Lure: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast
Released this past fall, Lure is a cookbook focussed on educating us home cooks on the vast selection of seafood available (and it’s myriad uses) as well as ensuring that we make sustainable choices when concocting our seafood menus.
This is the first cookbook from Canadian Chef Ned Bell; Bell is long-time advocate for sustainable seafood practices. He founded Chefs of Oceans in 2014 to raise awareness and advocate for responsible seafood choices. He also won the SeaWeb Seafood Champion for Advocacy Award in September of 2017.
In his 240-page cookbook, which was co-written by Toronto-based lifestyle, food and travel writer, Valerie Howes, Bell provides 80 recipes crafted with 40 different seafood choices and all separated into four categories: white fish, fatty fish, shellfish and sea greens. The recipes appear in the book in those categories (so those of us who are used to the appetizers-at-the-front, desserts-at-the-back format for cookbooks will need to adjust). The index does list the recipes by meal course though, which helps if you’re planning a party. Or just want to make something fun for a snack.
When I first received my copy, I couldn’t get over how beautiful it was. The hard cover is solid but not overly heavy. The colours are eye catching without causing too much strain. It has that wonderful new book smell. One of my favourite features though is that the photos (and there are a lot of photos); they are on the paper stock as the rest of the book, so when you open to a recipe, the pages don’t try to flip to a photo page without your consent. And really, when you’re cooking, this is a blessing.
The content itself is well-written and separated into easy to digest sections. Back to Basics covers everything you need to know about fish – buying, preparing, selecting. At the end of the book is a Species Profile section, which I loved. I almost felt like all I needed were those two sections.
But it is a cookbook after all, and recipes are a big part of cooking. I found the recipes fairly easy to follow. My only criticism would be that the directions are in paragraph format rather than step by step. But that’s a personal preference – I like to have my steps numbered, so I can easily look down and see where I am in the process while I cook.
Finally, at the very back of the book is a metric conversion chart and an extensive index. Nice little touches for an already education-packed cookbook.