Food & Drink: Cook Book of the Week

A FEAST OF FISH BY IAN McANDREW Little Brown, pounds 16.99, 224pp
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The Independent Culture
FISHMONGERS ARE very fond of telling me that the average Briton has an aversion to handling fish in the kitchen. Despite such gloomy warnings, piscine cookery books are proving popular with publishers. Now Ian McAndrew has added A Feast of Fish to the list.

McAndrew was a Michelin-starred chef who shot to fame with his fish restaurant Seventy Four in Canterbury in the late Eighties. He wrote a book called A Feast of Fish. Now working as a consultant, his publishers have persuaded him to update the manuscript to such a degree that they claim it is a different book. New fish have been added and only a few of the original recipes remain.

The book is clearly laid out. There is a section on buying and preparing fish which includes easy numbered instructions and illustrations. No problems if you want to fillet a round fish or open some oysters. This is followed by the basics which include everything from risotto base to sauce vierge. The fish recipes listed alphabetically according to the fish, range from the esoteric perch (braised in cider or cooked with tarragon) to salmon or mussels. A wine idea accompanies each recipe.

McAndrew includes notes on each fish, but these are not as comprehensive as those of William Black in Fish. But, his recipes are more restaurant- led. Langoustines in a chervil and cucumber broth, for example, or plaice in a lobster and vegetable bisque - the sort of dishes that might appear in future Master Chef competitions.