Can you hear the waves crashing around you? From the big, beautiful breakers of the California coast and the bold and boisterous sands of Rio de Janeiro, to the cool, rocky beaches of Ireland—sea swells and shores around the world abound with a vivid array of captivating seafood species. Smell the salty sea air and prepare to Go Coastal!
In this collection of globally inspired seafood recipes, I have thoughtfully curated dishes inspired by my travels and food tours to coastal regions. You’ll find recipes shared by families along the seaboard who opened their homes to me for private cooking lessons; seaside chefs who shared their secrets for creating restaurant-quality seafood meals; and seafaring friends who have gladly shared their cooking traditions and favorite family recipes with me.
I believe that we are all looking to connect. What better way to bring people together than to prepare a meal from a different part of the world and experience its unique, exciting flavors?
Within these pages, you’ll find a balance of recipes with a pinch of posh and a dash of down-to-earth and practical. Those looking to dive into more complex recipes will devour chic recipes like West African Fish Stew and Scandinavian Gravlax or Caribbean Salt Cod Fritters. On the other hand, if you are looking to sink your teeth into simple, straightforward seafood dishes, you’ll enjoy whipping up a ‘Best Coast’ Salmon Caprese Sandwich or a big bowl of Isle of Capri Lemon Garlic Scampi Pasta. If you are new to seafood or have only dabbled a bit, don’t worry—there’s plenty here for you, too. Mouthwatering Aleutian Islands Fish & Chips and Baja Fish Tacos will have you looking forward to fish night every week! No matter your cooking skills, you’ll be able to dive right into all kinds of fun, flavorful seafood recipes.
Rest assured that you will not have to search to the ends of the earth for any of the ingredients called for in this book, but on occasion you may need to place a special request with your local fishmonger for an item like fish bones or collars, or order something online like salt cod or sambal oelek. I think you’ll find it’s well worth it!
In these pages, you’ll find that I often attribute recipes to a specific location; in other instances, I mark them as regional, since some culinary traditions, cooking styles and ingredients ring true for miles in many parts of the world. This is especially true in the Mediterranean, West Africa, Scandinavia and the Balkan Peninsula. I did my best to represent as many coastal regions as possible, and was admittedly a little heavy-handed with the West Coast of the United States— it’s where I am from and it is a region that boasts some of the best seafood on the planet. This is why you’ll see me affectionately refer to the West Coast as the “Best Coast” in some recipes.
You’ll find seafood varieties that are familiar and available in almost every part of the world due to the advent of aquaculture and popular delivery services, as well as some species that are local and native to specific regions. I did this in case you have the opportunity to travel to a recipe’s destination and want to use truly authentic ingredients; however, in most of these cases I have provided alternative options and substitutes, just in case.
Throughout this book you will find tips, cooking advice and my notes in sections affectionately called “Posh Pointers.” These pages are designed to provide how-to tips, detailed info on species, and fun facts. They will help you get unstuck when faced with a new food challenge, like selecting shellfish or cleaning squid. Topics like purging clams and removing the bloodline from fish are also included.
Most of the food photos you’ll find throughout the book have been styled and photographed by yours truly, along with snapshots on loan from friends. Aside from being a practical decision (I was free to cook and snap away any time of day!), I wanted you to know what the food would actually look like once made. In this era of social media, I’ve learned that overly produced images can lead to confusion and disappointment. Naturally, I did fancy things up a bit with styling and color correction, but nothing out of reach or over the top.
Use this book like a good friend (me!) who is hanging out with you in your kitchen, planning your next culinary trip to the coast. Thumb through the pages, find the recipes and flavors that resonate with you, and start cooking! After you make the recipe my way for the first time, I encourage you to start experimenting and make the dish with your own spin. The beauty of cooking at home is that you are in charge. So from my kitchen to yours: bon appétit!
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