Most helpful positive review
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Resource, No Matter Where You Live!
on May 13, 2012
I must be honest, I love just about everything I read that has been put out by the River Cottage group. That being said, I felt the need to boost the rating on this because of the mis-information in a two-star review that might scare individuals away from this wonderful resource. The prior review seemed to imply that this was an "England only" book and I can assure you as a midwestern-dwelling American, I found this book to be great. Then again, I don't rely on the meager pickings of flash-frozen fish fillets at the local mega-mart for my fish needs.
I should mention these supposed "exotic" fish - lots of Mackerel, Black Bass, Sole and let's not forget the crafty crab or the sneaky salmon! Yes, there are things you've likely not heard of state-side on a regular basis, but the book offers plenty of substitutions. A recipe for "Breaded plaice fillets with tartar sauce" indicates you can use Pollock, Whiting, Pouting, Megrim, Witch or Flounder - I can readily find 3 of those at no less than 3 stores within 10 minutes of my house on a regular basis, and one of those in the frozen fillet section of all of mega-marts! The book focuses on sustainability and will want you to source from fish mongers whenever possible. If you lack a fish monger, a Whole Foods will be a terrific resource. If you're still unsure, a better mega-mart will order-in fish for you at the seafood counter if you simply ask.
This is not just a counter-review. This is also to ensure that like all the other books before it, this follows the River Cottage formula not only of excellent, simple recipes and beautiful photography, but of instilling a background in education as well. Not only does this include how to shop for fish, but how to catch and fillet your own fish. There is even acknowledgement of frozen seafood - something it seems many cookbooks like to pretend don't exist when it is so prevalent. There are also detailed photographs of all the fish mentioned, along with alternative names they're marketed under, their sustainability ratings, seasons (which are based on where they're caught) and their fish-family. So that crafty witch fish? You'll find that it's in the sole family (it even has the same diet as Dover Sole) and attempts have been made to sell them under the names "Rockall Sole" and "Torbay Sole." And if you substitute Dover Sole instead? Well, the notes will tell you that witch tastes more delicate, but is still fully interchangeable in recipes.
By all means, this is an excellent resource.