Shocking as it may sound to seafood fanciers, there are plenty of people out there who never grow out of the belief that they dislike fish. And indeed, if you live very far inland, where fresh ocean fish is hard to come by, such an attitude may be shaped by lack of opportunity for positive culinary experiences with what famed fishmonger Joe Gurrera terms “meat without feet.” Fish doesn’t keep well, after all, and just isn’t the same after freezing.
But even in places within a few hours of the seacoast, many are turned off to fish by poor preparation – usually overcooking, or overuse of heavy sauces to add flavor to blander varieties. Many more feel intimidated about cooking fish at home, imagining it to be some challenging artform. This couldn’t be further than the truth, according to Gurrera, owner of New York City’s famed Citarella chain of fish stores and of Lockwood & Winant, a wholesale company located at the Fulton Fish Market. “When you cook fish, it doesn’t take much to make it delicious. The key: freshness and timing,” writes Gurrera in his new book, Joe Knows Fish: Taking the Intimidation Out of Cooking Seafood.
Gurrera is 40-year veteran of the seafood business whose parents ran a fish store in Greenwich Village. He purchased the first Citarella’s, on the Upper West Side, in 1983. His commitment to quality was unsurpassed, and he gained a large and loyal customer base that enabled him to open more stores, incorporating produce, meat, cheese and gourmet foods. Written in his no-nonsense style and geared toward beginners, Joe Knows Fish guides readers through more than 85 of his best seafood recipes. It also offers pointers on what to look for when purchasing fish; developing a relationship with your fishmonger; how to portion, handle and store fish; and where and what to buy when it comes to essential kitchen tools.
This Saturday, October 27 from 3 to 5 p.m., the Bluecashew Kitchen Homestead at 37B North Front Street in Uptown Kingston will host a talk and book-signing with Joe Gurerra. He’ll also offer a tasting of one of his specialties, sausage-and-calamari Italian Surf & Turf. To learn more, call (845) 514-2300 or visit https://bluecashew.com.
Joe Gurrera talk and tasting, Saturday, Oct. 27, 3-5 p.m., Free, Bluecashew Kitchen Homestead, 37B North Front St., Kingston, (845) 514-2300, https://bluecashew.com