“The Deep End of Flavor: Recipes and Stories from New Orleans’ Premier Seafood Chef” by Tenney Flynn with Susan Puckett, $30, Gibbs Smith, 224 pages hardcover
New Orleans chef Tenney Flynn’s passion for serving the freshest Gulf Coast seafood shines through in his new cookbook, “The Deep End of Flavor: Recipes and Stories from New Orleans’ Premier Seafood Chef.”
Flynn, who is known for including overlooked or underutilized species on the menu at his GW Fins restaurant, says he wrote the book with Susan Puckett “as a resource for cooks who’d like to eat more fish at home, but need help figuring out what to do with any fish that’s available to them, wherever they live and whatever their skill level.”
He naturally focuses on Gulf species but gives alternatives when possible so readers can adapt the recipes to what’s available to them.
Before getting into the recipes, Flynn provides a fish and seafood primer. He emphasizes the need for flexibility in menu planning when looking for the best fish in the local market’s seafood case. He also wants his readers to “think sustainable, buy domestic,” pointing out that “often, the best and tastiest choices are the most underutilized and unknown.”
Flynn discusses wild versus farm-raised; how to fillet a whole fish; how to skin a fish fillet and remove the pinbones; how to scale a fish; frozen seafood options; tips for judging freshness; prioritizing cooking times; and serving fish at the ideal temperature.
In choosing the right fish for the dish, Tenney says lean fish should be paired with richer butter and cream sauces, while fatty or oily fish need acidic sauces.
In the book’s opening primer, the chef’s business partner, Gary Wollerman, offers a quick tutorial on matching wine with seafood.
There also is a list of kitchen tools and ingredients Flynn considers essential for cooking seafood.
Flynn organizes the first eight recipe chapters of “The Deep End of Flavor” according to his favorite cooking techniques with seafood. The final three look at sauces and dressings; grains, sides and salads (that’s where you’ll find the recipe for GW Fins signature biscuits); and drinks and dessert.
The chapter “Blended Bits and Pieces” gives ideas for what to do with that extra fillet or cupful of crawfish tails or shrimp. It features such recipes as lobster dumplings, smoked fish dip and maque choux with bacon, tasso and seafood.
Many, but not all of the recipes, are illustrated with full-color photographs by Danny Lee.
Anyone interested in learning more about preparing delicious seafood will want to take a look at “The Deep End of Flavor.”