Deasy’s Harbour Bar & Seafood Restaurant, Ring, Clonakilty, West Cork
Chef: Caitlin Ruth Dish: Korean Fish Cake with Cabbage Salad
Deasy’s is a traditional old pub perched at the very edge of beautiful little Ring harbour and, on a summer’s eve as dusk falls and the lights within take to twinkling and reflecting off tranquil waters without, you may well find yourself thinking there can be no more romantic dining venue in all of Ireland.
And then you have the eclectic and highly individualistic cooking of chef Caitlin Ruth to contend with each menu written daily depending on the stream of fresh produce that streams daily through her kitchen door, invariably delivered by the fishermen who caught it or the primary producers who reared or grew same produce.
We could have opted of any of five splendid fish dishes but instead plump for something approaching a constant on Caitlin’s menus, her Korean Fish Cakes. Her menus may consist entirely of local produce but her culinary influences are peripatetic and global and this dish is an ex- cellent example of this ethos in action. “I usually use a mix of hake and ling because ling gives more substantial texture. I make a spice paste, the usual Korean stuff, scallions and ginger sesame soy, garlic, pickled chillis, stir it through the chopped white fish, stirring in thinly sliced spring onions, maybe an egg yolk or two to bind, depending on consistency Pan fry it in olive oil over a low heat and then finish it in the oven.
“The cabbage salad is a kimchi-style salad, not exactly kimchi because some people found it to strong so as not to overpower the fish, we decided to mimic kimchi, making a sauce that you could stir into Chinese Cabbage.”