A pair of chopsticks being used to stir scallops being cooked over firewood

2022‘s Top Seafood Cookbook: A Kitchen Essential

Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.

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Cooking seafood isn’t about simply throwing a pre-filleted sea bass into some garlic and butter, even though it tastes delicious. 

There are hundreds of species around the world that every seafood lover should taste and even more recipes to go with them.

But to be brave enough to attempt clam chowder, oyster stew, and barbequed scallop recipes, you’ll need to understand a lot more than how to cook them.

Creating delicious sea food comes down to understanding shellfish and fish, their tastes, picking the freshest ingredients, preparing it properly, and cooking it well.

There’s a lot of information to get to grips with in order to make the most out of food fresh from the ocean. 

Creating delicious sea food comes down to understanding shellfish and fish…

Only the best seafood cookbook will give seafood lovers the information they need to create these incredible meals such as scallop recipes in their home kitchen. 

The Best Cookbooks From The Review

Here’s a look at some of the best cookbooks from this review:

Top Pick

The

The Seafood Cookbook: Classic to Contemporary

This is one of the best seafood books you can own to get you eating fish in a quick, easy, and exciting way. The excellent instructions are just a plus

The Seafood Cookbook: Classic to Contemporary

The best of the fish cookbooks in the review is The Seafood Cookbook: Classic to Contemporary by Pierre Franey and Bryan Miller. This cookbook covers hundreds of meals that make eating fish convenient, simple, and delicious. 

The book focuses on the love of American species like scallops with simple ingredients that you can find everywhere and makes preparing meals like clam chowder about as easy as can be.

If there is one cookbook to have in your kitchen, this is it. 

Best Value

Mystic Seafood: Great Recipes, History, and Seafaring Lore from Mystic Seaport

Let Jean Kerr and Spencer Smith take you on a journey through New England’s past with stories of fishing, the sea, maritime folklore, and a lot more.

Mystic Seafood: Great Recipes, History, and Seafaring Lore from Mystic Seaport

If you’re on a budget but still want to create some amazing home-cooked meals, Mystic Seafood: Great Recipes, History, and Seafaring Lore from Mystic Seaport by Jean Kerr, Spencer Smith is the book everyone can afford. 

It covers over 100 different meals using species easily found in the US, some of which were created by some of the best chefs in New England.

You’ll also find tips on preparationsustainable sourcing, and get an insight into the history of all the species and New England’s fishing culture. 

Editor’s Choice

American Seafood: Heritage, Culture and Cookery From Sea to Shining Sea

Barton Seaver shows you a wealth of tips and knowledge about the entire process surrounding seafood and it’s vast, rich history

American Seafood: Heritage, Culture and Cookery From Sea to Shining Sea

I’d buy American Seafood: Heritage, Culture & Cookery From Sea to Shining Sea by Barton Seaver.

This cookbook gives you a full understanding of the current state and history of the sea, oceans, food industry, tastes, sourcing, sustainability, farming, and how best to prepare each type of species.

I find it’s more than just a cookbook, it’s a history lesson with instructions on how to interact with the food industry sustainability while still eating delicious meals at home. 

Our Best Sea Food Cookbooks 

Editor’s Choice

American Seafood: Heritage, Culture and Cookery From Sea to Shining Sea

Barton Seaver shows you a wealth of tips and knowledge about the entire process surrounding seafood and it’s vast, rich history

American Seafood: Heritage, Culture and Cookery From Sea to Shining Sea

The seafood cookbook American Seafood: Heritage, Culture & Cookery From Sea to Shining Sea by Barton Seaver is a wealth of knowledge about the entire process surrounding seafood.

Any seafood lovers out there who want to know the whole story behind fish cookery would gain great insight by reading this Barton Seaver book. 

About the Author

Barton Seaver is not just a chef but a sustainability advocate as well. He takes a dive into the history of American sea food and its culture while describing the evolution of seafood cuisine and everything that surrounds it. 

This book will transform how you see fresh fish at a market.

It discusses the effects of imports on America’s diet, the state of the oceans, how fish are grown, the new technology aiding farming, as well as the economy behind it all. 

Insider Perspective

If you ever wanted to understand the industry behind the delicious food you eat, this is the seafood cookbook to read.

Barton Seaver helps you to understand the world behind the meals you love and be empowered to make consumer choices to make a positive difference to the sea food market and the population’s well being. 

Cooking Techniques

This sea food cookbook also is also full of tips about fish cookery, preparation, ideas on taste pairings, and it covers every American species you would find at a market and tells you how best to make it. 

This book is not a traditional recipe book though, with pages of delicious meals, it’s a guide to the holistic understanding of sea food as a whole with excellent tips and insights to support its sustainability and make it taste beautiful. 

Specs

  • Author: Barton Seaver
  • Pages: 520
  • No. Of Recipes: A few tips
  • Available as: Hardcover
  • Kindle: No

Pros

  • Teaches the history of American sea food
  • Insights into diet and how it’s changed
  • Gives an understanding of fishing technology and how it affects species
  • Excellent culinary tips for serving sea food
  • Covers every American species and how’s best to prepare it
  • Explains the biology of taste and what pairings work
  • Excellent information around the evolution of sea food dishes

Cons

  • Not a cookbook with recipes, more about culinary tips

Best Value

Mystic Seafood: Great Recipes, History, and Seafaring Lore from Mystic Seaport

Let Jean Kerr and Spencer Smith take you on a journey through New England’s past with stories of fishing, the sea, maritime folklore, and a lot more.

Mystic Seafood: Great Recipes, History, and Seafaring Lore from Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seafood: Great Recipes, History, and Seafaring Lore from Mystic Seaport is a sea food cookbook born out of New England, a place where the finest restaurants in the USA are found. 

Recipes

The book includes over 100 recipes covering all the species of shellfish and fish you’re likely to find on the eastern seaboard.

Each recipe is simple, uses easy to find ingredients, and includes step by step instructions, illustrated with beautiful photos, so you can make these fantastic dishes at home. 

About the Authors

The recipes you’ll find in the book come from the authors, both of whom are chefs, as well as top chefs in the Mystic Seaport area.

Maine Shrimp Risotto with Prosciutto and Peas, “California Roll” oysters, and baked scallops recipes and just a few that’ll inspire you to cook and look at sea food in a new way. 

History-Rich

The recipes aren’t just about how to cook each species though.

Each one takes you the sociological and culinary history of the species used to give you a wealth of understanding of the dish as a whole and why it became part of the American diet. 

The authors, Jean Kerr and Spencer Smith, also talk about the history of New England’s sea food and take you on a journey through its past that’s riddled with stories of fishing, the sea, maritime folklore, and a lot more.

Entertainment Value

It’s an entertaining read, to say the least, and one of the most insightful recipe books about New England seafood you’re likely to find. I have to warn you that not every seafood lover thinks the meals are amazing, some find them a little obvious, but most people do love them.

Specs

  • Author: Jean Kerr, Spencer Smith
  • Pages: 224
  • Recipe Number: 100+
  • Available as: Paperback
  • Kindle: No

Pros

  • A large range of meals covering a lot of fish and shellfish varieties
  • Each recipe describes a culinary and sociological history of the species used
  • Some meals come from famous chefs in the Mystic Seaport area
  • Made for everyday home kitchen cooks with simple meals and ingredients
  • Great photos of the food included
  • Excellent information around the New England culinary past
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Some of the meals aren’t that fantastic

Seafood Handbook: The Comprehensive Guide to Sourcing, Buying and Preparation

For the budding chef, this book full of cooking methods, new fish cookery, and everything you need to know to plan meals, is a great resource

Seafood Handbook: The Comprehensive Guide to Sourcing, Buying and Preparation

The Seafood Handbook: The Comprehensive Guide to Sourcing, Buying, and Preparation is a book full of cooking methods, new fish cookery, and everything you need to know from how to pick your species and prepare it, to creating tasty meals without a problem. 

NOTE

This is not a recipe book as such, and readers have described it as perfect for any chef in training and home cooks who want to know everything about the seafood industry. 

The book covers hundreds of species from around the world and gives readers details of how to ID them, pick the freshest of them at a market, what nutritional value they have, how sustainable they are, and information regarding the global supply chain.

Menu-Building

This information is key when building a menu for a restaurant, and for ensuring that anyone who is in love with seafood understands the industry and the state of global seafood populations as a whole. 

Readers with this information will be able to craft a seafood menu that is nutritional, delicious, and sustainable.

Once you have created your menu, the book will teach you how to pick your chosen species, butcher it, fillet it, and prepare it properly so you get the most out of it. 

For the Aspiring Chef

This seafood cookbook is well written and is easy to understand for anyone.

Although the book is aimed more at professional chefs, anyone in love with seafood would gain a lot from reading it, and the book will certainly inspire you to create meals that are a little different from the norm. 

Specs

  • Author: The Editors of Seafood Business & James Peterson
  • Pages: 288
  • No. Of Recipes: A couple
  • Available as: Paperback, Spiral-bound
  • Kindle: No

Pros

  • An in-depth guide of everything you need to know about seafood from sourcing to serving
  • Covering a lot of varieties of fish and shellfish
  • Teaches you how to select fish and shellfish and build a menu
  • Information regarding nutrition and sustainability of species
  • Includes details of the global seafood supply chain, seafood names, and forms
  • Comes with 2 quick reference posters for your kitchen wall
  • All the information needed to run a professional seafood kitchen
  • Clear and easy to understand
  • Perfect for chefs in training and home cooks

Cons

  • Illustrations are not 100% accurate for ID
  • Not a recipe book

Simply Fish: 75 Modern and Delicious Recipes for Sustainable Seafood

If you want to make a change, this book can show you new fish cookery methods on your path to a sustainable lifestyle with a stomach full of fish

Simply Fish: 75 Modern and Delicious Recipes for Sustainable Seafood

Simply Fish: 75 Modern and Delicious Recipes for Sustainable Seafood by Matthew Dolan is the perfect seafood cookbook for anyone who loves to eat seafood sustainably, and wants some inspiring new fish cookery methods to follow. 

About the Author

The Author, Matthew Dolan is a chef who studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and his restaurant, Twenty Five Lusk, won Esquire Magazine’s Best New Restaurant and Open Table Diners Choice Top Hot Spot Restaurants in the United States in 2019. 

Recipes

The meals included in this book are simple yet inspired.

Dolan uses easy to find ingredients with methods anyone can follow to give you the power to make delicious seafood meals at home. 

Each recipe is well illustrated with step by step guides, includes wine pairings, and tips on how to select and prepare what seafood you’re cooking too.

The Full Course

You won’t just find main meals in this seafood cookbook either. Dolan includes soups, starters, sides, sauces, and even desserts. 

The book not only covers how to make the best fish and chips but also includes meals that you’d never have thought of with scallop recipes like scallop tacos or BBQ oysters and Almond Milk Poached Local Cod. 

Limited Scope

As this book is also based on sustainable seafood, it doesn’t cover a huge range of species from around the world and focuses on seafood you can find locally in the US making it easy to cook with local ingredients. 

Specs

  • Author: Matthew Dolan
  • Pages: 242
  • No. Of Recipes: 75
  • Available as: Paperback, Hardback
  • Kindle: Yes

Pros

  • A good range of delicious recipes covering fish and shellfish
  • Includes simple recipes that anyone can do
  • Covers main meals, starters, soups, sauces, side dishes, and desserts
  • The recipes use easy to find ingredients
  • Culturally diverse recipes from scallop tacos to BBQ oysters
  • Includes wine pairings for the dish
  • Good photos of each step of the recipe to follow
  • Includes tips on selecting and preparing fish and shellfish too
  • Emphasis on sustainable seafood

Cons

  • It doesn’t cover all the species available

The California Seafood Cookbook: A Cook’s Guide to the Fish and Shellfish of California, the Pacific Coast, and Beyond

One of the classics, this book shows you the ropes on traditional meals like fish and chips to regional meals like clam chowder.

The California Seafood Cookbook: A Cook’s Guide to the Fish and Shellfish of California, the Pacific Coast, and Beyond

As far as seafood books go, The California Seafood Cookbook: A Cook’s Guide to the Fish and Shellfish of California, the Pacific Coast, and Beyond does a great job of covering all the species you can find in the US and all the cooking methods for them too.

This 288-page cookbook has 150 different ways for preparing shellfish and fish found in the Pacific, Atlantic, and the Gulf.

Recipes

The recipes include traditional meals like fish and chips, regional meals like clam chowder, and ethnic tastes to give you a broad option of cuisines to try out. 

Each recipe is well-illustrated, easy to follow, and focuses on fresh, easy to find ingredients.

For every recipe, an alternative fish or shellfish is suggested, letting you broaden the types of seafood you make at home, as well as ensuring that you can still make the delicious meal you want even if that particular species isn’t available to you. 

Comprehensive Techniques

These seafood books also teach you how to cut and fillet the species you’re going to use as well as how to pick them at the market and ensure that they were harvested sustainably.

If you’re looking for one seafood cookbook that covers almost all the seafood in the US, this might be it.

Vintage Material

The only downside to this seafood cookbook is that it hasn’t been updated since the 1980s, even though this edition was republished in 2011, so it will be missing some newer cooker techniques and ideas. 

Specs

  • Author: Isaac Cronin, Paul Johnson, Jay Harlow, Rick Moonen
  • Pages: 288
  • No. Of Recipes: 150
  • Available as: Hardcover, Paperback
  • Kindle: Yes

Pros

  • 150 delicious ideas for fish and shellfish meals
  • Covers species mainly found in the Pacific, Atlantic, and the Gulf
  • Each recipe suggests an alternative for the shellfish or fish suggested
  • Comes complete with illustrations and portraits of the species and techniques used
  • Includes ethnic and regional tastes for a broad cuisine
  • Well explained, simple methods anyone can follow
  • Instructions on how to cut and fillet are included

Cons

  • Not updated since the 1980s

The Fisherman’s Wife: Sustainable Recipes and Salty Stories

This book written by a fisherman’s wife is full of lovely stories about what the life of a lone commercial fisherman is really like in the seafood industry.

The Fisherman’s Wife: Sustainable Recipes and Salty Stories

The Fisherman’s Wife: Sustainable Recipes and Salty Stories by Stephanie Villani and Kevin Bay is all about sustainable seafood, understanding fishermen, and creating simple but tasty seafood meals. 

About the Author

It was written by a lone fisherman’s wife, Stephanie Villani, and is full of lovely stories about what the life of a lone commercial fisherman is really like in the seafood industry.

The book teaches you about how best to support sustainability with every bit of seafood you purchase to fry up at home. 

Recipes

Inside the seafood book, you’ll also find over 100 different methods for making delicious seafood meals like clam chowder or baked lobster.

The instructions are clear, easy to follow, and use simple ingredients and methods that everyone can find and manage. 

The book also includes techniques for handling and preparing shellfish and fish, and answers all the common questions and concerns surrounding seafood. 

Photo-Rich

There are also beautiful photos in the book showcasing the boat and experiences of Alex Villani, lone captain of the one-man fishing vessel Blue Moon plus all the delicious meals and species found within it. 

If you’re a seafood lover and want a deeper understanding of sustainability and the life of your everyday fisherman who’s bringing in the goods, as well as some instructions for delicious meals, this is an awesome seafood cookbook. 

Specs

  • Author: Stephanie Villani, Kevin Bay
  • Pages: 222
  • No. Of Recipes: 100+
  • Available as: Hardcover
  • Kindle: No

Pros

  • Provides insights into the life of a fisherman
  • Excellent information around sustainable fishing practices and supporting them through purchases
  • Full of tips and techniques for handling, preparation, and cooking techniques
  • A great number of delicious recipes for shellfish and fish
  • Lovely stories of being a commercial fisherman
  • Well illustrated with good photos
  • Simple enough recipes for all cooking levels

Cons

  • None I can find

The Whole Fish Cookbook: New Ways to Cook, Eat and Think

If you love seafood more than most, then Josh Niland’s book can help you enjoy that passion every step of the way from planning to preparation to your plate.

The Whole Fish Cookbook: New Ways to Cook, Eat and Think

This seafood cookbook has won over 10 awards including 2 James Beard awards in 2020 – Restaurant and Professional, the prestigious Book of the Year; André Simon Food Book Award 2019, and The Australian Book Industry Association’s Illustrated Book of the Year in 2020. 

About the Author

Josh Niland is an Australian chef and this bestselling seafood cookbook is about breaking boundaries and learning how to look at making fish meals a little differently.

Niland’s ideas have been credited by world-renowned chefs like Jamie Oliver and Yotam Ottolenghi as creating a new way of seeing fish as a diverse protein source and treating it like you would treat meat.

With Josh Niland at the helm, nothing is wasted and his meals include every part of the fish from eyeballs to cheeks and bone marrow.

Cooking Techniques

This book will teach you how to make everything from cod liver pate, roasted fish bone marrow, to the perfect fish and chips. 

The book holds instructions on how to source, butcher, dry age, cure, and prepare over 50 species.

The methods are quite simple, inspiring, but they do take some time, specialist ingredients, and are not for the faint-hearted. 

The Land Down Under

If mushing up some eyeballs doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then you might want to look at some other sea food books.

It also focuses predominantly on fish found in Australia, so may not suit all the American species you can find. 

Specs

  • Author: Josh Niland
  • Pages: 256
  • No. Of Recipes: 60+
  • Available as: Hardcover
  • Kindle: Yes

Pros

  • Delicious ideas credited by chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, and Yotam Ottolenghi
  • A new way of thinking about fish as food, inspiring you to make different species with new cooking methods
  • Clearly explained methods, easy for all to cook
  • Instructions on how to butcher, fillet, and clean different species of fish
  • Filled with beautiful photos of the recipes and food
  • Methods include dozens of different species
  • Interesting and different recipes along with the classics

Cons

  • Recipes require some specialist ingredients
  • Recipes are based mainly on Australian fish

Top Pick

The

The Seafood Cookbook: Classic to Contemporary

This is one of the best seafood books you can own to get you eating fish in a quick, easy, and exciting way. The excellent instructions are just a plus

The Seafood Cookbook: Classic to Contemporary

The Seafood Cookbook: Classic to Contemporary by Pierre Franey and Bryan Miller is one of the best seafood books you can own to get you eating fish in a quick, easy, and exciting way. 

About the Author

Pierre Franey is a world-renowned French chef, author of The 60 Minute Gourmet in the New York Times, and had a TV show called Cuisine Rapide. His techniques are all about being able to create fresh, delicious meals, quickly and easily and he brought this approach into his seafood cookbook. 

Recipes

Inside, you’ll find over 300 different meals, most of which take less than an hour to make, and a third of which take just 30 minutes. That’s not to say the tastes and ideas are simple though.

Meals like flounder fillets in a mustard and parsley sauce and tuna carpaccio with lime and ginger dressing are as delicious and innovative as they are quick and easy. 

Cooking Techniques

The instructions laid out by Pierre Franey in techniques as one technique such as poaching can apply to a lot of species of fish.

The detail in this book makes learning the methods no problem at all and gives you a holistic view of each technique and the species that work best with them. 

The Full Course

Pierre Franey doesn’t just go into how to create main meals but also covers salads, sauces, stocks, sides, soups, and vegetables in their own chapters. He even teaches you how to pick and store the freshest fish or shellfish for the meal you’re creating. 

The species covered in this book are all found in oceans surrounding America, and the ingredients are not specialist and are easy things to find too. You’ll have no problem sourcing all the things you need to create the meals at home. 

If you love seafood and want to discover how easy and problem free it can be to create delicious meals quickly, this book by Pierre Franey is the one for you. 

Specs

  • Author: Pierre Franey, Bryan Miller
  • Pages: 296
  • No. Of Recipes: 300
  • Available as: Hardcover
  • Kindle: No

Pros

  • More than 300 recipes
  • Methods are simple, quick to prepare, and delicious
  • Designed towards species available in the US
  • Methods are categorized by techniques for easy learning
  • Information on picking, cleaning, and storing fish
  • Chapters on wine pairings, sauces, salads, and sides
  • Everything you need in one book
  • Uses simple ingredients you have at home

Cons

  • None I can find

Why Should I Get A Seafood Cookbook? 

If you love eating things that live in the ocean, then seafood books are a great way to learn how to make more new and different meals with the wide range of species on offer. 

… seafood books are a great way to learn how to make more new and different meals…

I’m not talking about frying up a tuna steak with olive oil, most of us can do that without a problem.

We’re talking about complex meals like scallop recipes or prawn soups that are a little outside of basic home cuisines that we all need a bit of help with but would love to make. 

Great seafood books will not only help you make the meals but have page by page instructions on how best to source one thing and store another ensuring it’s fresh as can be when it hits the olive oil in the frying pan. 

Another thing seafood books offer is an understanding of the industry so you can pick your meals and menu based on sustainability. The oceanic world is facing a large problem at the moment, stocks are low and the best way to support the right practices is through consumer choice and tailoring your menu to sustainable sources. 

What Makes A Great Seafood Cookbook?

Comprehensive

The main thing the best seafood books offer is a holistic understanding of the industry from source to plate along with all the methods and techniques needed to make delicious meals easily at home. 

Books with this information will teach you how to shop sustainably, pick the freshest specimens, and prepare them properly. 

Take for example this video showing you how to pick out seafood. You’ll want a book that goes as in-depth as this to really help you get your feet wet when working with seafood.

Becky Selengut shows you the vital skill of selecting quality seafood

Digestible

The meals in the cookbook should also be simple enough for anyone to make, and use ingredients that you have at home or are easy to find. 

One problem I often have with a few cookbooks is they ask for ingredients I’d never buy, like a dash of squid ink in soups, making the meals expensive and wasteful, as you’re not likely to use the ingredients again. 

Contextual

A nice spread of various seafood on ice
Pictured: your local seafood market, possibly

The cookbooks you choose should also focus on the fish species you have locally available.

Having a Mediterranean cookbook for making fish in America isn’t that useful, so make sure the cookbooks you choose are about the species you have available locally. 

Summing Up 

Thanks for reading my article about the best seafood cookbooks, I hope you enjoyed it.

Being able to make delicious food at home is an art and even more so when you have to start thinking about scallop recipes, and the best form of help is a great seafood cookbook. 

Just to go over things again, here are some of my favorite choices:

If you haven’t quite decided which of the books is the right one for your kitchen, then here is my take on them.

Top Pick

If you’re looking for one book that’ll help you make a diverse range of sea cuisine, then The Seafood Cookbook: Classic to Contemporary by Pierre Franey and Bryan Miller is the book to go for. You’ll find instructions on how to source, store, prepare, and make over 300 different delicious meals.

The book also focuses on convenience, so you won’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to rustle up something delicious. 

Best Value

For anyone on a budget, take a look at Mystic Seafood: Great Recipes, History, and Seafaring Lore from Mystic Seaport.

This book takes a dive into New England’s culinary past, how to source sustainable seafood, and is full of delicious meals based on American species with simple and well-illustrated instructions. 

Editor’s Choice

If you love seafood to the point you want to know everything about it from the oceans, the industry, sustainability, farming, and preparation methods, American Seafood: Heritage, Culture & Cookery From Sea to Shining Sea by Barton Seaver is a great choice.

It covers every aspect of the industry from source to plate giving you a wealth of understanding about the food you love so much. 

Happy Cooking!

Thanks again for reading the article and I hope the book you choose inspires you to create some amazing meals.

Please feel free to share the article with your friends and family, and check out some of our other articles too.

We cover everything fishy from how to find them, catch them, and taste them. 

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Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.
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