Seven of Ireland’s finest seafood specials
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.