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BOOKSHELF: Seafood cookbooks for the NW kitchen

Jun 6th, 2012 | Category: Books

by Jessamyn Tuttle

Ever find yourself at your local fish market, wondering what to do with all those different kinds of seafood? Many cookbooks call for fish that simply aren’t available on the West Coast, or that we now know to be unsustainable choices. Fortunately there are some great books available that address the seafood options we actually have here in the Northwest.


An excellent introduction to the most common types of seafood is Fish on a First-Name Basis by Rob DeBorde. While not West Coast-specific, this informative and funny book explains why Patagonian Toothfish is sold as Chilean Sea Bass (and why you probably shouldn’t buy it), why Mahimahi is perfect for tacos, and why Dungeness crab is better than blue crab. He tells you where your fish comes from, how it’s caught, and what to do with it in the kitchen, accompanied by lots of cartoons, trivia and silly puns.

A reference for those of us who are tired of adapting recipes from chefs who seem to think that everyone cooks with Atlantic species is West Coast Seafood by Jay Harlow. This is a real go-to book for seafood, with its clear explanation of cooking methods to suit each fish.

Good Fish by Seattle chef Becky Selengut is another great book. Beautifully photographed by Clare Barboza, it explains sustainable seafood eating in the Northwest. For each of the 15 different types of fish addressed, Selengut explains when and how to buy it and presents well-chosen recipes that reflect her past experience as fish cook at the Herbfarm. Wine pairings for each recipe are a bonus.

Any of these books can help you make good choices at the fish market, as well as giving some great ideas for what to make for dinner.

Published in the June 2012 issue of Grow Northwest magazine

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