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Charlie Trotter's Seafood Hardcover – June 1, 1997

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Charlie Trotter's in Chicago is rated as one of the finest restaurants in the world. Eating there is a leisurely and memorable experience because Chef Trotter is endlessly creative and meticulously precise in his cooking. He uses the best ingredients and says one should do as little as possible to embellish them. Does he practice what he preaches? In your dreams!

The simplest of the 75 recipes in Charlie Trotter's Seafood are for dishes like Olive-Oil Roasted Swordfish with Oven-Roasted Tomato and Black Olives, and the Slow-Roasted Salmon with Red Wine Risotto, Wild Thyme and Tiny White Asparagus. His more typical, and even more breathtaking, creations are often based on Hawaiian fish, like Steamed Gindai and Mussels with Lemongrass Broth. On the plate these dishes are all as artistically arranged as they sound.

This is food pornography at its peak. Every dish, as exotic and complex as a lesson from the Kama Sutra, is shown in gloriously intimate, obscenely alluring, vinaigrette-dotted detail by photographer Tim Turner. Ambitious cooks will appreciate Trotter's recommended piscatorial substitutions. Finding other ingredients, like bleeding heart radishes and shallot blossoms, is up to you. Not to mention making time to produce the infused oils and deeply flavored stocks often called for. The recipes are grouped, unexpectedly, by the wines best for accompanying them. Trotter starts with champagne and proceeds through 16 other kinds of wine, from white Viognier to red Syrah and Barbera.

If complex, original cooking fascinates you, here is the chance to navigate an ocean of new seafood ideas and culinary combinations. --Dana Jacobi

About the Author

CHARLIE TROTTER is the author of 14 cookbooks and three management books and is an eight-time James Beard Award winner. He is the chef and owner of the legendary Charlie Trotter's, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, as well as Trotter's To Go in Chicago. He recently founded C in Los Cabos, Mexico, and Restaurant Charlie in the Palazzo Hotel at the Venetian Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898158982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898158984
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.9 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am sure that Charlie Trotter makes delicious food. He probably uses exquisite ingredients, and he definitely plates the food beautifully. It might even be fun to eat at his restaurant (although I think I'd rather eat at Lutece or Le Bec-Fin). But certainly you would never want to cook from this cookbook. The food is ridiculously and unnecessarily complicated. I have nothing against difficult recipes, but Trotter's seem to be complicated only for the sake of being "original."

Trotter seems to be the kind ofcook who thinks that (1) the more ingredients, the better; (2) the more exotic or unusual the ingredients, the better; and (3) all those ingredients have to be listed in the title of the dish. Braised Sesame-Crusted Yearling Sweetbreads with 100-Year-Old Balsamic Glazed Shallots, Mango-Fenugreek Mayonnaise, Herbed Polenta, and Reduction of Norwegian Sea Urchin Juices. I'm just making this up, but this "recipe" could very well be in the book.

In the backof the book he has a number of recipes for "basics." This not only includes stock, vinaigrette, etc., but also Pickled Lamb's Tongues. Really. I have no problem with anybody cooking (or even pickling) lamb's tongues, but calling them a "basic" is absurd.

I actually had a Charlie Trotter-style dinner this weekend. Pan-Seared Galette of Calf Forcemeat "En Croute" with a Chiffonade of Cornichons and Spring Greens, a Triple Reduction of Spiced Tomato Concassee, and Oil-Poached Russet Potato Allumettes. It was tasty, but it would have been just as good if I called it a hamburger with French fries.

If you're thinking about buying this book, get Georges Perrier's "The Bec-Fin Recipes" instead. The food is at least as tasty (certainly more classic and harmonious), almost as beautiful, and vastly more feasible to prepare.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book. The pictures are stunning and the dishes are inspiring. That said, most of the recipes are terribly complicated for the home cook. Many of the fish are hard to get and regional; most of the preparations often require things that only a restaurant kitchen can feasibly do (i.e. tomato water).
Still, some of the dishes are approachable by the home cook and the if you are inventive, many could inspire you to come up with your own creations.
An added bonus (or potentially a distraction depending on you point of view) is that the dishes are grouped by the wines that would be accompany them - a novel approach.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
But I don't know why I say that...everything Charlie Trotter has done has been better than Perfect. Actually, I did find, I think 3, recipes that I probably won't try. All of the others are now on ml "must make" list.

Interestingly, the book chapters are named from wines, the fish & seafood aren't even named in the TOC. They are dishes to go with those wines.

A couple of especially good points: every recipe has a note of Recommended Substitutions. Some of the fish will be hard to source for one who isn't a restauranteur.
And the Guide to Seasonal Seafood chart near the end is invaluable.

There are roughly 80ish recipes - if I start sourcing ingredients now & make one a week, it'll take me about a year & a half to cook my way through it (as I said, there are three of them I'm not going to try. Some will be more challenging than others, of course.

Have absolutely no idea whatsoever where I'll get live baby eels, but that's one I'm going to have to do. Guess I'll start looking for the frog legs. I'm having a big party in June where they'll make great hors d'oeuvres. The very first recipe is for Smelts...but they've stopped running for this season, so will have to just salivate over that while I wait for their next season.

Who should buy this book? Either you're willing and able to put a lot of time and effort into sourcing ingredients and preparing them (and are capable of doing it and willing to spend the money) - or you want an elegant coffee table book. This isn't for the casual cook
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Format: Hardcover
The key here is you have to want to cook, not just talk the talk! Charlie's recipes are not difficult to follow. Substitutions are listed since many of the ingredients are unavailable or pricey. The recipes work well with any of the alternate ingredients and the flavors are intense. The basis are truly basis. Let's face it, pickling is just pickling. Don't be put off because he uses lambs tongue; if you do, you have missed the lesson. This a great study in culinary technique and I would use it with any beginner. It establishes such strong desires to learn and to try.
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Format: Hardcover
I can say that I am a reasonably competent home chef with an above-average knowledge of technique and most necessary equipment to get the job done. Having said that, I was impressed with the photos of nearly every featured recipe in this book and find the recipes to be admirably aggressive in their taste and texture contrasts. The recipes, however, are nearly all flawed in some significant manner in that following them verbatim will result in poor results. Even when this is not the case, I find these recipes to be "out of whack" from a taste perspective by any gastronome's standards and in need of serious tweaking. If you have good kitchen skills and seek to be inspired by the ideas in this book, then I would suggest it (USED!!) ... otherwise, there are much better cookbooks that will yield far superior results. I purchased the Charlie Trotter's Seafood and Dessert cookbooks and came to the same conclusion.
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