Home » Joe Knows Fish – Taking The Intimidation Out of Cooking Seafood by Joe Gurrera

Joe Knows Fish – Taking The Intimidation Out of Cooking Seafood by Joe Gurrera

by Debra C. Argen
Joe Gurrera - photo by Bill Milne
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Joe Knows Fish photo by Bill Milne Love to eat seafood but are afraid of cooking it at home? Joe Knows Fish – Taking The Intimidation Out of Cooking Seafood by Joe Gurrera is the perfect cookbook to guide you from purchasing, prepping, and preparing. Passionate about seafood, Joe Gurrera, owner of Citarella Fine Foods shares his knowledge in an approachable, humorous style with recipes that include step-by-step instructions and before and after inspiring photos that will have you cooking seafood with confidence and ease. Joe Gurerra graciously shares two recipes from Joe Knows Fish – Taking The Intimidation Out of Cooking Seafood to tempt your palate, Spaghetti Vongole and Fried Flounder. Bon Appetit!



Joe Gurrera

I grew up in a family that ate seafood albeit always in restaurants. Although my mother Victoria is a wonderful cook, cooking seafood at home was not on the menu, which for many people is still the case, because they are afraid to cook seafood. When it comes to what to look for, what to purchase, and how to prepare it, fresh seafood can often be a deterrent for home cooks. What attracted me to Joe Knows Fish is the statement on the front cover – "Taking the intimidation out of cooking seafood." That statement says it all; Joe covers all the basics that will make seafood novices into confident seafood cooks.

Joe Gurrera took time to speak with Luxury Experience about his debut cookbook, which came about because all his years in the business all his friends and customers were always telling him how hard it was to cook fish. He wanted to take the intimidation out of cooking seafood and started the cookbook with the chapter on grilling which is the easiest method to cook fish and concludes with a chapter on raw, a harder method. Easiest fish to grill? Tuna and swordfish which are denser and easier to grill. If you cannot find fresh specialty seafood where you live, Citarella ships fresh seafood overnight throughout the United States excepting Alaska and Hawaiian due to the distance.


Joe Knows Fish - photo by Bill Milne
Joe Knows Fish


The cookbook has chapters on how to Grill, Bake & Roast, Broil, Sauté, Poach & Steam, Fry, Toss With Pasta, Chill & Eat Raw, Savory Sides, and Classic Seafood Sauces. It also includes How to Prep Fish & Seafood, and Joe’s Seafood Kitchen Essentials. The before and after photographs of the fresh and cooked seafood, as well as the easy to follow steps in the recipes, make the cookbook a winner.

Joe Gurerra graciously shares two recipes from Joe Knows Fish – Taking The Intimidation Out of Cooking Seafood to tempt your palate, Spaghetti Vongole and Fried Flounder.


Cockles and Spaghetti - Joe Knows Fish - photo by Bill Milne

Spaghetti Vongole

Serves 4

"There’s a restaurant in Casa de Campo that I go to often. One day, I ordered the vongole and after my first bite I knew; the vongole was made with butter! I felt like I was eating a stickof it because that’s all I tasted – butter-not clams. Afterward I pulled the owner aside and told him he had taken the seafood flavor away from the dish by adding butter. I went back a week later, and he said, "No mantequilla, no mantequilla." So, I guess he got the point. For me, vongole is supposed to be garlic, olive oil, clams, and white wine. That’s it. Nothing else. If you’re like me and like a little heat, add red pepper flakes to taste. I find it’s a real crowd pleaser." Joe Gurrera




Raw New Zealand Cockles or Littleneck Clams



Dried Spaghetti



Sea Salt



Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Garlic Cloves minced



Dry White Wine



Chopped Flat-Leaf Parsley

Red Pepper Flakes, for serving (optional)

Method: Rinse the cockles or clams thoroughly, making sure no sand remains. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and salt and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside in a large serving bowl or pasta pot.

Mean while, coat the bottom of a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven with the olive oil. Add the garlic and heat the pan over low, stirring frequently, until the garlic just starts to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Add the cockles and wine and cover the pan. Steam until the shells open, about 8 minutes, discarding any that do not open. (You can continue to cook the unopened ones for a few more minutes because some may take a little longer.)

Gently spoon the open cockles in their shells and the cooking liquid over the pasta in the reserved bowl or pot. Add the parsley and gently toss until the pasta is thoroughly coated with the broth. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes if desired. Divide the pasta between 4 shallow bowls and top with the cockles in their shells and a few spoonfuls of broth. Serve immediately.

Joe Says: "I use cockles in my vongole sauce because they’re small and delicate and the shells look nice, sometimes with a slight greenish hue. You can substitute littlenecks if you can’t find cockles."


Fried Fish  - Joe Knows Fish - photo by Bill Milne

Fried Flounder

Serves 4

"I opt not to fry anything too rich or with too much flavor – like sardines, for example. You could, but they wouldn’t taste as good. On the other hand, light and flaky flounder has a delicate flavor that makes it a great choice for frying. It’s no surprise that in England and Ireland, flounder or cod is usually the fish of choice for traditional fish & chips." – Joe Gurrera




Canola, Grapeseed, or other high-heat cooking oil



Wondra Flour or All-Purpose Flour


6-8 ounce

Skinless Flounder Fillets

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

Tartar Sauce, store bought or homemade

Method: Pour the oil into a large pot, Dutch oven, or fryer. It should be at least 2 inches deep. Heat the oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t own a candy thermometer or oil thermometer, simply sprinkle a pinchof flour into the oil. It is sizzles, it’s ready.

Meanwhile, put the flour in a shallow dish. Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towel. Dredge the fish fillets in the flour, shaking off any excess.

When the oil is hot, using a slotted spoon or spider, gently slide the fish into the oil and fry for 1½ minutes, then transfer to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain, frying in batches as necessary. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Serve with tartar sauce.

Suggested Side: Red Cabbage Slaw.

Excerpted from Joe Knows Fish, © 2018 by Joe Gurrera. Reproduced by permission. All rights reserved. Photo credit Bill Milne.

A Little about Joe Gurrera

"Joe Gurrera is the owner of Citarella, a group of popular epicurean markets, which started with one of the original and most respected neighborhood seafood shops in New York. A 40-year veteran of the seafood business, Joe’s passion for fish started when he was a boy, working in his family’s fish shop in Greenwich Village. He grew up learning firsthand the subtle differences between the flavors and textures of dozens of varieties of seafood."

When not busy working or cooking seafood, Joe can be found out on the golf course. When I spoke with him he was looking forward to attending the US Open.

Joe Knows Fish is available for $24.99 in Hardcover at Citarella Fine Foods as well as online at: www.Citarella.com, Joe Knows Fish, and Amazon. ISBN: 978-0-692-07858-7.

For information on Citarella Fine Foods, please visit the website: www.Citarella.com

Follow Luxury Experience on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LuxuryExperienceto see photos and videos.

Follow Luxury Experience on Twitter at www.twitter/LuxuryPair

© June 2018. Luxury Experience.www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved.

Related Articles