Paul Flynn: Three simple seafood dishes perfect for a summer’s day

The details are crucial in these recipes to showcase mackerel, mussels and calamari

Smoked mackerel Niçoise with butterbean aioli

Smoked mackerel Niçoise with butterbean aioli

 

It’s a bit embarrassing to say the Christmas decorations were still up 10 days before we reopened the Tannery restaurant recently for our townhouse overnight guests. Closing all those months ago on Christmas Eve was upsetting. Those three weeks open in December were not worth the subsequent trauma.

I’d been in the restaurant a few times over the months to check on things, but I hated every minute and couldn’t wait to leave again. It was like entering the Marie Celeste. The warmth and life had gone out of it. The decorations could wait – who was going to see them?

A lot of people have re-evaluated their lives. In truth, our time at home was cherished, but as the evenings lengthened, reality gnawed away and our fighting spirit had to return for our 25th summer in the Tannery.

All our key staff are back, thankfully. There’s a combined service of 77 years in our front-of-house team. Máire and Una from day one. Valerie came to help when Ruth was born and Daniel came from Poland when Anna was born, famously calling a few hours after her delivery to say he, also, had arrived. “Can I call you back tomorrow, Daniel, as I just had a baby?” Máire said. He didn’t understand at the time that she was speaking literally.

These are three simple summer fish dishes. I love a good Niçoise salad. Here I’m pairing it with smoked mackerel and a punchy butterbean aioli. The eggs should be just set; these details are important. Then you have a dish that’s perfect for a sunny day.

The mussels are my version of a mouclade, the lesser-known cousin of moules marinière. The peas bring life to the gentle spices and make you long to eat these beside the sea,with a lovely cider or crisp white wine.

Slow cooking calamari in olive oil is a subtle revelation shown to me by a Catalan chef many years ago. Frozen works best, as it becomes tender as a whisper. The vegetables give it a lovely crunch. I love to eat this as a light lunch or tapas with a roasted garlic mayonnaise and some good bread.

Recipe: Smoked mackerel Niçoise with butterbean aioli

Smoked mackerel Niçoise with butterbean aioli
Smoked mackerel Niçoise with butterbean aioli

Recipe: Mussels with curried pea cream, crunchy breadcrumbs

Mussels with curried pea cream, crunchy breadcrumbs
Mussels with curried pea cream, crunchy breadcrumbs

Recipe: Confit calamari with cheat’s aioli, peppers, orange and saffron

Confit calamari with cheat’s aioli, peppers, orange and saffron
Confit calamari with cheat’s aioli, peppers, orange and saffron
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