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For the Kitchen Bookshelf : Cookbooks. Big books, little books, showy cocktail table books . . . all arrive in time for holiday shopping each year. The Times' Food staff took a look at some of this year's offerings, many of which will make excellent gift choices for last-minute shoppers. Here's a rundown on some we found interesting.

December 21, 1986|Rose Dosti

The Seafood Cookbook: Classic to Contemporary by Pierre Franey and Bryan Miller (Times Books: $22.50, 296 pp., illustrated).

Pierre Franey's books are well-known to fans who have followed his columns in the New York Times over the years. Franey is a professional chef who has managed to infiltrate the world of publishing as well. More power to him. His books are good, the recipes outstanding and the language comprehensible, which is not always the case when a recipe comes from a chef.

The idea of combining classical recipes with contemporary recipes was smart. So you have old classics, such as paella Valenciana, bouillabaisse Provencale, brandade de morue (mousse of salted cod), as well as new things. We like the ring of carpaccio of tuna with ginger and lime dressing, feta, shrimp salad, flounder fillets coated with macadamia nuts, barbecued shrimp with Pernod butter sauce. And many others.

Franey also gives excellent instructions (with sketches) for handling the fish in a separate chapter; a fish nutrition chart, which might help the restricted dieter decide what fish to buy, and helpful instructions on various cooking methods.

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