With more of us choosing to eat less meat or no meat at all, the demand for recipes focused on fish and vegetables is on the up. So, the more inspiration there is out there to help chefs and caterers meet the demand, the better.
The Flexible Pescatarian is not overly demanding in content. Rather, it provides a plethora of simple ideas that foodservice caterers and pub operators might be keen on tapping into. It is written by Jo Pratt, a food stylist and author of seven books, who has made frequent appearances cooking on television and has worked with Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing and Jamie Oliver on their books, so she knows what chefs are looking for in a recipe.
Pratt also works as a chef ambassador alongside Sophie Michell, Gee Charman and Caroline Artiss at the Gorgeous Kitchen, a restaurant offering a mix of light and traditional British dishes at Heathrow Terminal 2.
A great appeal of the book is the fishy versions of comfort classics that would go down well in a pub or bistro. For instance, seafood scotch eggs, using smoked fish and prawns, offers a viable alternative to the traditional scotch egg – however, for me, the sausage version will continue to win every time. Cornish pasties are given a seafood twist with crab meat the star of the show, while mac ’n’ cheese is given some added oomph with the addition of smoked haddock. Crayfish, sweetcorn and potato pie is another hearty winner.
Beyond British favourites, there is south Indian fish curry with tamarind and coconut; and Lebanese fish kebabs with feta tzatziki and charred aubergine. The most inspiring meat-free dishes include a cleansing bowl of Asian green broth with a fiery kick from ginger, lemongrass and chilli, and a curried root vegetable Buddha bowl.
Winding up with a section on fish preparation, including the buying and choosing of fish and a foolproof stock, The Flexible Pescatarian is a good, basic option to have in any kitchen that wants to expand its repertoire of uncomplicated vegetarian and fish dishes.
• The Flexible Pescatarian by Jo Pratt (White Lion Publishing, £20). Try out the recipe for seafood scotch eggs from the book here