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SEASONAL COOKING WITH JOHNNIE COOKE
“Autumn heralds a shift towards comfort. As the leaves change, so too does the colour palette of our base ingredients; the subdued orange of squash, the earthy browns of mushrooms and the solid reds of apples all reflect the season.” – Johnnie Cooke
Johnnie Cooke talks us through his favourite seasonal ingredients for autumn…
I look for mushrooms popping up from dewy grass and growing out of the thick bark of trees. The variations I look out for in autumn are porcini (cêpe), girolle and black trumpet wild mushrooms. I use them in risottos and stews, they add a wonderful earthy rich flavour.
I forage for a variety of seaweeds year round out on Lambay Island as there is an abundance of different varieties there, dillisk, carrageen kelp, Irish moss, and in particular pepper dulse which is widely sought after and even samphire which is not really a seaweed but grows on the shoreline. For something a bit different try infusing your Bloody Marys with dillisk.
Another ingredient I love to find at this time of year are hazelnuts. We have a long history of gathering these nuts in Ireland. They grow on trees wrapped in velvety husks. They’re encased in a shell, which can be quite soft before ripened and dried. These are also the perfect ingredient for a sweet, velvety mousse.
ALSO IN SEASON:
Autumn also brings in game season with plentiful venison, mallard, widgeon, teal, woodcock, snipe and oysters too are at their peak between now and Christmas. Seasonal vegetables are celeriac, cavolo nero, kale, savoy cabbage, and Swiss chard.
BOOK A TABLE AT THE RESTAURANT
Enjoy the new season menu at The Restaurant by Johnnie Cooke. For bookings please call 01 617 1163.
A SEASONAL RECIPE:
BURRIDA, ITALIAN FISH STEW
"This is a wonderfully fragrant dish, that originated in Genoa so don’t be afraid to experiment with whatever selection of fish and shellfish you can get hold of. The tomato mixture can be made a couple of days in advance and reheated before adding the fish." – Johnnie Cooke
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves striped
150g sundried tomato paste
900ml (1 1/2 pints) fresh fish stock (from a carton is fine)
1x15oz tin of tomatoes chopped
3 anchovy fillets (optional)
2oz of finely chopped walnuts (optional)
½ glass white wine
Pinch of sugar
6 x 360g (12oz) monkfish chunks
3 small sea bass or bream, scaled and filleted
12 squid rings, about 150g (5oz) in total
12 whole raw king prawns
12 mussels and or clams, cleaned
FOR THE GARLIC CROUTONS:
100g (4oz) butter, softened
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 thin French baguette
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large casserole pot. Add the onion, carrots, garlic and thyme and sauté over a low heat for about 5 minutes until the onion is softened but not coloured, stirring occasionally.
Stir the sundried tomato paste into the pan and cook for another minute or so, then pour in the fish stock, white wine, tomato, anchovy, and walnuts and bring to a simmer. Season to taste and add the sugar. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and cover with a lid.
Cook the sauce very slowly for 30 minutes until well flavoured and slightly reduced. Remove from the heat and either use immediately or leave to cool and store covered with cling film in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
When ready to serve, preheat the tomato sauce to a simmer and carefully add the monkfish, sea bass or bream fillets, squid, prawns and mussels. Cook gently for 5-10 minutes until all the fish is tender, the mussels have opened and the prawns are pink.
Meanwhile, make the garlic croutons. Place the butter in a bowl and mix in the garlic and parsley, season to taste. Cut the French baguette on the diagonal and arrange on a grill rack. Toast on both sides and then spread over the garlic butter. Ladle the fish stew into wide-rimmed bowls and serve with the garlic croutons on the side.
I love serving an Italian Gavi de Gavi or a good Vermintino from Sardinia or Tuscany with this dish.
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The expert behind The Food Medic gastro-blog talks health and wellbeing with a sprinkling of recipe inspiration in Dr. Hazel Wallace – My Nutrition Notebook.