Book Review: ‘Forty’ with 40 seafood recipes

Forty is a book with 40 seafood recipes. It was published as part of celebrations to mark 40 years since Chris and Liz Ramus established their seafood supply business in Yorkshire.

The hardback book has 80 pages and includes recipes by chefs, food writers and food suppliers plus one from Danny Mills, the former England footballer who became a finalist in the 2012 series of the BBC’s Celebrity MasterChef television series. Mills provides the details required to prepare red mullet with pea risotto and tapenade dressing.

Four of those pages tell a potted history of Ramus Seafoods, which was named Seafood Supplier of the Year 2014 at the maiden Food Awards England and Wales in November 2014. The first of the company’s shops opened back in 1975 while the initial Ramus Seafood Emporium was established in 2000.

How to dress seafood

The chapter with shellfish recipes includes easy-to-follow, step by steps guides on how to dress lobsters and crabs, each illustrated with five photographs.

The recipes that follow are written with metric measurements for the ingredients and lucid methods of preparation. A number of the recipes – such as those for potted crab tartlets, Coquilles Pierre and moules marienière – also include suggestions as to matching wines.

Several of the pages include ‘fish fact’ boxes with snippets of information relating to the key ingredient used in the associated recipe. You can learn, for example, that mussels contain similar levels of iron and folic acid to red meat and are regarded the most environmentally sustainable of shellfish.

The fish recipes chapter runs to 40 pages and begins with guides on how to fillet sea bass and plaice, the steps needed to butterfly a mackerel and tips on how to boat fillet sea bass.

Recipes and cooking methods

In addition to the recipes – which include fish pie, fish stew and spicy monkfish with mint yoghurt – the pages provide information on how to make shellfish sauce and fish stock. As you might hope, given the locations of Ramus’s shops, you’ll also find a recipe for Yorkshire fish and chips with tartare sauce.

The final chapter of Forty, entitled Our Catch, lists 40 of Ramus’s most popular species of fish and seafood along with their taxonomical names and photos. The appearance, seasonality and geographical source of each one is listed, along with recommendations on how to cook them and suggestions on alternatives. If you can’t obtain a gurnard, for example, you might want to source a red snapper or a red mullet.

Forty has a recommended retail price of £9.95 and can be ordered online on the Ramus website.

Further information

Ramus Seafood Emporium sources fish responsibly from fishermen based in ports around the United Kingdom and has stores in Harrogate (136 Kings Road, Harrogate, HG1 5HY) and Ilkley (2 South Hawksworth Street, Ilkley, LS29 9DX).

A contribution from the sale of each book is being donated to the Fishermen’s Mission, which supports retired as well as active fishermen and their families.

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