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.
The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook
The Whole Fish Cookbook
Afield: A Chef's Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish
Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking
Fish & Shellfish: The Cook's Indispensable Companion
The LL Bean Game and Fish Cookbook
Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential Companion
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
2. The Whole Fish Cookbook
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.
3. Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish
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.
4. Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking
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.
5. Fish & Shellfish: The Cook's Indispensable Companion
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.
6. The LL Bean Game and Fish Cookbook
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.
7. Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook’s Essential Companion
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.
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:
- 1Lay 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.
- 2Run 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.
- 3If 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.
- 4Make an incision from the anus to the head with the sharp knife. Make sure the incision is shallow to prevent a mess.
- 5Using the spoon, scoop out all the innards. Check that you managed to get everything out.
- 6Scoop the dark membrane out with the spoon if necessary.
- 7Cut the head off just behind the fish’s gills.
- 8Remove the dorsal fin by cutting or pulling from tail to head.
- 9Rinse 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.
Keeping Your Fish Alive
Killing Your Fish
Keeping Mollusks Fresh
Keeping Shrimp and Crabs Fresh
How Do You Know Your Shellfish Is Alive?
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.
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.