Paul Flynn: Simple, sublime food for a late summer feast

Lamb chops, barbecued monkfish and smoked potatoes inspired by a perfect evening

Lamb chops, ras al hanout tomatoes, cous cous and elderflower yoghurt

Lamb chops, ras al hanout tomatoes, cous cous and elderflower yoghurt

 

Food doesn’t have to be complicated to be sublime. Sometimes you might be lucky enough to find yourself in a place that surpasses all expectations with friends who, like myself, consider food to be the centre of their world.

I was recently asked to be part of Mark Moriarty’s TV show, Beyond the Menu. Jess and Dave Murphy from the wonderful Kai in Galway were deservedly being featured. There was a Big Green Egg barbecue positioned on a heavenly pier in Oughterard which hovers over Lough Corrib, a finger pointing to the lake’s beauty. It was a perfect evening. My friend Mickael Viljanen, who in many people’s opinion is the best chef in Ireland, was there too. A table at the tip of the pier was ours. There will never be a better table.

We prepared the food and had the craic. We immersed ourselves into the cooking; it came as naturally as breathing. There was rack of Connemara lamb, brushed with American mustard and rosemary. A deep glaze appeared as it cooked. Potatoes in their skins were pre-boiled and flung beside the lamb like craggy rocks, the smoke from the fire underneath sweetly penetrated them as they sat there blistering.

Whole monkfish was dismembered unsteadily by me. I blamed the knife, but it was the royal company that made me nervous. Mikey said to cover the fish liberally with Hellman’s mayonnaise, like a mother would cover her child in factor 50. That way, it won’t stick to the grill and come off it a broken mess. It was a revelation.

Best of all was a crab salad, the meat was bound with (more) Hellman’s mayonnaise, lemon juice and zest, chives and salt and finished with fennel fronds and olive oil. It was so good because the crab itself was magnificent and also subliminally because the setting was so perfect. I’ll share the recipe soon. Today, I’ll focus on those smokey spuds instead. This smoked mackerel butter is lovely with them. The lamb dish is something I have made at home recently, but at its heart it is inspired by that night on that pier on Lough Corrib.

Lamb chops, ras al hanout tomatoes, cous cous and elderflower yoghurt
Lamb chops, ras al hanout tomatoes, cous cous and elderflower yoghurt

Recipe: Lamb chops, ras al hanout tomatoes, cous cous and elderflower yoghurt

Whole monkfish, rosemary salt and charred lemon
Whole monkfish, rosemary salt and charred lemon

Recipe: Whole monkfish, rosemary salt and charred lemon

Smoked potatoes, smoked mackerel butter and cornichons
Smoked potatoes, smoked mackerel butter and cornichons

Recipe: Smoked potatoes, smoked mackerel butter and cornichons

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