Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Fish and seafood! Those whom indulge in fishing as a sport will tell you that there is nothing as nice as cooking the fish that you have caught yourself. In Nick's and Hugh's very big book, The River Cottage Fish Book, not only do you get a sense of the enjoyment from fishing, you are taken through everything fishy from politics of fishing, preparing and cooking through to hundreds of delicious recipes.
The book is over 600 pages long, and some sections will not suit everyone. I found the section on the Common Fisheries Policy interesting, but others won't. The real meat of this book, though, is about fishing, preparing your catch and cooking the seafood. I dare say that avid fishing enthusiast will read every section of the book with glee. If not so keen on the science and politics of fish, then you can skip to a section that does interest you. One thing I do like is that fact that if they talk about something in a recipe, they will reference it properly, meaning you can just read what is needed.
The first part of the book covers Understanding Fish. Within, you will find chapters on: Fish As Food, Sourcing Fish (with the section of fish politics), Fish Skills and Shellfish Skills. The last two chapters are well worth a read, even if you think you know everything to do with dispatching, scaling, gutting and preparing your fish.
The next part is Fish Cookery. With Hugh and Nick so passionate about fish, I was keen to leaf through the vast list of recipes. Anyone that likes fish will find this part fascinating. There are chapters on Raw, Salted and Marinated Fish, Smoked (both hot and cold), Open-fire Cooking, Baked and Grilled Fish, Soups, Stews and Poaching, Shallow and Deep Frying, Cold Fish and Salad and Fish Thrift and Standbys. As can be seen from the range of subjects, the guys have recipes to suit any taste and style. Additionally, each chapter introduces the subject, provides background information and guides.
The final part is British Fish. While this part is British-centric, the book is suitable for anyone who loves fishing. There are chapters on Sea Fish, Freshwater Fish and Shellfish. Once again, I find the level of information to be excellent. I can understand why the book took so long to write.
As I have stated, I think this is an excellent book. It is not just aimed at the fishing enthusiast, it is also suitable to anyone who loves cooking and eating fish and seafood. It will become indispensable as a reference to all things 'Fish.'