Barton Seaver’s For Cod & Country

Barton’s Seaver’s new cookbook, For Cod & Country, is out today. Barton is well known for his work developing delicious, innovative recipes for ocean-friendly fish and shellfish. He has shared some of his recipes with Blue Ocean Institute in the past, and has served as a Blue Ocean Institute fellow. Now he is offering his recipes to the public in For Cod & Country.

There are many things that I like about this book. Not only do the recipes feature ocean-friendly seafood, but Barton’s recipes are built on delicious flavor combinations that work well together, even if they are novel or unexpected. He gives clear directions (including tips on how to shop for fish), discusses different cooking techniques (brining, grilling, cold smoking), and offers many “pantry” recipes for salsas, grill salts, and sauces. He discusses the health benefits of fish (Omega-3s) and cautions readers regarding mercury and other toxins.

One of the points that Barton emphasizes in his book is that portions should be reasonable (he suggests serving five ounce portions, which is plenty), and that people should rely on vegetables to make up the rest of the main course. For this reason, his book offers many outstanding recipes for vegetable sides, accompaniments, and salads. The book is organized around the four seasons, and this is reflected in the vegetables featured over the course of the year.

Barton’s philosophy, commitment, and distinctive voice are present on every page. The book is also beautifully designed and is illustrated with vivid photographs.

See Barton cook Striped Bass here (cook-wise-episode-2.html) while Blue Ocean Institute founder Carl Safina discusses the recovery of the Striped Bass population. – Roz Cummins

Smoked Sardines with Mixed Greens and Fig-Olive Dressing

This might be the most elegant salad to ever come largely from a can. Sardines are the most economical seafood out there—plus, you get great flavor and versatility. Try to find a greens mix that has a fair bit of arugula in it, as its peppery notes pair perfectly with the other flavors in the salad. The figs create a nice counterpoint to the salty punch of the olives and the smoky rich sardines. If you cannot find fresh figs, dried ones are fine, but be sure to soak them in hot water for a few hours or overnight to soften them up.

6 fresh figs, stemmed and quartered

1/4 cup pitted green olives (my favorite is picholine), chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


2 roasted red peppers, store-bought or homemade

1/4 pound mixed greens

Two 4-ounce cans smoked skinless sardine fillets

For the dressing, toss together the figs, olives, lemon juice, and olive oil in a small bowl. Season generously with salt and toss to combine.

Cut the peppers into strips and divide between 2 serving plates. Divide the greens between the plates. Drain the sardines and separate the fillets. Place on top of the salad, then spoon over the vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Serves 2 as a main course

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