the appetizer:

The Young Man & the Sea by David Pasternack presents new twists on seafood recipes, like Seafood Salad Esca, Fettucine, Rock Shrimp, Corn & Jalapeño, and Shad Roe with Dandelion Greens and Mustard Vinaigrette.



The Young Man & the Sea
Recipes & Crispy Fish Tales from Esca

by David Pasternack and Ed Levine

Dave Pasternack has gills...well, almost. He understands fish—how to catch them, source them, buy them and how to cook them. He grew up fishing and almost any day, when he's not manning the helm at New York City's famed restaurant Esca, that's exactly where you'll find him—on a boat.

The Young Man & the Sea: Recipes & Crispy Fish Tales from Esca by David Pasternack and Ed Levine is the most important fish-cooking book of the decade from a colorful salt-of-the-sea chef and fish-lover. Culling from his encyclopedic knowledge of creatures of the sea, Pasternack offers informative sections on the various types of fish, such as tentacled species including calamari, cuttlefish, octopus and scungilli ("If you understand what each tentacled species is and how to prepare it, you'll find that cooking these leggy wonders is actually easy and fun"). His tuna advice covers albacore, bonita, blackfin, big eye, bluefin and yellowfin ("No matter what kind of tuna you buy, make sure it doesn't have too many veins or ribbons of exposed cartilage, which means it wasn't bled correctly"), Pasternack also includes his recommendations for buying, preparing and serving shrimp, scallops and whole fish.

When Esca first opened in 2000, Pasternack would go fishing on his day off, bringing his catch of the day into the Manhattan restaurant on the Long Island Rail Road in a plastic bag lined with ice. "That's the kind of dedication and passion that I like in friends and colleagues," says famed chef and restaurant business partner Mario Batali in the book's Foreword. "Dave has a real understanding of what the Italians call materie prime—the raw ingredients—and he does a great job making them available for any palate to explore and understand."

More than cooking school, Pasternack's experience has taught him what he knows about cooking fish—an understanding of how flavors work, how certain fish marry well with various oils, acids, textures, herbs or vegetables. His first book is a love letter to fish—the compilation of all that he has learned since his days fishing as a boy with his father—peppered with colorful stories and quotes from a life on the water.

A salty selection of sections includes:

  • Starters, Salads, Soups, & Stews—Recipes include Peekytoe Crab Salad with Pink Grapefruit, Esca's famed Zuppe di Pesce Amalfitano and Grilled Tomatoes with Bread Crumbs and Anchovies as well as a story about Pasternack's favorite fishmonger
  • My Salmon Eskimo Man—The amusing story of Frank, Pasternack's Salmon supplier who lives in a fishing camp in a town of 150 people on Cook Inlet in Alaska
  • Crudo—The dish that put Pasternack on the map. From Albacore Crudo with Caperberries to Two-Minute Cherrystone Clam Ceviche and Nantucket Bay Scallops with Lemon and Chervil to Weakfish with Chives
  • Grillin', Gillin', & Chillin'—Dave's idea of a perfect summer day with recipes such as Tuna on a Flank, Grilled Porgy with Salsa Verde and Braised Carrots and Grilled Red Snapper with Peperonata
  • Roasted, Baked, & Poached—Includes the story "The Special of the Day (and Night)" and recipes from Slow-Roasted Black Cod and Salt-Baked Pesce per Due, to Whole Turbot with Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange and Cod with Polenta and Sauteed Wild Mushrooms

With fish tales as tasty as the more than 100 recipes and the provocative photography of Christopher Hirscheimer, The Young Man & the Sea is as much a feast for the appetite as it is for the eyes. Pasternack's stories and Dave-isms ("Cod is king!") paint a vivid picture of this extraordinarily talented, one-of-a-kind chef and fisherman who, according to Batali, "never shrinks from telling the truth, on the plate or at the table."

About the Authors

When New York-born-and-bred chef David Pasternack is not in the kitchen of his seafood mecca, Esca, he can be found fishing in the Atlantic—from the Rockaways to Montauk Point. In 2004 he won the James Beard Foundation award for best New York City chef. Prior to opening Esca, Dave worked in the kitchens of Bouley and Picholine. He lives in Long Beach with his wife, Donna Peltz, and their daughter. Ruby. This is his first book.

Co-author Ed Levine is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and SeriousEats.com, a Web site with fresh video, blogs and conversation that is home base for passionate, discerning eaters on the Internet. He is the author of Pizza: A Slice of Heaven, New York Eats, and New York Eats (More), and a radio and television producer and host whose shows have been nominated for James Beard Foundation awards four years in a row. He lives in New York City with his wife, Vicky Bijur.

  • The Young Man & the Sea
  • Recipes & Crispy Fish Tales from Esca
  • by David Pasternack; Ed Levine
  • Photographs by Christopher Hirsheimer
  • William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers 2007
  • Hardcover; 272 pp. $35.00 (US) $45.00 (CAN)
  • ISBN 9781579652760 (157965276X)
  • Information provided by the publisher.

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The Young Man & the Sea


This page created August 2007

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