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Texas Seafood

Texas Seafood
A Cookbook and Comprehensive Guide

A sumptuous cookbook and illustrated guide to identifying, catching, buying, cooking, and savoring more than two hundred species of fish and seafood from the Texas Gulf.

November 2019
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320 pages | 7 x 9 | 151 illus. |

The abundance of seafood available from the northwest Gulf of Mexico includes hundreds of delicious species that are often overlooked by consumers. Celebrating this regional bounty, Texas Seafood showcases the expertise of longtime fishmongers and chefs PJ and "Apple Srimart" Stoops. Readers will find familiar fish like Red Snapper along with dozens of little-known finfish and invertebrates, including tunas, mackerels, rays, and skates, as well as bivalves, shrimps, crabs, and other varieties, many of which are considered “bycatch” (seafood that a fisher didn’t intend to catch), but that are no more difficult to prepare and just as delicious as those commonly found at your local supermarket.

The Stoopses provide a complete primer on sourcing these wild-caught delicacies, with fascinating details about habitats and life cycles as well as practical advice on how to discern quality. Texas Seafood concludes with simple, delectable recipes, many infused with the flavors of Apple’s Thai heritage. Dishes such as Steamed Curried Crab, Crispy White Shrimp, Escolar on a Grill with Green Mango Salad, Cast-Iron-Roasted Shortfin Mako Shark with Rio Grande Grapefruit, and Chicken-Fried Ribbonfish are just a few ways to savor the best of the Gulf.

  • Introduction
    • 1. The Gulf and Fishing
  • Fish
    • 2. Inshore Mixed Bag
    • 3. Croakers (Sciaenidae) and Grunts (Haemulidae)
    • 4. Jacks (Carangidae)
    • 5. Great and Small Pelagic Fish: Tunas and Mackerels (Scombridae) and Herrings (Clupeidae)
    • 6. Snappers (Lutjanidae)
    • 7. Groupers and Seabass (Serranidae)
    • 8. Offshore Reef, Rubble, and Rock Fish
    • 9. Deepwater Groundfish
    • 10. Assorted Blue-Water Pelagic Fish
    • 11. On the Subject of Gulf Marine Eels
    • 12. Rays, Skates, and Sharks
  • Invertebrates
    • 13. Bivalves, Gastropods, Cephalopods, and Oddball Invertebrates
    • 14. Shrimp, Crabs, and Other Crustaceans
    • 15. A Few Words about Edible Plants Found Close to the Water’s Edge
    • 16. Some Honorary Freshwater Inclusions
  • Nuts and Bolts
    • 17. Finding, Buying, and Processing Seafood
    • 18. The ABCs
    • 19. Buying and Storing Seafood
    • 20. Cutting Fish, Cleaning Crabs, and Shucking Oysters
  • Recipes
    • 21. Whole Fish
    • 22. Cut Fish
    • 23. Crustaceans
    • 24. Bivalves, Gastropods, and Cephalopods
    • 25. Preserving the Catch
    • 26. Bits and Pieces
  • Acknowledgments
  • Appendix I. Common Seafood Hazards
  • Appendix II. Species Not Described but of Interest
  • Further Reading
  • Recipe Index
  • General Index

PJ Stoops and Benchalak Srimart Stoops
Houston, Texas

The Stoopses are experienced fishmongers and were the chefs at Foreign Correspondent, a farm-to-table northern Thai eatery that was named one of Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurants in 2015. PJ Stoops was also the driving force behind Houston’s “Total Catch Market,” a regular event that sold bycatch seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.


“A valuable compendium no matter where you live, Texas Seafood encourages you to explore uncommon varieties from your local fishmonger.”
Wall Street Journal

“By documenting in such detail what's below the surface in our Texas waters, [Texas Seafood] reveals a treasure. Not just for a local market but beyond: the national and even global market.”
Edible Houston

“"A compendium of just about all the seafood you can eat—and catch—in Texas…an important addition to every local foodie's culinary library.”
Edible San Antonio

“'Comprehensive' is an understatement for this book…After the insightful fish facts and tips on catching, buying, and prepping seafood, the recipes are a revelation…Texas Seafood proves to be equal parts culinary encyclopedia, environmentalist manifesto, and love letter to the Gulf.”
Texas Monthly

“From familiar species, such as shrimp, tuna, crab, and red snapper, to the lesser-known (yet delicious) species often overlooked by consumers, Texas Seafood is a celebration of our regional bounty.”
The Literary South

“A comprehensive volume that guides the reader through hundreds of lesser-known edible species found in the Gulf waters along the Texas Coast...This encyclopedic hardcover is a must have for anyone [interested] in the food and fish of Texas.”
Houston Food Finder

“From steamed curried crab to chicken-fried ribbonfish, [Texas Seafood's] meals will have readers eating like they're right on the Texas Gulf Coast.”

“[Texas Seafood is] a must-have for anyone even remotely interested in the bounty the state's waters have to offer…This one's a catch, y'all. Don't miss out.”
San Antonio Express-News

“PJ and Benchalak Stoops have written the definitive book on the seafood that comes out of the Gulf. The recipes are superb and the food is glorious, but the bigger message is the one that is vital to the national discourse: our planet is in the midst of a global food and climate crisis. Eating locally, cooking less popular species of smaller fish, and broadening our vision of what seafood on our plate looks like is a lasting legacy that makes Texas Seafood one of the most important cookbooks of this or any year.”
Andrew Zimmern, James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, and author

“PJ and Benchalak Stoops are true stewards of our Gulf. They understand how to source seafood—but also how to cook it—and have helped me open our guests’ eyes to new and delicious species of fish. This book should be a learning tool in every restaurant in Texas and beyond.”
Chris Shepherd, James Beard Award-winning chef/owner, Underbelly Hospitality

“This is a delicious work of culinary scholarship that reads as a love letter to seafood and Texas. It is at once humble and astoundingly expert and well-researched. PJ and Benchalak Stoops offer an essential recipe for Texas seafood with equal parts wit, respect, creativity, and a wise and worldly understanding of the nuances of sustainability and culture. For chefs, cooks, anglers, and anyone interested in local lore, this book is relevant far beyond the Lone Star State as it reminds us to celebrate all things salty, scaled, and shelled.”
Barton Seaver, founder, Chief Education Officer, Seafood Literacy


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Available on the Apple Store

This book may also be available on the following library platforms; check with your local library:
3M Cloud Library/bibliotheca