The Seafood Shack: Food & Tales from the Scottish Highlands, written by Kirsty Scobie and Fenella Renwick, pairs over 80 recipes with personal stories and detailed fish/shellfish tips for the home kitchen. A few highlights include Haddock Fish Cakes, Pan-Fried Smoked Mackerel, Buttered Oysters, Barbecued Lobster, and Hot Garlic Crab Claws. I will also be sharing their recipe for Crab and Avocado Rolls following the review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Interlink Books in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Kirsty Scobie and Fenella Renwick
Kirsty Scobie was born and raised in Ullapool, Scotland. She started cooking in the kitchen at a young age along with her sisters and worked in catering and seafood for a few years before opening The Seafood Shack.
Fenella Renwick was born in Achmore, Scotland. Her mother has run a seafood restaurant in Kyle of Lochalsh for over 30 years and her dad was a fisherman. She also worked in catering and seafood.
Together, they opened The Seafood Shack in May 2016 in Ullapool. This seasonal spot is open for seven months of the year with a menu that changes daily based on availability from the fishermen’s catch. In 2017, they won for the Best Streetfood/Takeaway at the BBC Food and Farming Awards.
The Seafood Shack
The Seafood Shack begins with Kirsty and Fenella’s opening of The Seafood Shack, how they got started, and their day to day life. Among the pages, they have also included the stories and quotes from local fishermen and fishmongers for a wonderful personal touch.
I especially love the focus on Ullapool’s fishing history from its founding in 1788 to the present day working port and tourist destination. For those new to handling fish, Kirsty and Fenella have put together a detailed guide on choosing, buying, and working with a variety of seafood.
Chapters are divided based on type of seafood: Introduction, White Fish, Smoked Fish, Molluscs, Crustaceans, Sides, and Sauces & Dressings.
The photography is provided by Clair Irwin. Most of the recipes are accompanied by a full-page photo of the finished dish. You will also find a few step-by-step photos to demonstrate techniques such as how to fillet a monkfish tail, shuck a scallop/oyster, and dissect a lobster.
Measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric. Each recipe has a headnote with background information, personal stories, serving size, helpful tips, and variations. Titles are written in English.
Crab and Avocado Rolls
I have been wanting to try more crab recipes and these Crab and Avocado Rolls were such a perfect option for lunch. They come together so easily in about 10-15 minutes and only a few ingredients. Kirsty and Fenella mention they also are great for picnics or taking to work.
The crab meat is simply combined with finely chopped red chili pepper, scallions, lime juice and zest, avocados, parsley, crème fraîche, and mayonnaise to create a creamy mixture. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Serve the Crab and Avocado Rolls with fresh salad greens and your favorite bread (I opted for pretzel rolls from a local bakery).
The Seafood Shack also has a variation for Langoustine and Avocado Rolls using cooked and peeled langoustines (or jumbo shrimp) and their Marie Rose sauce.
I also made the Haddock Wrap with Lemon Mayo and Pesto, Spiney Popcorn, Crushed Baby Potatoes with Butter and Herbs, and Roasted Garlic Aioli.
The Haddock Wrap with Lemon Mayo and Pesto is The Seafood Shack’s most popular dish and I can definitely see why now! Fresh haddock fillets are coated in a tempura batter and fried until crispy and golden brown. They are served in a tortilla wrap with a homemade lemon mayonnaise, pesto, mixed greens, and sliced vegetables.
The Spiney Popcorn uses the same perfectly crisp tempura batter as the Haddock Wrap. Cooked and peeled spineys (or shrimp as I used) are coated in the batter, then fried until just golden. They are served with a homemade roasted garlic mayonnaise and lemon wedges.
Along with the abundance of seafood recipes, The Seafood Shack also has a few salads, sides, condiments, and flavored butters to accompany the meal. The Crushed Baby Potatoes with Butter and Herbs are such an easy and delicious side. Baby potatoes are steamed, then tossed with melted butter, herbs, and lemon juice while lightly crushing to help absorb all the flavors.
I made the Roasted Garlic Aioli to pair with the Spiney (Shrimp) Popcorn. It was so so good! A whole garlic bulb is wrapped in foil with olive oil and roasted until softened and caramelized. The cooked garlic cloves are then smashed until smooth and combined with mayonnaise and fresh chives. It can even be prepared the day before and refrigerated to really let the flavors blend.
The Seafood Shack is a great pick for those interested in a variety of seafood recipes. It is perfect for all skill levels whether you are wanting to learn how to prepare fish and shellfish at home or are looking to add new recipes to the weekly rotation. Many come together in as little as 30 minutes for quick and easy weeknight meals. The sides and additional flavors can often be prepared in advance.
Having a local source or market with fresh, good quality seafood will be helpful in preparing the recipes. Most other ingredients are readily available in the average American grocery store.
Crab and Avocado Rolls Recipe
Excerpt from The Seafood Shack
Crab and Avocado Rolls
- 9 ounces (250 grams) crab meat or meat from about 5 cooked crab claws
- 1/2 red chili pepper finely chopped
- 2 scallions finely chopped
- Juice and zest of 1/2 lime
- 2 avocados sliced
- Small handful of parsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon crème fraîche
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 4 bread rolls
- Butter for spreading
- Handful of salad greens for each roll
- Salt and black pepper
- In a bowl, mix your crab meat, chili, scallions, lime juice and zest, avocado, parsley, crème fraîche, and mayonnaise and season to taste.
- Cut the rolls in half- if you like you can toast them- and butter both sides, then pile the crab filling onto the bottom halves.
- Add some fresh salad greens to each one and put the roll tops back on.