brilliant and vast array of wonderful seafood selections.Fish & Shellfishalso offers techniques for preparing raw, marinated, cured, and smoked fish.

As you exploreFish & Shellfish, you'll learn not only the essentials of seafood preparation but everything in between, including how to make a curry sauce, which red wines to cook with, how to fry parsley, and how to make Vietnamese dipping sauces. You'll learn the secrets of a variety of coatings, how to blacken fish, add stuffings, and deglaze the pan for sauces, as well as discover the delights of salsas, chutneys, relishes, mayonnaises, and butters.

Here is seafood in every incarnation, from soups, stews, and pastas to mousses, soufflés, and salads. Try everything from pureed Marseilles-Style Fish Soup and Moroccan Swordfish Tagine with Olives and Saffron to Homemade Cuttlefish-Ink Linguine, and Crayfish Stew with Tomatoes, Sorrel, and Vegetables.

Jim Peterson has traveled the world and brought back the best international seafood flavors, textures, and techniques. Now you can improvise on your own with Thai marinades, Indian spices and condiments, and Japanese grilling methods, all of which play off more familiar ingredients to produce memorable dishes.

At the end of Fish & Shellfish you'll find a complete Finfish Dictionary, where you'll learn all you need to know about more than sixty species of saltwater and freshwater fish. There's also a 32-page section of color photographs that pictures many of the mouthwatering recipes in the book. And the step-by-step pictorials in the color section will show you how to prepare fish and shellfish for cooking.

James Peterson's books have been hailed as the most companionable and dependable of cooking guides. Replete with tables, timing charts, advice about equipment, safety preparations, a glossary of foreign ingredients, and an exhaustive index, Fish & Shellfish will give you the power of flexibility and spontaneity as it transforms you into an accomplished seafood cook. Here is a fundamental cookbook that you will come to depend on every time you think seafood-and now you'll be thinking seafood all the time.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Peterson (Sauces and Splendid Soups) has compiled a comprehensive, deftly organized guide to the preparation of seafood. The volume's four easily cross-referenced parts begin with cooking techniques and recipes in "Finfish" and "Shellfish." "Seafood in Other Guises" contains recipes for salads, soups, stews and such dishes as Ricotta and Sage Agnolini in Tomato Shrimp Broth and Salmon and Smoked Salmon Mousse Napoleons. "Finfish Dictionary" includes tips for identifying and cooking more than 200 species. The impressive range of Peterson's 150-plus recipes moves from the simple (Baked Mackerel with Mustard and Bread Crumbs) to the more challenging (Curry-Flavored Monkfish Croquettes with Pear Chutney) and includes the unusual (Arctic Char Baked in Salt; Indian-Style Sweet-and-Hot Seafood Chowder with Coconut Milk). Sidebars and boxes include tips for such things as taking the meat from lobster shells and buying scallops or seasoned vinegar for sushi. Charts for traditional ethnic dishes offer at-a-glance guides to ingredients, flavors, enrichers and garnishes. Peterson's authoritative, informal prose style blends well with the book's organization to make this volume a reference sure to please amateur and professional cooks. Also included are a glossary, source list and color photos. Homestyle Book Club selection.
Barbara Jacobs
There is an incredible amount of information presented here, in headnotes preceding each of the more than 150 recipes, in the sidebars, and in the step-by-step photographs. The dishes represent innovative approaches to old and new cuisines; information on necessary equipment and notes from Peterson's own experience round out this outstanding cookbook.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
9.25(w) x 10.87(h) x 1.47(d)

Read an Excerpt


I like to make croquettes with leftover cooked fish or shellfish, which I usually combine with chopped leftover or freshly cooked vegetables. The principle behind making croquettes is simple: Small pieces of cooked seafood are bound together with a stiff sauce, usually a bechamel, and formed into balls, patties, or egg-shaped quenelles. The croquettes are then coated with bread crumbs, deep-fried, and served surrounded with a tangy sauce-kept light to counteract the richness of the croquettes. Tomato sauce, tangy mayonnaise variations such as tartar sauce, and delicately flavored broths can all be served with croquettes. One important factor in making croquettes is a bechamel sauce that is well flavored with herbs or spices. With this in mind it's easy to invent your own flavors by adding herbs such as chopped tarragon or cilantro or spices such as saffron or curry. Cooked vegetables such as carrots or mushrooms also provide flavor and make the croquettes less rich.

Copyright © 1996 by James Peterson.

Meet the Author

Paris-trained James Peterson, an award-winning cookbook writer and former chef and proprietor of Le Petit Robert, has taught at The French Culinary Institute of New York and Peter Kump's New York Cooking School. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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