Seven of Ire­land’s finest seafood spe­cials

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - FOOD & DRINK IRELAND - Joe McNamee makes a per­sonal se­lec­tion of seven fine Ir­ish seafood dishes Inis Meáin Restau­rant and Suites, Inis Meáin, Aran Is­lands, Co Gal­way

There are few greater plea­sures in life than din­ing on Ir­ish seafood, some of the very finest seafood to be found any­where in the world, and it’s so much bet­ter again if you get to eat it in one of those great Ir­ish restau­rants on the coast, dot­ted right around the coun­try. We pick seven of the very best for your delec­ta­tion and the ideal seafood dish to eat when vis­it­ing. Ruairí and Marie-Therese de Bla­cam

Dish: Lob­ster, As­para­gus and Chilli

Inis Meáin R&S is sited in an exquisitely-styled premises as be­fits a restau­rant of truly in­ter­na­tional renown, but there can be few global restau­rants boast­ing such a rugged and ele­men­tal lo­ca­tion, this one sited on the least ac­ces­si­ble of the Aran Is­lands, with din­ers look­ing through a picture win­dow out at the roil­ing wa­ters of the western At­lantic, quite prob­a­bly the last Euro­pean restau­rant be­fore you hit Amer­ica. Some­times, sea con­di­tions are so bad that the is­land is cut off from the main­land, hence the de­ci­sion to limit their ‘sea­son’ to six months of the year and guests stay­ing in the suites have to book in for a min­i­mum of two nights. Lo­ca­tion dic­tates the menus and chef Ruairí and his wife Marie-- Therese grow much of the fresh pro­duce in their gar­den while fish and shell­fish come from lit­er­ally outside their win­dow. This all en­cour­ages an ele­men­tal sim­plic­ity to the self-trained Ruarí’s cook­ing, ev­i­dent in this ex­quis­ite lob­ster dish. Lob­ster tail is dropped into vigourously boil­ing wa­ter for 30 se­conds and then re­freshed in­stantly in ice wa­ter to en­able the shell to be re­moved and the raw meat is then set aside.

The claws get the same treat­ment but are left in longer to ac­tu­ally cook.

The tail is then poached for five or six min­utes in beurre monte (an emul­sion of melted but­ter). As­para­gus, blanched in boil­ing salted wa­ter for six min­utes, re­freshed in ice wa­ter and, when re­quired, is grilled to or­der on the grid­dle pan. The claws are warmed for 30 se­conds in the beurre monte and then the dish is com­pleted with a shav­ing of gar­lic, two or three chillis and a lit­tle fresh co­rian­der on top. As Ruarí him­self says, ‘very beau­ti­ful, very el­e­gant.’

Marie Therese and Ruairí de Bla­cam at Inis Meáin.

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