The Young Man & the Sea
Recipes & Crispy Fish Tales
by David Pasternack & Ed Levine
(Artisan/Workman Publishing Company, 2007)
The arrival of Dave Pasternack’s The Young Man & the Sea has been a long time coming, perhaps since the days when the chef first opened his critically acclaimed Esca in New York. The so-called “fish whisperer” partnered with renowned food writer Ed Levine to create this 272-page ode to seafood, in which the main mantra is that fresh fish and shellfish are what make a dish extraordinary, no matter how seasoned the cook.
With that philosophy, the cookbook’s recipes — culled mainly from Esca’s most popular dishes — become inspirations, rather than declarations, on how to prepare seafood. From the simple Two-Minute Cherrystone Clam Ceviche, or the grand presentation of Salt-Baked Pesce per Due, the cookbook covers the gamut of fish preparations, many of them Italian-based. Fans of Esca will be happy to find several recipes for crudo, the Italian raw fish preparation that made Pasternack famous, as well as recipes for the restaurant’s well-known Spaghetti with Tuna Meatballs and Rigatoni with Tuna Bolognese. Recipes are surprisingly easy to follow and offered without pretension, as Pasternack does not assume the readers are experts in all things fish, and his cooking tips are both helpful and motivating for novice cooks.
Also included is informative advice on where and how to buy fresh fish and shellfish, as well as the basics of distinguishing between different types of seafood, such as tuna or scallops. In between more than 100 recipes, countless tips and the incredibly mouthwatering photos by Christopher Hirscheimert, The Young Man & The Sea recounts Pasternack’s favorite fishing tales, told with the quick wit and blunt style of a veteran fisherman. It’s a must-have for any lover of the sea.
Reviewed by Nancy Huang