Linda Kennedy recalls the tastes and dishes that she would associate with her childhood growing up in Limerick, before Catherine travels to San Sebastian to enjoy a culinary tour of the city with Linda's sister Fiona.
- 1 kilo of fish (a mix of pollack, salmon & some smoked fish like haddock)
- 1 handful of oats
- 1 small onion
- 2 handfuls of mussels
- 25g butter
- 225g mushrooms
- 2 bay leaf
- 600ml milk
- 25g of butter, and 25g of flour to make a Roux
- 1 or 2 tbsp double cream
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 1 tbsp dill
- 4 hard-boiled eggs
- 1.2 kg mash potato
- salt and pepper
- Add the mussels into a bowl of cold water and sprinkle in a handful of oats and leave to soak for 3-4 hours or overnight ideally.
- Drain the mussels and rinse off any oats, make sure all the mussels are still tightly shut, throw away any open ones, place into a dry pan and cook until open, takes 3-4 minutes, remove the mussels from the shell and leave to one side.
- Cook the potatoes, then mash them and put to one side.
- Hard-boil the eggs by bringing a small pan of water the boil, add the eggs and keep it at a gentle boil, set the timer for 8 mins, cook, then drain and leave to cool in a bowl of cold water.
- Cut the filleted fish into bite size bits and place them as a single layer into a large frying pan and cover with milk and season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer gently until the fish is cooked, takes about 4 minutes, once cooked remove fish and set to one side.
- Once cool flake the fish making sure to remove all skin and bones and put to one side.
- Finely chop the onion, add to a pan over a medium-low heat, stir/shake to prevent sticking or burning but don’t cover the pan, once the onions have gone soft and translucent, remove.
- Turn up the heat in the pan, add the mushrooms, season and sauté, once cooked put aside with the onions.
- To make a roux melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 min over moderate heat, take off the heat, pour in a little of the cold poaching milk, then stir until blended, continue to add the milk gradually, mixing well until you have a smooth sauce.
- Bring the liquid to the boil, add the cream, onions, mushrooms, cooked mussels (minus the shell) and all the flaked fish.
- Peel and chop the eggs and add to mixture, stir gently and check seasoning, then add the herbs.
- Spoon all of the creamy fish mixture into a large oven dish and cover the top with the mashed potato and place the dish into the pre-heated oven Gas Mark 4, 180°C (350°F) for 30 minutes, then place under a hot grill for an extra 5 mins to brown the potato on the top
- Garnish with additional parsley.
To “wet or dry cure” and ‘hot smoke’ your own fish in a biscuit tin smoker.
- Make your own dry fish cure: a 50:50 mix of granulated brown sugar and coarse sea salt or rock salt (avoid fine salt it leaves the fish too salty), also add some coarse ground black pepper & lemon zest.
- To cure the haddock, lay a sheet of clingfilm down, sprinkle on a layer of the cure, place the fish on top, and sprinkle over some more cure.
- Generally a handful of cure will be enough for a couple of small fish, wrap the fish and cure tight in clingfilm, and place in the fridge overnight.
- Remove from the fridge, rinse off the cure using water and pat dry with kitchen towel.
- Place back in the fridge uncovered for a minimum of 6-8 hours to allow the pellicle to form – this is a sticky, salty surface layer that helps the smoke particles stick to the fish.
- Make your own wet cure: Heat the water to a boil and mix in all the ingredients, add 1 litre of water, to 100g of brown sugar and 100g of salt to a pan and heat until the salt and sugar has dissolved.
- Cool to room temperature and then put the brine into the refrigerator and allow it to cool completely, as the brine must be cold when the fish is added.
- Pour the liquid into a bowl of wide container and then place your fish into it skin side up and leave to soak for 2-3 hours depending on the thickness of the fish .
- When you are ready to smoke, remove from the liquid and pat dry with paper towels and add to the smoker
- If you don’t have a smoker then use an old biscuit tin, wash it out and punch holes in the lid to allow the smoke to escape.
- Sprinkle two tablespoons of sawdust (apple wood or similar) on the base of a rectangular biscuit tin or a small handful of bbq wood chips (applewood or others) avoid hickory it’s too strong for fish.
- Put a wire rack into the tin and lay the fish, flesh side up on top.
- Put the tin over a high heat for a minute or so until the sawdust / wood starts to smoulder, or on a gas jet
- Place the lid on the tin, reduce the heat and smoke for 5 -15 minutes, turn off the heat and allow to sit unopened for 5 minutes.
- Remove the fish from the tin and add to the rest of the fish for cooking in the fish pie.