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Dutch Cookbook Review: Het Nederlands Viskookboek

Sustainable Seafood Cookbook

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Dutch Cookbook Review: Het Nederlands Viskookboek

Het Nederlands Viskookboek

Photo © Uitgeverij Carrera
Bart van Olphen's latest cookbook offers some 60 sustainable Dutch seafood recipes and plenty of interesting information, tips and fishermen's stories.

Van Olphen certainly has the necessary credentials for such a book. He's the man behind Europe's first MSC-certified chain of fish shops, for which he received the Seafood Champion Award for the most sustainable seafood company in the world. He was voted one of the Top 100 Meest Duurzame Nederlanders (a list of people from the Netherlands who have done the most to promote sustainability), and his first cookbook, Het Fishes Kookboek won a Gourmand Best Cookbook of the World Award.

Het Nederlands Viskookboek (or 'The Dutch Fish Cookbook') has already won the Gouden Tulp 2012 book award, in the category 'most informative book of the year'. The winning book was chosen by a jury of booksellers.

Sustainable Fishing Stories

Het Nederlands Viskookboek tells the story of sustainably caught Dutch fish through the tales of Dutch fishermen and the experiences of the author.

Like a modern day Keith Floyd, Van Olphen cooked on board fishing boats, in picturesque harbors, sandy beaches and in local restaurants. He takes the reader along as he accompanies fishermen of European sea bass on the North Sea, cooks mussels in water from the Oosterschelde estuary, makes shrimp soup on the Wadden Sea, indulges in shellfish in Zeeland's Yrseke, smokes bream in Friesland's Hindeloopen, and shares TV chef Alain Caron's famous recipe for sole with two sauces.

Regional Seafood Varieties, Handy Information & Tips

Scrambled Eggs with Shrimp

Photo © Jaap van Rijn
The book opens with an introduction by the author, telling about his background and where his passion for sustainable seafood came from. This is followed by a map of the main Dutch fishing villages and an explanation of what sustainably caught seafood entails.

Instead of the conventional chapters for 'starters', 'mains', etc. the book is divided according to the main Dutch fishing villages Yerseke, Bergen op Zoom, Neeltje Jans, Scheveningen, Den Oever, Urk, Hindeloopen and Lauwersoog. In each chapter, the reader learns more about the local fishermen and discovers how best to cook Dutch seafood varieties, such as mussels, mackerel, European sea bass, herring, brown crab, European plaice, bream and cockles. Conveniently, each chapter lists the Dutch and Latin names of the local seafood varieties, how and where they're fished and when they're at their best.

A handy seasonal calendar per location shows when the various varieties of seafood should be consumed. There's also a section with hot and cold sauces that complement seafood dishes and a chapter with step-by-step guides to various techniques, such as how to fillet a fish, how to clean squid, and how to peel shrimp. An overview with common utensils and ingredients you'll need when preparing seafood is given, as well as an alphabetical recipe index and an alphabetical index of terms.

Delicious Seafood Recipes

There's a good balance of easy recipes for beginners and more complicated ones for advanced cooks, with clear steps, the odd anecdote and plenty of beautiful photographs of the finished dishes.

Examples of recipes:

  • Mussels Cooked in Beer
  • Bacon & Oyster Sandwich
  • Grilled Lobster with Sea Lavender
  • Marinated Anchovy Fillets
  • Lentil Salad with Pan-Fried Mackerel
  • Spicy Barbecued Sea Bass
  • Deep-Fried Sole with Tartar Sauce
  • Pickled Herring, Apple & Potato Salad
  • Squid Ink Risotto
  • Shrimp Croquettes
  • Brown Crab Burger
  • Lekkerbek van dikke schol met ravigottesaus (the Dutch answer to fish and chips)
  • Hot-Smoked Bream with Horseradish Sauce
  • Grey Mullet with Andijviestamppot (potato and endive/escarole mash)
  • Steamed Cockles with Parsley & Shallots

    Try a Recipe from the Book:

  • Scrambled Eggs with Shrimp Recipe
  • Grilled Sea Bass with Garlic & Parsley (Zeebaars van de BBQ)
  • Spicy Barbecued Sea Bass Recipe (Pikante Zeebaars van de BBQ)
  • Sole with Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
  • Pickled Herring Salad with Sour Apples & Potatoes Recipe
  • Lekkerbek met Ravigote Sauce Recipe
  • Gray Mullet Carpaccio with Mixed Salad & Green Dressing Recipe
  • Publication Details

  • Title: Het Nederlands Viskookboek
  • By: Bart van Olphen
  • Text & Photography: Jaap van Rijn
  • Language: Dutch only
  • Published by: Fontaine Uitgevers BV
  • Publisher: Carrera
  • Publisher's Site
  • Price: €29,90
  • ISBN: 9789048809813
  • Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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