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  • The story of fish

    It's often argued that, for an island nation, Ireland lacks a strong seafood tradition. However, there is evidence that the Irish diet exploited the waters as well as the land.

    Salmon has long been an important fish, as its appearance in Irish mythology suggests. Archaeological remains suggest that fish traps were used to harvest salmon in summer months and eels in autumn.

    Fish was an important source of food for early monastic settlements, and later became associated with Christian penance through the tradition of eating fish on meat-free Fridays.

    While inland counties relied on either preserved fish (smoked mackerel or herring and salted ling, known as ‘battleboard’) or limited fresh fish brought inland by ‘cadgers’ (travelling fishmongers), 18th-century records show that coastal areas enjoyed everything from herring, hake, haddock and whiting to turbot, trout, salmon and eel.

    Later, blossom (black pollock), rock salmon (dogfish) and ray (skate) became popular staples in Dublin’s fish’n’chip shops.

    Hake and chorizo with salsa verde

    Hake and Chorizo with Salsa Verde

    Quantity Ingredients
    8 x 100g hake fillets
    220g carrots
    10 baby carrots
    50g butter
    3 large Rooster potatoes
    8 slices Irish chorizo
    1 tbsp rapeseed oil
      Salt and pepper
    For the salsa verde:  
    1 tbsp chopped capers
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    4 anchovies
    1 tbsp mustard
    1 lemon zest
    1 large bunch of rocket leaves
    100ml rapeseed oil
      Herbs such as parsley, tarragon and mint

    Method

    1. To make the rosti, grate parboiled potatoes and season, shape into eight small potato cakes. 

    2. Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan, and brown both sides of the rosti. Remove and place on a tray.

    3. Cook carrots in boiling salted water with a few thyme leaves. 

    4. Strain and blend to a purée and pass through a fine sieve. Season well.

    5. Peel baby carrots, cook in boiling salted water until tender.  

    6. To make the salsa verde, chop the herbs and rocket and blend with some of the oil, capers, garlic, anchovies, mustard and lemon zest. Add the rest of the oil if needed and season well.

    7. Cook the rosti in a preheated oven at 180C, for about 10 minutes.

    8. Season the hake, and panfry skin side down for about 2 - 3 minutes, turn down the heat and turn over the fish and cook for a further 5 minutes. Heat the puree and baby carrots.

    9. Place the two rosti on a plate, with carrot purée between them and add the baby carrots.

    10. Place the hake on the potato rosti and put a warm slice of chorizo on top.

    11. Finish with a drizzle of salsa verde.

    Did You Know?

    ...that herrings were once a popular and plentiful fish in Ireland. Salted by housewives, cooked on a coal shovel over the firebox by steam-train drivers and a favourite of Jonathan Swift who would “eat them with pure fresh butter and mustard, their bellies… soft, and as white as custard”.

    230x100 Mark-Murphy Original

    Find out more about the creator of this delicious recipe.

    Read more about Food Champion Mark Murphy

    Hake has a delicate taste. I would suggest pairing it with vegetables such as spinach, carrot, lightly zested courgettes, and use simple sauces such as the salsa verde or light dressings such as lemon and thyme.


    Mark Murphy
    The Roast House, Co Kerry