Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Fish Cookbooks Reviewed

Do you love cooking with fish? Find great recipes & tips for your nightly dinners or for special guests on the weekend with these top-rated fish cookbooks.

by Andrew

Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Fish Cookbooks Reviewed

Do you love cooking with fish? Find great recipes & tips for your nightly dinners or for special guests on the weekend with these top-rated fish cookbooks.

by Andrew

by Andrew

Any fisherman has a great story about catching the biggest fish around or having a wonderful time on the water with some buds and beers. While fishing itself is fun, we believe that things heat up in the kitchen.

With the right cookbook on hand, you can take your catch of the day and turn it into a delectable meal for you and your loved ones. If you are looking to improve your cooking skills, this review can help you find the best fish cookbook for you.

Various Methods of Cooking Fish

One of the great things about cooking is that there are as many ways to cook as there are species of fish. From baking to frying to grilling, each technique brings its benefits and challenges. Some great methods to prepare fish include:

  • Baking
  • Sautéing
  • Panfrying
  • Grilling
  • Poaching
  • Steaming
  • Frying
  • Smoking
  • Braising

Not only do you need to think about cooking the fish, but you also need to consider sauces, sides, and drinks to serve with the fish itself; an excellent cookbook takes all of these things into account and guides you on all of these stages.


How to Choose the Best Fish Cookbook

Cookbook Design

Humanity is constantly evolving, and so are our tastes. While there are plenty of older recipes that are classic for a reason, there is a high demand for innovative and tasty dishes that are easy to make using current techniques. Decent modern cookbooks design their recipes around modern ideals of taste, affordability, and sustainability.

Reputable Author

While the recipes do need to be tasty, the author needs to be trustworthy and knowledgeable in sourcing and cooking seafood. Whether the author is a famous and passionate fisherman and hunter or they are an experienced and award-winning chef, notable attributes like these lend credibility to the fish cookbook and make it worth a try.

Comprehensive Content

As we mentioned earlier, a high-quality cookbook should not just consider a run-of-the-mill fish species and cooking techniques. A good cookbook not only considers other elements of the dish like preparation, storage, sauces, sides, and drinks but also walks you through each step from start to finish.

Well-Illustrated

No-one wants to feel like they are reading a textbook while they are trying to cook a meal. A great cookbook has high-quality and attractive images of the cooking process and finished dish. Having an idea of what the dish should look like at various stages can give you an idea of what to aim for.

Ease of Use

Cooking fish is often considered an intimidating task, and a good cookbook should aim to clear these misconceptions while providing easy and accessible recipes for people to try. The ingredients should be easy to source in your area or provide potential alternatives that could work, and the recipe should be simple to follow. After all, being able to cook a complex looking fish dish with ease is always impressive on special occasions.

Price

In today’s world, there are many forms cookbooks can take; from e-books to paperbacks to hardcovers, it is easy to find the cookbook you want in the style you want. Another excellent advantage of modern times is the ability to find cookbooks sold online for affordable prices with easily accessible customer reviews that can help you get a cookbook with great value for money.


7 Best Fish Cookbooks Reviewed

1. The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook

On Sale Today
The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook: Recipes...
  • Hardcover Book
  • Rinella, Steven (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 11/20/2018 (Publication Date) -...

Our top pick for the best fish cookbook, The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for Every Hunter and Angler, has everything you need to prep and cook fish. There is plenty of good skinning and butchering information on a variety of freshwater, saltwater, and shellfish, as well as tips on cleaning and handling.

Often sent as a gift, The MeatEater has great images as well as easy to follow recipes of both standard and fancy nature. This book is great for those who hunt as well as fish, but even fishers can learn plenty from this cookbook. Some customers have noted that the pages warp or damage sometimes in transit, but you can swap damaged copies for a new one.

Overall, we love the tasty recipes and easy to follow the layout of The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook and recommend picking up a copy for yourself and sending a few as gifts to your fishing and hunting inclined loved ones.

Pros
  • Written by respected hunter Steve Rinello
  • Variety of fish and game
  • Variety of cooking techniques
  • Novices and experts
  • Kindle and hardback
Cons
  • Pages can arrive damaged or warped
  • Check the binding

2. The Whole Fish Cookbook

On Sale Today
The Whole Fish Cookbook: New Ways to Cook,...
  • Hardcover Book
  • Niland, Josh (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 09/17/2019 (Publication Date) -...

Our runner up for best fish cookbook, The Whole Fish Cookbook: New Ways to Cook, Eat and Think is a great quality cookbook that is perfect for any home or coffee table. Over 60 creative recipes await that use cutting edge techniques that are presented in a clear and aesthetic layout.

There are plenty of cooking techniques displayed, including curing, pickling, poaching, barbecuing, roasting, and more. The whole fish cookbook reviews praise its easy to follow explanations and impressive pictures.

Some customers noted that many of the recipes leaned towards saltwater fish and that some of them can be complex, but do not let that intimidate you. Overall, we love the wide variety of techniques discussed in The Whole Fish Cookbook and its dedication to seafood and fish.

Pros
  • Available on Kindle and as a hardcover
  • Written by acclaimed Aussie seafood chef Josh Niland
  • Information on sourcing, dry aging, curing and storing
  • Over 60 different recipes
  • Dedicated to fish and seafood
Cons
  • Can be a little brief
  • Mostly saltwater fish

3. Afield: A Chef's Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish

Afield: A Chef's Guide to Preparing and...
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Griffiths, Jesse (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Our pick for the best cookbook for anglers, Afield: A Chef's Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish, has won multiple cookbook awards and for a good reason. Filled with over 85 detailed and masterful recipes and great illustrative pictures, it is no wonder why Afield is so popular.

The author, Jesse Griffiths, is a regular award-winning chef and hunter that runs practical hunting schools and restaurants for a living. While this book is only available in hardcover, we love its pro local and sustainable approach to preparing and cooking fish as well as its handy tips for novice and professional hunters. 

Among the wide range of cooking methods, you can learn how to scale, clean, stuff, fillet, skin, and braise your fish and serve it with amazing sides and sauces. Some customers do note that Afield does lean towards South Central US animals and has fewer recipes than others on our list.

Pros
  • Award-winning book
  • Over 85 recipes
  • Pro local and sustainable
  • Great layout and detail
  • Rustic and simple recipes
Cons
  • Focus on South Central US animals
  • Fewer recipes than peers

4. Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking

On Sale Today
Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and...
  • Bittman, Mark (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 544 Pages - 01/12/1999 (Publication Date) -...

New to the world of fishing and cooking? Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking is our pick for the best fish cookbook for beginners due to its easy to use format and a wide range of fish species and techniques.

Available in hardcover and paperback editions, there is plenty of detailed information on food preparation, sourcing, and cooking. For those who are unsure how to handle fish safely, there is a handy guide with instructions on how to handle your latest catch in the field carefully and the kitchen.

If a fish that is hard to source or expensive in your area is listed, the book also lists other alternatives that you can use instead. While we love that fish has a range of modern and classic dishes to try your hand at, some are more complex than others.

Pros
  • Dedicated to fish
  • Over 500 recipes
  • Over 70 species of fish and seafood
  • Detailed information on health and safety
  • Has an easy to use format
Cons
  • Light on pictures
  • Not always beginner-friendly

5. Fish & Shellfish: The Cook's Indispensable Companion

Fish & Shellfish: The Cook's Indispensable...
  • Hardcover Book
  • Peterson, James (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 418 Pages - 04/15/1996 (Publication Date) -...

For those who believe that the devil is in the details, we recommend Fish & Shellfish: The Cook's Indispensable Companion as our pick for the most comprehensive fish cookbook. Step by step picture and text guides walk you through how to prepare over 60 recipes of fish and shellfish using both familiar and international cooking methods and flavor combinations.

Available in both hard and paperback editions, you not only have plenty of cooking methods to choose from, but also equipment and wine advice, sauce and side recipes, detailed safety preparations, tables, and timing charts, plus an exhaustive index and glossary to peruse.

Every step of the cooking process from sourcing, storing, prepping, butchering, and cooking is laid out in an easy to follow format. Preparation is easy, and there are both modern and classic recipes to try out. While this is all great, we do wish that there were more modern recipes to choose from.

Pros
  • Dedicated to fish
  • Varied methods
  • Over 60 recipes of salt and freshwater fish
  • International cooking methods and flavors
  • Step by steps guides with pictures
Cons
  • Some outdated recipes
  • Few new recipes

6. The LL Bean Game and Fish Cookbook

On Sale Today
The L.L. Bean Game and Fish Cookbook
83 Customer Reviews
The L.L. Bean Game and Fish Cookbook
  • Hardcover Book
  • Judith B. Jones (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 475 Pages - 10/12/1983 (Publication Date) -...

If both hunting and fishing are your passions in life, we would recommend The LL Bean Game and Fish Cookbook as an excellent option for hunters and anglers. With a whopping 800 plus recipes to choose from, many customer reviews praise the ll bean game and fish cookbook as a fantastic long term tool.

The LL Bean is both fun to read and detailed, utilizing both camp and home kitchen techniques to bring new flavors to your dining table. For those who are interested in the nutritional value of each fish discussed, details are surrounding its fat content and other mineral details are brought in. 

It is worth noting that this cookbook is on the expensive side and has older recipes due to its older publication date; however, we believe that there is still plenty of valuable information in this cookbook.

Pros
  • Over 800 recipes
  • Camp and home recipes
  • Discussion of fat content
  • Fun to read
  • A great long term tool
Cons
  • On the expensive side
  • Some outdated recipes

7. Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential Companion

On Sale Today
Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential...
  • Hardcover Book
  • Moonen, Rick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 448 Pages - 04/29/2008 (Publication Date) -...

Want to make fabulous food on a budget? We recommend the fish Without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential Companion as our value for money option. There are over 250 recipes to choose from that are versatile, simple, and entirely dedicated to serving fish dishes.

Written by award-winning writer chef duo Rick Moone and Roy Finamore, there is a comprehensive selection of healthy and tasty dishes that use techniques such as poaching, grilling, and sautéing. A fantastic mix of updated classic and modern favorites are available, and all of them are eco-conscious as well as delicious. 

That being said, this particular cookbook is light on pictures and contains some time-consuming prep – we would not recommend this for a busy family looking for a weeknight dinner cookbook. Star-studded writers, versatile recipes, and a wide variety of techniques to choose from all for an affordable price; it is hard to top a bargain like this.

Pros
  • Dedicated to fish
  • Over 250 recipes
  • Versatile and simple
  • Award-winning writer/chef duo
Cons
  • Time-consuming prep - not for a busy family
  • Light on pictures

Tips on How to Properly Clean Fish

Amazing, you have caught a fish; now you need to clean it. Here is a guide on how to properly clean your fresh catch.

You will need:

  1. 1
    Lay out the newspaper on the table and stand the bucket or bag next to it before you begin cleaning. The bucket is for guts and other disposable parts, while the newspaper will help soak up the excess liquid that will happen as you clean.
  2. 2
    Run the dull knife or spoon against the direction of the scales, starting from the tail and moving up to the head. Use a short, gentle scooping motion on the sides, top, and bottom of your catch. Rinse it off with clean water as you go to help remove any stragglers.
  3. 3
    If you caught a thick-skinned fish, it may be best to remove their unappealing skin by cutting a notch where the head meets the body and running your knife to the tail under the skin.
  4. 4
    Make an incision from the anus to the head with the sharp knife. Make sure the incision is shallow to prevent a mess.
  5. 5
    Using the spoon, scoop out all the innards. Check that you managed to get everything out.
  6. 6
    Scoop the dark membrane out with the spoon if necessary.
  7. 7
    Cut the head off just behind the fish’s gills.
  8. 8
    Remove the dorsal fin by cutting or pulling from tail to head.
  9. 9
    Rinse the fish off thoroughly with clean water, using as little as possible to preserve flavor.

How to Store Freshly Caught Fish

Once your fish is clean, the next step is to store it until you are ready to cook. We have compiled a handy guide to correctly storing your prizes of various species.

General Tips
  • Fish meat deteriorates quickly – kill it, clean it, and store it immediately.
  • Stress and bruising take away from the taste of the fish – kill it yourself immediately and handle with care.
Keeping Your Fish Alive
  • Using The Water Method
    Some ways to keep your fish alive until you are ready to leave the water include keeping it on a stringer in the water and putting it in a live swell or submerged mesh basket or net.
  • Using The Ice Method
    Smaller live fish:
  • Put crushed or flaked ice in a bucket – the rule of thumb is four pounds of ice for every 2 pounds of fish.
  • Fully submerge the fish in the ice as though it were swimming.
  • Space out the fish.
Killing Your Fish
  • Following the guide above, clean the fish and fill its belly with crushed ice.
  • Put the fish in the ice cooler.
  • Drain the water and refill the ice regularly.
Keeping Mollusks Fresh
  • Put the ice in the cooler and top it with a towel, saltwater seaweed, or newspaper before placing your mollusks on top.
  • Once you get home, put the mollusks in a colander and cover with a moist towel.
  • Place the towel and colander in the fridge for a maximum of two days. Make sure to keep the towel moist.
  • Always make sure that the mollusks can breathe.
Keeping Shrimp and Crabs Fresh
  • Shrimp
    Make sure to keep your shrimp cold on ice, layering them in the ice cooler.
  • Crab
    Stone grab claws should be put in a live swell rather than in an ice bucket to prevent the meat from sticking to the shell.Blue crabs should be stored in the same way as mollusks at a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit. An alternative method is putting the crab in a wooden bushel basket and covering with a damp burlap sack out of direct sunlight.
How Do You Know Your Shellfish Is Alive?
  • Clam/mussel
    Carefully open the shell and tap the outside gently or squeeze it shut. If the shell opens again, then throw the shell out.
  • Oyster
    If the shell is open, tap the shell gently on a hard surface; the foot should retract, and the shell should close. If nothing happens, throw the oyster out.
  • Scallop
    An open scallop’s shell should close tightly if gently tapped on a hard surface. Make sure to clean the scallops and eat them as soon as possible. If you need to keep them in the shell for one day, cover them with a damp cloth in the fridge.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long does it take to cook fish?

The length of time it can take to cook a fish varies depending on the species, cut, and method used; typically, it can take between five minutes and three hours.

Is baked fish healthy?

Fish, in general, is one of the healthiest and nutritional foods humans can eat. Baking a fish helps retain the minerals and nutrients inside the fish without adding any unhealthy fats or extras.

Where can I find fish recipes by chef Spencer Watts?

Respected chef Spencer Watts has quickly grown in fame due to his show Fish The Dish. If you are looking for a Spencer Watts cookbook all about fish, keep an eye out for the fish the dish cookbook or check out his website for his latest recipes.

How do I know if fish is cooked?

No-one wants to slave over a meal only to end up with food poisoning. A fish is cooked when it turns opaque and flakes when touched. Insert your fork into the thickest part of the fish and twist it gently; if the fish does not flake off easily, it is raw or not cooked properly.


Conclusion

While there are plenty of delicious recipes and handy tips in all of the cookbooks on our list, we would have to recommend The MeatEater Fish And Game Cookbook due to its tips, tasty recipes, and fish cookbook reviews.

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