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Book Review: For Cod and Country by Barton Seaver

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For Cod and Country is a beautiful seafood cookbook that is organized by season. It features recipes showcasing a wide variety of fish caught at specific times of year combined with fresh vegetables and spices. It includes a special section called A Separate Season that is devoted to seafood available year round as well as offering information on healthy, ocean-friendly substitutes for popular fish species that are often over harvested.

For Cod and Country begins with an introduction that helps explain why the author is concerned about over harvesting fish and what it means to him and to all of us. He explains his thoughts on sustainable seafood and why we should continue to eat seafood in a responsible manner. You will learn how he cooks and begin to understand what to look for in ingredients to use when preparing your fish. He gives a great introduction to herbs and spices commonly used as well as pantry basics you should always have on hand. The information on equipping a fish kitchen is a great resource for those not used to preparing seafood. There is also a basic primer on fish, how they’re caught, how they’re raised and which ones to purchase and avoid purchasing. I really love the pictures in this cookbook. The detailed picture on shucking oysters and the yummy photographs of the preparation and finished meals are fantastic.

Each season contains recipes for fish that should be purchased at that time. The recipes themselves each contain a brief introduction, detailed ingredients list and easy to follow instructions. These recipes are not your average seafood fare. The way he combines flavors and foods astounds me. I never would have thought to prepare cured sardines with celery and walnuts. Not only does he present am amazing selection of seafood recipes, he has also included recipes for side dishes that could be served with the main seafood dish. The recipes are simple but in their own way a great addition.

This cookbook is a must for the seafood lover. While you’ll find basics like Classic New England Clam Chowder, you will also find many more adventurous recipes like Oyster Risotto with Butternut Squash, Creme Fraiche, and Fresh Herbs. These recipes will seriously tempt you to expand your thoughts on seafood and inspire you to include it more often.

My eighteen year old daughter treated me to dinner one evening and made the Dungeness Crab Fettucini and it was unbelievably delicious! We could not find the Dungeness Crab at our local stores – probably because it is a West Coast crab so we substituted what was available in our area. Definitely a must have cookbook.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.