Off The Shelf: Seafood Cookbooks

These four cookbooks cover mouthwatering recipes from the ocean, lakes, and rivers of the U.S. spanning across the country from the East Coast to the West.  Oh, and there's a little Japanese culinary tradition, too...thanks to a pastry-chef-turned-Sushi-Master from Mississippi!  Keep reading and dig in!


LIVING OFF THE SEA On The Island of Chappaquiddick

by Melissa Fager 

Living Off the Sea
By Melinda Fager

This is as much a love story as it is a cookbook.  Ms. Fager and her husband have a home on Chappaquiddick, a small island off Cape Cod, and this project is an ode to the sea and it's bounty.  You can feel how smitten they are with their surroundings as they live mostly off of whatever Jeff catches while they're there.  It's full of personal stories, reflections on the flora and fauna of the area, and mouthwatering recipes.  The photography is beautiful (Melinda is a pro) and the prose is best enjoyed in-between sips of Prosecco as you're tending to your fish on the stove.  This cookbook embodies summer seafood at it's best.  



by the crew of Pike Place Fish, Bryan Jarr and Leslie Miller

I'm particularly excited about this cookbook because it resonates with the core of who we are at Little Yellow Couch.  The first chapter is called "The Lost Art of the Fishmonger: It's the Connection That Matters."  We believe that we're at our happiest when we're feeling viscerally connected to an experience and the people who are part of it.  These guys totally get that.  They know their fish and where it comes from.  They know how to sell it and prepare it.  Oh, and they also know a thing or two about throwing it.  My husband and I made a point of watching the famous tossing of the fish between aisles and fishmongers when we were on our honeymoon in Seattle.  (If you haven't had the pleasure, check out this short video:


The cookbook really covers everything from how to choose sustainably harvested seafood, to stocking your pantry, to the ins and outs of prep, depending on your final plate requirements.  For the Fish Guys, nothing seems to be off limits when it comes to adding seafood to your diet.  Some of the chapter titles include "Rise & Shine," "Pasta + Fish = Love," "Paella" and "In The Raw."  But probably the best parts of the book are the diagrams showing you the proper way to throw salmon, crab and other fishy creatures.  This book is as entertaining as it is mouth-watering! 


COOKING FISH & GAME:  Delicious Recipes from Shore Lunches to Gourmet Dinners

by Paul McGahren

Since I've lived on the coast for most of my life, my seafood experience tends to skew toward the ocean.  But I'd be missing out on a whole lot of deliciousness if I didn't include at least one book on cooking fresh water fish!  In this book, Paul McGahren talks a lot about the fishing end of the culinary pipeline, (as well as the hunting side of things when it comes to land based food), but I think that makes what you're preparing to eat all the more tasty.  Especially for those of us who aren't going to don chest high waders and spend long weekends fly fishing, I appreciate knowing the story behind what goes into the procurement of my meal.  Along side the diagrams and maps of fish and their locales are simple and elegant recipes for all kinds of fresh water fish.  You're going to need a lot of napkins to catch the marinades dribbling down your chin!  


SUSHI SECRETS: Easy Recipes for the Home Cook

by Marisa Baggett

I was hooked (ha ha) on this book as soon as I read the introduction.  Marisa Baggett started out as a pastry chef and made the happy mistake of agreeing to serve sushi at a private party.  Even though she had never had sushi in her life.  Ha!  I knew immediately that I would love her if I met her and that she would be the only person who had a snowball's chance of convincing me I could make sushi, too.  (She explains her story and ultimately winds up forgoing everything for the pursuit of sushi chef greatness.  And her book would be a indication that she has arrived!).  The cookbook is broken down the way any novice would want it to be.  She cover the eight different kinds of sushi, which types are good for different circumstances (including kid-friendly, and budget-friendly varieties), how to plan out an entire meal, the ingredients and tools needed for the recipes and how to select fish properly.  There are also primers on sauces, condiments, making hand rolls and making rice (both the perfect kind and the almost-perfect-microwave-kind for those of us who are lazy and aren't ashamed to admit it).  Recipes include sashimi and ceviche as well as sushi and, miraculously, they actually seem attainable!  I'm having tuna roll cravings as I write this...gotta go....

xoxo Zandra