The Austin Chronicle

More Cookbooks for Under the Tree

Reviewed by Mick Vann, December 6, 2013, Food

by Jerald and Glenda Horst
Pelican Publishing, 240 pp., $26.95

Fish Volume 2 is the last in the Louisiana Seafood Bible series, and definitely one of the best. The authors are a husband-and-wife team, Jerald and Glenda Horst, from Southeastern Louisiana. Jerald is a retired professor of fisheries at LSU and Glenda is the daughter of a commercial fisherman; she learned to cook Cajun seafood from her mother and grandmother. You'd be hard pressed to find more qualified authors for a book on how to cook the fish, both freshwater and saltwater, of the Bayou State.

The book begins with two colorful essays, one a revealing day-in-the-life of the Charlie and Seahon McCall's commercial freshwater fishing business, and the other, an historical tale of the irascible Ouddie Boothe, an outlaw seiner who fished for crappie his whole life. Next is a definitive guide, lavishly illustrated, of the edible fish of Louisiana. I had always considered mullet as bait, but they are apparently quite tasty; the same holds true for hardhead catfish, the ultimate trash fish, which apparently tastes better than its freshwater cousin.

The 70-plus easy-to-follow recipes, which were all tested in Glenda's professional kitchen, run the gamut from down-home Cajun and Creole to sophisticated fare, using every fish imaginable. Fried buffalo-carp ribs are apparently a real delicacy, and you can steam delicious foil-wrapped fish in your dishwasher while you run a load of dishes. Each recipe features detailed headnotes, with background information and a photo of the cook submitting the recipe. The resulting book is part historical reference, part seafood and fishing guide, with recipes chock full of local fish flavors, aimed squarely at the home cook. It's a highly entertaining read, a top notch reference, and a great cookbook; the hat trick of Cajun cookbooks.

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