I am devouring For Cod and Country: Simple. Delicious. Sustainable Cooking, Barton Seaver’s spectacular fish cookbook. Everything I’ve tried, from the Pisatchio Piccata I put on some steamed Barramundi, to this Roasted Fish with Lime-Dill Butter and Roasted Potatoes, have been full of flavor and easy to make.
“Nothing can compare to the taste of super-fresh fish, in season, at the height of its flavor.” -Seaver
Seaver’s cooking philosophy maximizes flavor from few highquality ingredients; local produce, high quality butter, fresh spices, and, of course, seafood in season.
For Cod and Country is filled with everything you need to know about cooking fish; recommended kitchen tools, how to shop for fish, spice mixes and dry rubs, and buying frozen and canned seafood.
You’ll also learn how to get the complex flavor of bacon without using bacon (smoked paprika combined with a fat), that capers should be soaked in water for a few hours before use and how to prepare salt-packed anchovies – my current “must find” obsession.
I love that there are 13 recipes for anchovies, including a simple anchovy butter. I love that Seaver is not afraid to use butter (though he does feel a need to justify it). I love the countless vegetable recipes I would devour without a fish in sight (Roasted Radicchio with Sambuca Dressing!).
Most of all I love how the book is divided up by season and how sustainability serves as its foundation.
“If your seafood remains a generic, anonymous product that seems simply to come from a warehouse somewhere, it is easier to overlook the damage that industrial fishing has inflicted on the ocean. If you choose to enjoy seafood seasonally and with knowledge to its origin and harvest, you can support fishermen who are acting responsibly, which will help us to create more sustainable and profitable fisheries.” – Barton Seaver
You will not find recipes for Atlantic Cod, Bluefin Tuna, Chilean Sea Bass, Flounder, Grouper, and Orange Roughy in the book. But you’re still getting Wild Striped Bass with Cilantro-Onion Salad and Yogurt-Avocado Puree and Eggplant Stuffed with Smoky Tomato-Anchovy Ratatouille.
The one fault I find in the book is neglecting to include a basic fish stock recipe. If we’re stressing sustainability, why throw nutrient rich bones away when you can make stock? There are soup recipes in the book, but they all use fillets (with the exception of shellfish stews).
For a flavor rich fish stock I reference my other favorite fish cookbook, Fish Forever: The Definitive Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Preparing Healthy, Delicious, and Environmentally Friendly Sustainable Seafood, by Paul Johnson. In addition to a great collection of recipes, Johnson’s book delves deeper into fishing and aquaculture methods.
I recommend For Cod and Country for both skilled cooks and those intimidated by fish preparation. For Cod and Country will make you a better cook and environmentalist.
Roasted Fish with Lime-Dill Butter and Roasted Potatoes
Adapted from “For Cod and Country” by Barton Seaver. This versatile recipe will work with any light flavored fish like trout and Barramundi. For a quicker preparation, boil the potatoes ahead of time.
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 pound potatoes, boiled or steamed
Two *boned rainbow trout
1 lime, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh dill
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 500F.
2. Melt butter in an ovenproof pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and potatoes, mix with the butter and cook until potato skins brown on one side.
3. Fill each fish with lime slices and a few sprigs of dill. Lay them over the potatoes (make sure they are in an even layer), season with salt and pepper and place pan in the oven.
4. Roast the fish for about 12 minutes until cooked through (if your fish still have the bones in, it will take a little longer to cook through).
5. Arrange on a platter or plate individually and season with lime-dill butter.
*I left my fish with bones in – it takes a little longer to cook.
Try this sauce with any roasted or pan fried fish fillets for a simple seasoning. Experiment with other herbs for variations (parsley, cilantro, sage).
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 bunch of fresh dill, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper
1. Combine the lime juice and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Remove from heat and add butter to melt.
3. Add the dill and season with salt and pepper.
Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg
Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky
How We Can Eat Our Way Out of the Seafood Crisis – Grist interview with Barton Seaver
Barry Estabrook’s Review of Cod and Country at Politics of the Plate
The Joys and Perils of ‘Sustainable’ Seafood Labeling – Salon (includes interview with Paul Greenberg)
How I Fell in Love with a Fish – Food Renegade
Video: Making Fish Stock – Healthy Home Economist
Farmed Seafood: What’s Safe and Nutritious – Mark’s Daily Apple
Roasted Whole Fish with Lime Salsa Verde – Melissa Clark | New York Times
This post is linked to Kelly the Kitchen Kop | Real Food Wednesday.