Paul Flynn: This seafood dish might be a little controversial
I put Cidona in my mussels dish. So should you
Steamed mussels with Cidona, curry spices and creme fraiche. Photograph: Harry Weir
Food has always been a comfort to me. Whether it was an unfeasible amount of custard creams after another failed maths exam in my spotty, well upholstered youth, or a lovely Sunday evening dinner after a stressful week at work.
Good food doesn’t have to be posh. A good bowl of soup will give you pause – and sustenance. It will rest your mind and give you strength to tackle the rest of the day.
At long last, The Tannery restaurant is open again. Those balmy May days in the garden are just a dream. It’s full tilt and it’s good to be back, even in these difficult circumstances.
There has been so much goodwill from the customers. After all these years many have become friends. The phones have been hopping and we are back in our summer swing, except nothing is normal any more.
I’ve taken the opportunity to make the menu shorter. We have a smaller team, so something has to give. I’ve fallen out of love with large a-la-carte menus. To me they’re a relic of the past.
Restaurant food needs to be good first and foremost, the ingredients need to sing on the plate. It’s not about the size of the menu, it’s the quality of the food that matters.
It was hard to get mussels during the lockdown but now, hallelujah, they’re back. This dish using the shellfish is a little controversial because of the Cidona. It is inspired by Normandy, where they pair mussels with cider so beautifully. I’ve added creme fraiche to temper the sweetness of the Cidona.
This pie looks like a monster sausage roll. It will only take you minutes to make and it’s lovely eaten hot or cold. The filling can be any chutney you like. Occasionally I wedge some chorizo in there as well.
A few years ago I was brought over to cook in New York by Kerrygold. We ate in Barbuto, a famous Italian restaurant in the West Village. This kale salad was the highlight. It was laden with crunchy, garlicky breadcrumbs and was a triumph. I’ve been making it ever since. It is particularly fabulous with steak.
STEAMED MUSSELS WITH CIDONA, CURRY SPICES AND CREME FRAICHE
1 small onion, peeled and sliced
125g smoked bacon lardons
2 bay leaves
½tsp curry powder
1kg mussels, debearded and washed
2tbs creme fraiche
Some chopped parsley
1 Melt the butter and add the onion, bay leaves and bacon. Cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat until the onion has softened .
2 Add the curry powder. Cook for one more minute before adding the mussels and Cidona.
3 Cover the pan and bring the mussels to the boil, cooking for two to three minutes over a high heat, until all the mussels are open, stirring just once along the way. Do not overcook or the mussels will become tough and rubbery.
4 Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the creme fraiche and parsley and serve straight away with some crusty bread.
GOAT’S CHEESE AND CHUTNEY PIE
1 packet (375g) puff pastry
1 egg, beaten with a little milk
2tbs of your favourite relish or chutney
2 x 150g sticks of goat’s cheese, with no rind
A few picked leaves of fresh thyme
1 Preheat your oven to 185 degrees.
2 Unfurl the pastry so the widest part is facing you, then put the parchment from the packet on a flat roasting tray.
3 Working quickly so the pastry stays chilled, egg-wash the edge in a 3cm band.
4 Spread the chutney in a line on the bottom third of the pastry, without touching the egg wash.
5 Lay the goat’s cheese on top of the chutney, then fleck the thyme on top.
6 Bring the top half of the pastry over the cheese to meet the bottom half, then press around the edge of the pastry so it all comes together. Seal with a fork.
7 Deftly transfer the pie on to the parchment, then brush with the egg wash evenly.
8 Bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp and golden.
BARBUTO KALE SALAD
350g young tender kale
100g grated or shaved Parmesan
For the dressing
1 egg yolk
2tbs Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
1tbs red wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
6 salted anchovies, chopped
50ml sunflower oil
50ml olive oil
Salt and pepper
For the crunchy breadcrumbs
3tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
½tsp chilli flakes
Salt and pepper
1 Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
2 To make the dressing, whisk everything together until smooth and creamy.
3 For the crunchy breadcrumbs: place the breadcrumbs on a roasting tray with the olive oil, garlic, chilli, salt and pepper. Cook for 12-15 minutes, turning once or twice, until golden and crunchy.
4 Remove the stalks from the kale, wash and pat the leaves dry.
5 You can either chop the kale finely or pulse it in a food processor for a short time.
6 Add the dressing, breadcrumbs and Parmesan to the kale and serve on a platter for sharing.