Congratulations to Bord Bia on a fantastic Bloom this year. I think it was their best ever. The weather helped. It was brilliantly organised and great to see so many producers back again. I met so many people, including Birgitta Curtin from The Burren Smokehouse in Lisdoonvarna. We use her smoked salmon in the restaurant and you might try it for one of today’s recipes.
Tuna steak is getting very popular and with the recent good weather, these Asian-style burgers make a nice change from regular beef burgers. Instead of a bun, I like them with some fragrant greens. The toasted sesame oil gives a lovely flavour. Use whatever leafy green vegetables you have to hand.
This smoked salmon is the perfect quick starter. I recently visited Grantstown Nurseries in Ballygunner, near Waterford, where David Currid is growing delicious tomatoes on his environmentally-friendly farm. There are lots of good white crab meat producers these days. For the restaurant, we get ours from Shellfish Ireland at Castletownbere in west Cork.
Asian-style tuna burgers on fragrant greens
500g (1lb 2oz) fresh tuna steak, well chilled
4 spring onions, trimmed
1 mild red chilli, deseeded (optional)
Finely grated rind of 1 lime
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Small handful of fresh coriander leaves
1–2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the fragrant greens
400g (14oz) pak choi, cut across into strips 2.5cm (1in) wide
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds, plus extra to garnish
1 Blitz the tuna, spring onions, chilli (if using) lime rind, basil and coriander in a food processor, or chop them all up together finely with a good, sharp chef’s knife. Using slightly wetted hands, divide into four equal pieces, then shape into patties.
2 When you’re ready to cook, light the barbecue or heat a griddle pan until it’s smoking hot. Brush the tuna burgers all over with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Add to the barbecue over medium coals, or if using a griddle pan, reduce the heat to medium.
3 Cook for two minutes on each side, until cooked through but still a little pink – the exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of the burgers and how well you like your tuna cooked, but tuna is usually enjoyed at a medium or medium-rare doneness.
4 Meanwhile, steam the pak choi for a couple of minutes, until just tender. Put the soy sauce in a screw-topped jar with the vinegar, honey, sesame oil and sesame seeds and shake until well combined.
5 Divide the fragrant greens among warmed plates and drizzle over the soy sauce dressing. Top each one with a tuna burger and garnish with another sprinkling of sesame seeds.
Smoked salmon and crab tian
350g (12oz) smoked salmon strips
2 firm, ripe avocados
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and diced
1 tbsp snipped fresh chives, plus extra to garnish
A little extra virgin olive oil
Dash of balsamic vinegar
350g (12oz) fresh white crab meat
4 tbsp crème fraîche
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp chopped fresh dill
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Baby salad leaves, to serve (optional)
Freshly sliced bread, to serve
1 Place 4 x 8cm (3¼in) cooking rings in the centre of serving plates and arrange half of the smoked salmon strips in the bottom of each one, cutting them down to size as necessary.
2 Cut the avocados in half and remove the stones, peel and cut each half into slices. Put a nice overlapping layer of avocado slices on top of the salmon.
3 Make a quick tomato salsa with the tomatoes and chives and dress with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then season with salt and pepper. Use to cover the avocado, then add another layer of the smoked salmon, using it all up. Cover with the crab in a nice, even layer.
4 Mix together the crème fraîche and mayonnaise with the dill and place a dollop on each tian, then garnish with chives and scatter some small baby salad leaves, dressed with the olive oil around the edges of the plates, if you like.
5 Serve immediately with buttered slices of warm, fresh bread.