Cook up fish dishes full of flavour
With many of us cutting back on our meat consumption – for ethical and environmental reasons – plant-based diets are on the rise.
But what if you still fancy eating the odd mackerel fillet, love your crab, or have a not-going-anywhere devotion to fish pie?
Enter recipe writer, food stylist and author of The Flexible Vegetarian, Jo Pratt, whose new cookbook, The Flexible Pescatarian offers ways to make the most of fish and seafood, while presenting veggie alternatives, side dishes and more.
Who will love it? Those with a pliable approach to being pescatarian or vegetarian; home cooks who have run out of ideas for what to do with fish and seafood – pescatarian or not – and need some inspiration; and those who may be afraid of cooking with fish, who ought to be pleasantly surprised.
What is it trying to get us cooking? Fish and seafood in all their forms, and for all palates (that includes kids) and budgets.
There’s a huge, comforting smoked haddock mac ‘n’ cheese, whole baked snapper with a zingy pineapple salsa, Lebanese fish kebabs with rounds of charred aubergine, a speedy prawn paella, a tart teriyaki mackerel, as well as numerous spiced stews and curries. Don’t expect plain fish steaks and rubbery prawns – there’s a lot more imagination going on here.
How easy is it to use? Nicely laid out, Pratt aims to minimise any fears around prepping and cooking fish (turn to page 166 for a full breakdown of what you need to know).
She’s also very clear on buying fish that’s been sustainably sourced. The recipes themselves aren’t wildly complicated, but at times, you do need to be hot on your timings.
The handiest passages are the ‘flexible’ additions to recipes, where Pratt recommends alternative seafood you could use, or explains how to turn a pescatarian dish fully veggie.
The best recipe is... the Cornish crab pasties – such a good idea, the classic steak option won’t get a look-in again.
The recipe we’re most likely to post pictures of on Instagram is... the Vietnamese BBQ salmon – it’s wrapped in newspaper that’s soaked in water, then popped on the grill. The whole process is photogenic.
The dish we’re least likely to try is... the home-made fish fingers. Who has the time when the ones from the freezer are so good?
Overall rating: 7/10 – the recipes are solid and reliable, without being too worthy.