A few months ago, I posted a book review under the title of “Pescetarian Bookshelf.” My review of Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food didn’t inspire a single reader comment, but that post is the second most popular post (of “all time”) on my blog. So I’ve decided to continue the “Pescetarian Bookshelf” posts, because my blog statistics indicate that some readers are looking for information and resources for following a pescetarian diet.
Good Fish–Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast by Chef Becky Selengut (Sasquatch Books, 2011) deserves a place on every seafood lover’s bookshelf and belongs, especially, on the pescetarian’s bookshelf. Chef Selengut advocates for seasonal, local, and sustainable seafood and champions seafood from the Pacific Coast. Here’s why this cookbook has a center spot among my cookbooks:
- It’s an education on sustainable seafood. The book begins with “Sustainable Seafood Basics,” and every section devoted to a type of Pacific seafood explains what makes the seafood a good choice, which season is best for eating it, what questions to ask fishmongers, and how the fish or shellfish should be raised, harvested, and stored.
- The book references “How-To” Videos. Chef Selengut generously includes links to “How-To Videos” for choosing, cleaning, and preparing your sustainable seafood purchase.
- There are wildly creative recipes. The recipes are intriguing, different, and approachable. For example, the recipe title for “Geoduck Crudo with Shiso Oil” seems, at first glance, to be intimidating. But this recipe includes only six ingredients, so I am game to try the recipe for this long-lived clam. Now I only have to find geoduck here in Maryland, which leads me to my next point about this good book:
- There are suggestions for “Sustainable Substitutes.” Since I don’t live on the Pacific Coast, I like that Chef Selengut suggested sustainable seafood that is local in other parts of the United States. Although I’m still on the hunt for geoduck, I substituted mussels in the above-mentioned recipe, per the Chef’s suggestion, and the dish was a success.
- There are wine-paring suggestions for every recipe. Although I don’t regularly drink wine with meals, I appreciate knowing what wines I can select if I’m making one or more of the recipes for guests.
- There’s an appendix with additional resources. Whether or not a published appendix is important to you, Chef Selengut gets big kudos from this reader for including lists of sustainable seafood resources–websites, books and films–that will deepen my knowledge of sustainable seafood. She includes, as well, “A Note on Eating Raw Seafood” and “A brief primer on why mercury and POPs should be avoided.”