Meat and seafood cookbooks

Time Out reviews the freshest books for carnivores and seafood lovers

The River Cottage Fish Book

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Bloomsbury, £30

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‘What kinds of fish are okay to eat?’ is a question that many people pose and few are qualified to answer. Environmentally aware shoppers know that stocks are dwindling and that ‘solutions’ to overfishing, such as fish farming, also cause problems for the environment. So what’s a piscivore to do?

You could do worse than arm yourself with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s latest book. Written with angler and journalist Nick Fisher, it follows in the same vein as Mr River Cottage’s excellent ‘Meat’ book. This new work doesn’t shy away from the complex issues surrounding the fishing industry, such as declining fish stocks, pollution, fishing quotas, and fish and human health. It’s assuredly written and enlightening, even if it makes for depressing and angering reading in some places.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. The authors have worked closely with the Marine Conservation Society, which ‘rates’ fish from British waters on a sustainability scale, from one (eat more) to five (avoid). The third part of the book, dedicated to British fish, gives a MCS ‘score’ to each fish and provides plenty of background, such as fishing methods and other issues relevant to the species.

The middle section is more of a traditional recipe book, with methods of cooking fish and shellfish from the minimal (tuna tartare) to the complicated (stuffed conger eel). This erudite volume looks likely to become a much-used kitchen fixture for eco-aware cooks.

Susan Low, Time Out London Issue 1952: Jan 16-22 2008

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