St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. Why not celebrate with this Irish Fish & Chips recipe 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 Mediterranean influence and an Irish flavor.
“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 an herb-crusted roast rack of lamb with ratatouille, pepper coulis and pesto. Of course, the Irish Fish & Chips is a standout on the menu.
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!”
This article, “Dublin’s New Wave,” was originally printed on Oct. 31, 2001.
The Merrion’s Irish Fish and ChipsRecipe by Jason Hill – CookingSessions.com
- 4 ounce Haddock fillet
- 1/4 cup flour for dredging fish
- 1 cup bread flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup low-fat milk
- 3 potatoes Rooster if available
- Deep fryer with oil
- 6 tablespoons dried split peas
- 2 tablespoons petit pois small green peas, blanched
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons capers
- Ground black pepper
- Fresh lemon wedges
- Batter Mix: 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.
- Prepare Fish: 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. 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 excess fat.
- To Make Chips: Peel 3 medium potatoes and top and tail. Slice into 2.5 inch x 0.5 inch lengths. Cook in a medium fat fryer for 4 minutes and set aside. Finish in a hot fryer until golden.
- To Make Tartar Sauce: Combine 2 ounces of a good quality mayonnaise with 1 ounce of roughly chopped capers. Sea- son with ground black pepper and lemon juice.
- To Make Mushy Peas: 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.