Caveat: I love fish and have been lucky enough to eat fish my whole life, so any book heralding fish is good for me.
30 years ago we didn’t know that there was, or could be, a problem with sustainability of any species. As worldwide consumption of fish has increased, in the last 10-15 years we have been made aware of over-fishing and lower stocks.
Ned Bell has been passionately raising awareness for a number of years, and is now Executive Chef and ambassador of Ocean Wise, a leader in the field. The cookbook provides us with sustainability guidelines for west coast species, and basic tools on how to make the proper choices, buying in season, storing, and preparing.
Aside from his work for Ocean Wise, Bell is known for his natural culinary talent with a creative range of recipes. There is a strong emphasis on how important seasonality is to fish, just as it is with market produce.
The cookbook contains a wide variety of Bell’s recipes, including burgers and sandwiches (“The Best Tuna Melt Ever” p. 104), chowders, and simple summer salads, incorporating the best of summer bounty and fish. The recipes are organized by type of fish, but there is also a handy “Recipe List by Course”. For those fully committed to using fish in every course you can make “Seaweed Brownies” on p. 175.
If we follow Bell’s guidance, it will allow us to continue eating fish while still maintaining their viability, so get to know the signs of sustainability and treat yourself to fish without guilt. This book is a treasure for those who love fish and those who want to know how.