Smoked Cod Cakes by Maura O’Connell Foley

Maura_CodCakes_057

These cod cakes can be made in advance and frozen for up to one month, making them ideal to be served at any time of day, be that breakfast, lunch or a light supper with Tartare sauce and a green salad. The cakes can also be deep-fried for a crispier result in a canape or starter size. To do so, shape the mixture into small balls (golf ball size) and deep fry in hot oil until golden brown.

Ingredients

  •  Makes around 15-20 small cakes
  • 450g undyed smoked cod
  • 285ml cold milk, for poaching
  • 285ml water, for poaching
  • 45g butter
  • 45g plain white flour
  • 285ml whole milk
  • Sea salt and cracked
  • black pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 55g freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or
  • mature Coolea gouda cheese
  • 115g fresh soft white breadcrumbs
  • Oil and clarified butter to shallow fry, or oil for deep fat frying

Method

Place the cod in a medium saucepan and cover with the milk and water. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, then reduce to a low heat to gently poach for 5 minutes or until the cod flakes easily. Remove the cod from the poaching liquid and flake into chunky pieces, removing any bones, sinew or skin.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. Add the flour and cook for a further 2 minutes, continuing to stir with a whisk. Turn up to a medium heat and gradually pour in the milk, continuing to stir and cook for at least 6 minutes until the sauce is a very thick consistency (like choux pastry). Season to taste. Turn down to a low heat and add the eggs slowly, stirring vigorously to blend and ensure a smooth consistency. Stir in the cheese. Remove from the heat.

Gently mix in the fish, being careful to keep the fish in generous chunks. With the breadcrumbs in a bowl nearby, take heaped tablespoons of the cod mixture and gently coat in the breadcrumbs, not pressing or handling too much. If shallow frying, make small little cakes. If deep fat frying, shape into small round balls (golf ball size).

Place on a tray and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge before frying, not covering to avoid soggy breadcrumbs.

Heat enough clarified butter and oil in a wide frying pan to cover the base, then shallow fry for 3 minutes either side until golden brown. Repeat in batches until all the cakes are cooked. Alternatively, deep fry in batches until golden brown.

Tartare Sauce
Tartare sauce is a classic sauce for deep fried fish or any fried fish in general. The key to this sauce is its piquancy. I serve it with crab cakes and smoked cod cakes. Capers grow wild in a bush in the Mediterranean and should be much more expensive given that they must be handpicked, only when ripe and at a specific time of day. They are also cultivated, but even then, they cannot be picked by machine. If using salted capers, ensure you rinse off the salt. Large capers can be chopped; if using small capers, do not chop.

Ingredients
Makes 250ml

  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 15g English mustard
  • 215ml sunflower oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves, flat leaf or curly
  • 3 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped if large or whole if small
  • Sea salt and cracked
  • black pepper

Method

Beginning with the base of a mayonnaise, place the egg yolks and mustard in a food processor and start the machine running. Very slowly, trickle in the oil through the funnel, being careful to avoid splitting the mayonnaise. Once the mixture starts to thicken, the oil can be added more confidently and quickly. Add the vinegar, adding more mustard if desired. Tip into a bowl and finish by mixing through the chives, parsley and capers. Season to taste.

Cook more from this book
Twice Baked Cheese Soufflé by Maura O’Connell Foley
Rum and Walnut Tart with Rum Butterscotch Sauce by Maura O’Connell Foley

Buy this book
€35 Order from mywildatlantickitchen.com 

(The book is also available from Amazon
My Wild Atlantic Kitchen: Recipes and Recollections
£35, Maura O’Connell Foley)

Read the review 
Coming soon

 

Coddle by Jp McMahon

Phaidon Irish Food Bible

CODDLE

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour
Serves: 8

Coddle, or Dublin coddle to be more precise, is a dish made up of leftover sausages and bacon. Traditionally, the sausages and bacon were cut up and combined with onions and potatoes and left to stew in a light broth. Though often unappetizing to look at, the dish was made famous by several Irish writers, from Jonathan Swift to James Joyce and Sean O’Casey. Modern versions include barley and carrots. It is essentially a dish that grew out of poverty and famine and then migrated into the working-­class areas of Dublin at the beginning of the twentieth century to become a dish of central importance to the people who lived there. Often it contained a drop of Guinness (or it was eaten with plenty of pints and soda bread). It is said that the housewives would prepare the coddle during the day and it would sit on the stove until the men returned home from the pub. The word itself is derived from the verb ‘to coddle’ or ‘to cook’ (from French caulder). With its associations of poverty, it is surprising to find ‘authentic’ recipes, especially given the status of the dish as being made with whatever leftovers were to hand (as in pig’s trotters/feet, pork ribs, etc.). Some associate it with the Catholic Church’s insistence of abstaining from meat on a Friday. Coddle was a way of using up the bacon and sausages on a Thursday. In this recipe, I fry the ingredients before covering them with the stock, but traditionally they were just layered and simmered until cooked.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed (canola) oil, plus extra if needed
  • 500 g sausages, cut into pieces if preferred
  • 500 g streaky (regular) bacon, cut into pieces
  • 500 g onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 kg (9 medium) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper

 
METHOD:

Warm the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the sausages and bacon and fry for about 10 minutes until they have a nice colour. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Add the sliced onions to the pan and a little more oil if necessary. Reduce the heat and fry for about 10 minutes so that the onions caramelize slowly.

When the onions have a nice colour, return the sausages and bacon to the pan and add the thyme and bay leaves. Cover with the chicken stock (broth) and return to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the potatoes. Cook for about 30 minutes.

Add the chopped parsley and plenty of black pepper and serve.

Read the review 

Buy this book
The Irish Cookbook (Food Cook)
Phaidon, £35

The Irish Cookbook by Jp McMahon

The Irish Cookbook

What’s the USP? The Irish Cookbook arrives with impeccable timing, following the country’s Michelin success last October. It now boasts three, two-star restaurants and 18 one-star establishments across the Republic and Northern Ireland. It’s an indication of how far the country’s food scene has evolved; a decade ago there were just seven starred restaurants in total.

Who’s the author? Jp McMahon is a Michelin-starred chef and culinary director of the EATGalway restaurant group that includes the one star Aniar. He is also the founder of the annual Food on the Edge culinary congress.

Is it good bedtime reading? There’s more than just recipes in this 400-plus page book with a scope that goes far beyond modern restaurant food, delving back to pre-Neolithic times in a scholarly introduction titled ‘A Little History of Food in Ireland’ that forms part of the book’s attempt to answer the question ‘What is Irish food?’.

Killer recipes? Organised into 15 chapters, McMahon comprehensively covers Ireland’s rich and diverse natural larder from the superlative shellfish (oyster pie; sea urchins with buttermilk and tarragon) to the plentiful wild game (grouse and poteen; venison and barley stew), freshwater fish (pike with gooseberries and sherry; perch baked in milk) and much else besides.

McMahon is keen to point out that it is more than the dishes that ‘emerged in the space created after the (potato) famine’ such as boxty potato pancake and traditional Irish stew, although both are included among the book’s 500 recipes, the former in its most austerely authentic form made with just lamb neck, onions, potatoes, thyme and parsley. The 80s are represented by crab with curry mayonnaise and pineapple while the contemporary Irish repertoire includes smoked eel porridge.

Will I have trouble finding ingredients? A good fishmonger will be required for the likes of sea urchins, razor clams, wild salmon and smoked eel, and you’ll probably need to get your rod out and go and catch pike, perch and carp yourself.  You might need an online supplier for seaweed and be up for a spot of foraging for things like nettles, wild garlic.  There are however many recipes that won’t cause you any shopping bother at all.

What’s the faff factor? This is mostly home cooking rather than complex cheffy stuff and many of the recipes are short and to the point.

How often will I cook from the book? There’s a really good variety of dishes and lots that would work when you’re time poor mid-week.

What will I love? McMahon has included an index of Ireland’s wild plants, seaweed and fungi eaten by the country’s first settlers and which he sees as the future of Irish food. Nettles are rolled around cream cheese, made into a puree and soup and transformed into wine, while steamed asparagus is wrapped in sea lettuce and deep-fried rabbit legs are served with wild garlic mayonnaise.

Should I buy it? McMahon makes the sensible caveat that ‘no book is definitive’ and it is questionable how uniquely Irish some of the recipes such as steak and kidney pie and lamb hotpot actually are, but The Irish Cookbook is nevertheless an impressive achievement and one that will shed new light on a hitherto undervalued cuisine.

Cuisine: Irish 
Suitable for:
Confident home cooks/Professional chefs/
Cookbook Review Rating: 
Four stars

Buy this book
The Irish Cookbook (Food Cook)
Phaidon, £35