Go Fish – Al Brown

Posted: September 27, 2013 in cookbook, Review

go fishThere is an issue with fish and fish cookery – you have to buy local. Fish species vary widely across the world and although recipes for one species can be applied to a similar local species, it’s a whole lot better to buy a locally published book. For example, a fish cookery book from overseas isn’t likely to have the interesting selection of recipes for paua (abalone) that you’ll find here in “Go Fish”. I didn’t come across “Go Fish” when it came out in hardback, so I was pleased to see this paperback edition. My only New Zealand fish book used to be a slim volume from the 1970’s and I have to say that this is a huge leap forward, even for someone who isn’t “big on fish” like me.

There was a lot to like about “Go Fish”.  There is an excellent selection of recipes, organised roughly by biological phylum – first crustaceans, then molluscs, the majority for “fin fish”, followed by a collection of handy go-to recipes for sauces, batters and the like. The recipes are presented in the style I recognise from “Fresh” with the ingredients listed in groups at the top, but they’re not as “cheffy” and there’s plenty that only have a handful of ingredients. All the usual suspects are here… fish pie, fishcakes, fish chowder, fish and chips. There are clear instructions with step-by-step photographs for all those mysterious skills needed to deal with seafood. There are Al Brown’s fish tales. And the whole is lavishly illustrated.

Which brings me to those little niggling criticisms. A picture of the recipe is an aid to the cook, whereas an arty picture of a piece of random fishing equipment isn’t nearly as useful, and doesn’t tell me what those paua fritters should look like. The index isn’t as helpful as it might be – try looking up “chowder” or “fish cakes” and you won’t find them, at least not under those names. That said, the paperback is well bound and it does sit surprising flat on the kitchen bench.

Overall, this may well be the definitive book on New Zealand fish cookery and it’s certainly an excellent reference for anyone with the urge to go and cook fish. Not a finny business at all.

Random House

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

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