Modern Irish Cuisine

Bantry Bay Scallops from the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

Bantry Bay Scallops from the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

Irish food isn’t the bland, meat-and-potatoes fare it once was.

Although brown bread ham sandwiches and Irish stews still have their place on traditional pub menus, many Dublin restaurants have gone nouveau Irish, blending fresh local meats, cheeses and produce with cooking styles from around the globe.

Take Ed Cooney, for starters. As executive chef of Dublin’s luxurious 5-star hotel, The Merrion, Cooney focuses on contemporary cuisine with a Mediter-ranean influence and an Irish flavor.

Irish fish and chips from the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

Irish fish and chips from the Merrion Hotel in Dublin.

“Dublin is enjoying a regeneration, a fact which is evident in its increasing popularity as a destination, and the city’s gastronomic scene is no less exciting,” says Cooney, a native Irishman. “We have world-class restaurants, and modern Irish food now has an identity and appeal all of its own. At The Merrion I focus on Irish cuisine, using local produce such as smoked salmon, oysters and mussels.”

Cooney’s modern Irish menu at Mornington’s includes such delightful offerings as roast pheasant with woodland mushrooms, colcannon potatoes and deep fried cabbage, or a roast rack of lamb with a herb crust, ratatouille, pepper coulis and pesto.

At the Cellar Bar, menu items include pan-fried fillet of plaice on champ potato with broccoli and chive cream sauce; three rock oysters with a half pint of Guinness, or a seafood selection of prawns Marie rose, homemade gravalax, smoked trout, squid arriabiatta and oak smoked salmon.

Cooney trained at hotel school in County Tipperary and spent the early part of his career gaining experience in Ireland, Scotland and England, before taking the position of head chef at The Triangle Restaurant in Glasgow in 1989. Cooney also held esteemed positions at the celebrated Craigendarroch Hotel and Country Club and Ardoe House Hotel in Scotland, and The Landmark, London, where he was Executive Sous Chef for two years.
“It is my firm belief that you must enjoy what you do,” says Cooney. “A happy kitchen produces excellent food!”

“Dublin’s New Wave” was originally printed on Oct. 31, 2001.

Garlic-Ginger Olives

Rating: 51

Serving Size: 12

These delicious olives are served with cocktails in the Merrion Hotel’s drawing room.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces black olives
  • 16 ounces green olives

  • 4 tablespoons chili pepper, seeded /chopped
  • 4 tablespoons ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon grass, finely chopped
  • 4 cups olive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients. Marinate for at least four days before serving. Serve at room temperature.

Executive Chef Ed Cooney, The Merrion Hotel, Dublin, Ireland

http://cookingsessions.com/modern-irish-cuisine/

Seared Bantry Bay King Scallops with Saffron Aioli and Tomato Coulis

Rating: 51

Serving Size: 1

Seared Bantry Bay King Scallops with Saffron Aioli and Tomato Coulis

Ingredients

  • 3 king scallops Mesclun salad (mixed greens)
  • Olive oil (a drizzle)
  • Tomato Coulis:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1/2shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped

  • 8 large plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and diced

  • 1 sprig thyme

  • 1/4 bay leaf
  • Saffron Aioli:
  • 1/2 garlic clove

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon saffron powder
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Sear the scallops in a very hot pan allowing about 1 minute ei- ther side. Set aside and let rest.
  2. To make Tomato Coulis:
  3. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sweat the shallot and garlic
  4. Add the tomato dice, thyme and bay leaf. Cook slowly over low heat until all moisture has been removed from tomato and you are left with a dry tomato paste, which is full of flavor.
  5. Remove from heat and pour the mixture in the blender and blend until smooth.
  6. To make Aioli:
  7. Crush garlic with the salt in a pestle and mortar.
  8. Whisk the egg yolk in a bowl. When half the olive oil is added, add the rest of olive oil. Continue to add remainder of the ingredients, including the crushed gar- lic and salt. Season to taste with black pepper and lemon juice.
  9. To assemble dish:
  10. Dress salad leaves with olive oil and place in the middle of the plate. Arrange scallops in an equal distance around the plate. Drizzle plate with Aioli and Tomato Coulis.

Executive Chef Ed Cooney, Merrion Hotel, Dublin, Ireland

http://cookingsessions.com/modern-irish-cuisine/

The Merrion's Irish Fish and Chips

Serving Size: 1

The Merrion's Irish Fish and Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 (4-ounce) Haddock fillet
  • 1/4 cup flour, for dredging fish
  • Batter Mix:
  • 1 cup strong flour (bread flour)
  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • Chips:
  • 3 potatoes (Rooster if available)
  • Deep fryer with oil
  • Mushy Peas:
  • 6 tablespoons dried split peas

  • 2 tablespoons petit pois (small green peas), blanched
  • Tartar Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fresh lemon wedges

Instructions

  1. Batter Mix:
  2. Take a bowl and beat the egg with a whisk. Add in the milk. Whisking continuously, add in the flour gradually. Take the mixture and pass through a sieve so that it is evenly distributed. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  3. To Prepare Fish:
  4. Remove all skin and sinew from fish leaving fillet ready to batter. Dip haddock into flour. Dust off excess flour and then dip into batter mix. Slide into deep fat fryer (medium heat) and cook for 4 minutes without color. Place on a wire rack and let excess oil drip off.
  5. To finish cooking fish, place in a hot fat fryer for 2 minutes until golden brown. Season with salt and place on a cloth to absorb ex- cess fat. Serve.
  6. To Make Chips:
  7. Peel 3 medium potatoes and top and tail. Slice into 2.5 inch x 0.5 inch lengths. Cook in a medi- um fat fryer for 4 minutes and set aside. Finish in a hot fryer until golden.
  8. To Make Tartar Sauce:
  9. Combine 2 ounces of a good quality mayonnaise with 1 ounce of roughly chopped capers. Sea- son with ground black pepper and lemon juice.
  10. To Make Mushy Peas:
  11. Cook 3 ounces of split peas in some chicken stock until they are soft and mushy. Remove split peas and combine with the blanched petit pois and blend until smooth. Pass through a medium sieve and season. If too soft in texture, add a little mashed potato to increase density.

Executive Chef Ed Cooney, Merrion Hotel, Dublin, Ireland

http://cookingsessions.com/modern-irish-cuisine/