For some, the notion of seafood in Ireland begins and ends with fish and chips. That’s puzzling, because seafood plays a major role in Irish cooking — it’s an island, after all. This St. Patrick’s Day, look beyond the deep fryer to potted crab, a rich pate of sorts, and fish pie, a hearty seafood casserole that has appeared on Irish dinner tables for generations. And for dessert, unwind with ice cream topped with stout.
Makes about 1½ cups
Serve this with thin slices of brown bread or soda bread, toasted if you wish, Melba toasts, or large radish slices.
|10||tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft, cut into small pieces|
|¼||cup finely chopped shallots (about 1 medium)|
|Salt and ground black pepper|
|¼||teaspoon paprika, plus extra for dusting|
|3||tablespoons amontillado sherry|
|6||ounces crabmeat, picked over for shell fragments (about 1 cup)|
|1½||tablespoons juice plus 2 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon, plus more juice if necessary|
|1/8||teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg|
|¼||cup finely chopped fresh parsley|
|Clarified butter, to seal, optional|
In a small skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the shallots and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. Add the sherry and cook, scraping the skillet to loosen any spices stuck to the bottom, until reduced by about half. Set aside off heat to cool to lukewarm.
In a small bowl, stir the crab with the lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. In a medium bowl, mash the remaining softened butter, the cooled shallot mixture, the lemon zest, nutmeg, and parsley until uniform (there should be no visible bits of butter). Add the crab mixture and fold until very well combined. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and lemon juice if necessary.
Scrape the mixture into one or more ramekins, cover (or pour a thin layer of warmed clarified butter over the surface, if desired), and refrigerate to meld flavors, at least two hours. Rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes, dust lightly with paprika, and serve. (Can be wrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to three days.)
Irish-Style Fish Pie
Serves 6 to 8
This “pie” is crustless and is typically covered with mashed potatoes. The idea of the coarse topping comes from Mary Berry, known in this country as a judge on PBS’s The Great British Baking Show. Prepare the potatoes first so they’re ready to go when you need them later in the recipe.
|2||pounds Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed or peeled if desired|
|2||tablespoons olive oil|
|1||cup whole milk|
|1||cup bottled clam juice or fish or seafood stock|
|8||ounces skinned salmon fillet, pinbones removed, cut into 1½-inch chunks|
|1¼||pounds skinned firm, meaty white fish fillets (such as monkfish, halibut, hake, haddock, or cod), cut into 1½ inch chunks|
|Salt and pepper|
|6||tablespoons butter, plus extra for the baking dish|
|2||large celery ribs, sliced on the bias|
|2||medium leeks (about 1 pound), cleaned, trimmed, and white and light green parts halved lengthwise and cut into ¾-inch pieces (about 5 cups)|
|½||cup minced shallots (about 2 medium)|
|1½||teaspoons minced fresh thyme|
|2||teaspoons fresh lemon juice|
|2/3||cup chopped fresh parsley|
|8||ounces smoked trout, flaked into roughly ½-inch pieces (about 1½ cups)|
|1½||cups frozen peas, thawed|
|1||cup grated sharp cheddar|
Cut the potatoes into roughly 1-inch pieces, then boil in salted water until very tender (about 15 minutes). Drain and crush with a fork until coarse, and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
Make the filling
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk and clam juice to a simmer (do not boil). Add the salmon and white fish and poach gently until just firm but not cooked through, about 2 minutes. With a large slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a large bowl, sprinkle with about ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, toss gently to distribute, and set aside. Cover the saucepan to keep the milk mixture warm and set aside off heat.
In a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the celery and cook, stirring, until it just begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the leeks and ½ teaspoon salt and continue to cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 to 6 minutes longer. Scrape the vegetables into the bowl with the fish.
Add the remaining butter to the saucepan, return to medium heat, and melt. When the butter is hot, add the shallots and thyme and cook, stirring, to barely soften, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk mixture, whisking vigorously until smooth. Bring the sauce mixture to a simmer and continue cooking and stirring until the sauce thickens to about the consistency of loose applesauce, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, most of the parsley, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste and whisk to combine. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Discard any juices from the fish and vegetables that have accumulated in the bowl and add the sauce, smoked trout, and peas. Stir to combine.
Assemble and bake the pie
With the rack in the middle position, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment. Generously butter a 2-quart gratin or baking dish. Scrape the filling into the baking dish and spread evenly. Top with the potatoes, spreading them evenly but leaving the layer loose, and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the potatoes. Set the dish on the baking sheet and bake until the filling is hot throughout and bubbling at the edges, and the top is attractively browned, about 30 to 40 minutes. Rest the pie for 5 to 10 minutes, sprinkle with the remaining parsley, and serve at once.
TIP: BLOOMING SPICES
Ice Cream With Stout (a.k.a. Irish Affogato)
Adapted from a recipe in The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews, this dish needs just a little stout to sauce the ice cream, as if it were an affogato of sorts.
Andrews uses vanilla ice cream, but chocolate fanciers can go that route, or get the best of both worlds by using fudge ripple. Regardless of flavor, rest the ice cream at room temperature for 6 to 8 minutes before scooping it, so it will mingle with the stout readily.
|12||large scoops high-quality vanilla, chocolate, or fudge ripple ice cream, slightly softened|
|1||cup plus 2 tablespoons stout, such as Guinness|
In each of six bowls, place two scoops of ice cream. Pour 3 tablespoons of stout over the ice cream in each and serve at once.Adam Ried appears regularly on “America’s Test Kitchen.” Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter @BostonGlobeMag.