Today is something of a celebration of the work of our fishing industry. I have enjoyed meeting so many interesting and hard-working people while filming Seafood Trails for RTÉ, and look forward to being back out around the coast filming in September and October. Here is something I didn’t expect: when I ask, “what it your favourite fish?” of the different fisherpeople I encounter, haddock turns out to be the most popular.
The first salmon dish today is a good, one-tray dinner that you could make with haddock, trout, hake or monkfish. Samphire is a green vegetable that is a little like seaweed, with a crisp texture and salty taste. Some supermarkets are now stocking it in their herb sections, but you might also see it on wet fish counters.
Fish cakes can be made ahead and, during the summer holidays, this is a good recipe for children to try. It is full of vegetables. I also like this with mackerel or smoked cod. The curry paste adds a little spicy taste, but it is subtle and mild.
Again, the peach Melba panna cotta can be made ahead of time and is a delicious, light dessert. This is a good time for peaches, apricots or strawberries. Panna cotta is a set Italian cream. If served in glasses, this dessert looks and tastes absolutely delicious.
Serves four to six
1kg (2¼lb) floury potatoes, peeled and diced
175g (6oz) mixed frozen vegetables (such as sweetcorn and peas)
400g (14oz) salmon fillet
300ml (½ pint) milk
1 bunch of spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp mild curry paste
4 tbsp plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
100g (4oz) panko (toasted breadcrumbs)
1 tbsp sesame seeds
4 tbsp sunflower oil
Mixed salad leaves, to serve
For the lemon mayonnaise:
6 tbsp mayonnaise
1 lemon, halved
2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling, salted water for 15-20 minutes, until tender.
2. Cook the frozen vegetables in a pan of salted water for two to three minutes, or according to packet instructions. Drain and refresh under cold running water, to prevent them from cooking further.
3. Meanwhile, place the salmon in a large pan, pour over the milk, then cover and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave the fish to finish cooking in the hot milk.
4. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan, then mash well until smooth. Beat in the vegetables, spring onions, parsley and curry paste.
5. Transfer the cooked salmon to a plate using a fish slice. Break up the flesh into rough flakes, discarding any skin and bones. Gently fold the flaked salmon into the mashed potato and vegetable mixture. Season to taste.
6. Using a small ice cream scoop, shape the salmon and potato mixture into 18 even-sized balls. Then, using slightly wetted hands, shape into patties. Arrange on a baking sheet and leave to cool completely, then cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least two hours (overnight is best), to allow the fish cakes to firm up.
7. Place the flour on a plate and season generously. Put the beaten eggs in a shallow dish and place the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds in a separate dish. Dust the chilled fish cakes in the seasoned flour, then carefully dip them in the beaten eggs, then coat in the sesame breadcrumbs.
8. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the sunflower oil on medium heat. Place the fishcakes in the hot pan and cook, flipping frequently, until golden brown on all sides and completely heated through.
9. Make the mayonnaise by mixing all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
10. Serve the hot fishcakes with a good dollop of the lemon mayonnaise and a side of fresh, green salad, if desired.
675g baby new potatoes, unpeeled and sliced
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
4 x 150g boneless, skinless salmon fillets
2 cherry tomato vines, snipped in half
40g samphire (see intro)
Knob of butter
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the gremolata:
A good handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, finely grated
Finely grated rind of ½ lemon
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark four).
2. Put the potato slices in a colander and rinse in the sink under cold, running water. Dry well with kitchen paper. Then, tip the potatoes into a large roasting tin, lined with parchment paper, and drizzle with half of the oil. Season with salt.
3. Mix with your hands until evenly coated, then roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, to make the gremolata, simply mix together the parsley, garlic, lemon rind and pine nuts.
5. Remove the potatoes from the oven and give them a good toss, then make room for the salmon and add the cherry tomato vines. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle over the rest of the oil. Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through and tender, and the cherry tomatoes have started to split.
6. Five minutes before the traybake is ready to come out of the oven, put the samphire into a heatproof bowl and pour over just enough boiled water to cover. Leave for four minutes, then drain and stir in the butter.
7. Squeeze the lemon juice over the salmon, then scatter the samphire and gremolata all over the roasting tin. Serve straight to the table.
4 large ripe peaches
4 gelatine leaves
1 vanilla pod
600ml (1 pint) milk
300ml (½ pint) cream
150g (5oz) caster sugar
4 tbsp thick Greek-style yoghurt
100g (4oz) fresh raspberries
1. Peel three of the peaches with a vegetable peeler. Cut the flesh off the stones and put in a blender or NutriBullet. Blend to a purée – you need about 200ml (7fl oz) in total.
2. Soak the gelatine in a bowl of water for 10 minutes to swell, then gently squeeze dry. Split the vanilla pod in half, lengthways, and scrape out the seeds. Put in a pan with the milk, cream and sugar. Bring to the boil, then take the pan off the heat.
3. Stir in the squeezed gelatine and peach purée. Strain the mixture into a jug and cool. Once the peaches and cream mixture is cold, pour it into six 175ml (6fl oz) serving glasses and put in the fridge to set for at least four hours (or overnight is fine).
4. Remove the panna cottas from the fridge just before serving. Dice the remaining peaches and arrange on top with a spoonful of yoghurt and the raspberries.