Recipes from the Sea
Chef Books, £25
When you live on an island like Jersey, which is surrounded by seas rich in marine life, it’s hard to avoid fish, as Andrew Baird, Longueville Manor’s executive chef, can testify. Sheffield-born Baird has lived and worked in Jersey for more than two decades and in that time he’s built up strong relationships with the local fishermen and acquired his own depth of knowledge about fish. And in this, his first book, he’s sharing that knowledge with the wider world.
Ostensibly, the book is aimed at enthusiastic home cooks but because the recipes are based on Baird’s Longueville dishes – tweaked and simplified by Baird himself when he cooks for his family in his downtime – there is plenty in the book for kitchen pros to get inspiration from.
His 80-plus recipes include his versions of classics and bistro winners – the likes of lobster thermidor, moules marinière, tuna nicoise, provençale fish soup – which sit alongside many dishes drawing on Spanish, Mediterranean and Asian influences andtraditions. Check out ribbons of skate with veg and soy and sesame dressing, or red mullet ramen, for instance.
Baird has also included some great takes on underused seafood like cuttlefish, which is both cheap and delicious when cooked with skill. And his intro to the book underlines some salient basics of fish knowledge. Importantly, he reminds us that each fish has to be handled differently, with some species better used, like Dover sole, after hanging for a few days – contrasting with others, which need to go straight from boat to pan. He’s also got a word or two to say about how tides affect species catches (useful knowledge when drafting menus).
In its content, then, the book is a winner. It only falls down a little in its layout. The chapter indexing text is rather dense and occasionally the dish photography doesn’t precisely match up with the dish recipes. But the recipes themselves are clear, with cooking and prep times for each dish.
The chapter divisions are also useful, particularly the idea of separating warm and cold starters into different sections. And the appendixes have a glut of sub recipes for sauces, vinaigrettes, pastes and the like.
By Joanna Wood
If you like this, you might like these:
● Nathan Outlaw’s British Seafood, Nathan Outlaw
● J Sheeky Fish, Tim Hughes, Allan Jenkins, Howard Sooley
● Rick Stein’s Seafood, Rick Stein
● Recipes from the Sea can be ordered, for £25 + £5 P&P, from firstname.lastname@example.org (or by phone: 01534 725501).