Sunny days: perfect for sun, shellfish and champagne

Seasonal Suppers: now is the best time to try Ireland's delicious brown crab

April is a great time for brown crabs

April is a great time for brown crabs

 

The recent good weather has given me hope for the summer. Sunny days evoke long lunches of shellfish and champagne, lounging on into afternoon as work fades into the distant past. Of course, sunny days in Ireland are few but they are great times to explore our beautiful seafood.

April is a great time for brown crabs. These pair well with another seasonal green, namely, watercress. Picked and gently seasoned with sea salt and lemon juice, crab is a fitting partner for watercress. Fittingly, watercress is of native flora of Ireland and can still be found wild in many rivers. We often pick it for the restaurant.

Blanched and blended into a purée, it pairs well with white fish. Sometimes I add a little baby spinach to lessen the intensity of the watercress. Watercress is also great added to potato and leek soup. Fry off a big pile of chopped leeks in butter. Cover with chicken stock and add some peeled and chopped potato. You don’t have to be exact of measure.

Soup is very forgiving and I find its more enjoyable to make with your eye. Do remember to season as you go (little touches of salt along the way). The soup will taste nicer in the end as the salt will amplify the flavours during the cooking process.

When your potatoes are soft add some cream and a big bunch of watercress (trim away the bigger stems). You don’t want to heat watercress too much as it tends to loose it’s colour. This is why it’s important to only add it in at the end: this goes for stews as well as mash and soups.

Back to the brown crab. I think an open sandwich with a watercress mayonnaise would be lovely. Pick the leaves only and blend them into a jar of good quality mayonnaise. Spread the mayo over some soda bread and pile high with dressed crab. Just make sure you pick through the crab so as not to get any shell in any morsel. Sit back, relax and enjoy the bubbles. 

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