The rain let up on Saturday and the fat belly of Christmas past was begging to go out for a walk. We drove to Howth which is on the other side of Dublin
The boyfriend declared he was going to cook for me on the basis that I don’t look over his shoulder and tell him that he’s doing it wrong. I agreed and the fact that he was cooking something that I had never made made it easier. We looked into Doran’s on the pier for prawns, clams and mussels. I ended up buying sea bass (in the photo), squid and a bucket-load of fresh crab claws, my favourite thing. The Marinara was incredible and I didn’t get to take a picture of it but I will make it myself and post the recipe then.
The next morning I woke up wondering what I would do with the fish shop in my fridge. Shell fish is great but it’s rich and distinct it’s not easy to eat every day. I figured I could muster a chowder from the calms and mussels and a few spuds I had left over. I never made chowder before so I winged it and it turned out fine. The recipe here is my own but quite similar to a lot of chowder recipes. The most important thing is to cook the flour for a good few minutes before you add the liquid or you will taste the powderiness when you eat the soup.
Mussel and clam chowder
500g mussels in shells scrubbed
500g clams in shells, scrubbed
2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into small chunks
I small onion chopped
2 heaped tblsp plain flour
Salt and pepper
- Put the mussels, clams and a few parsley sprigs into a large pot with 100ml cold water. Place over a medium heat and put a tight lid on the pot. The fish will start to open so shake the pan until all are opened and take off the heat.
- Strain the fish and remove them from their shells. Discard the shells. This sounds fiddly but only takes a minute. Keep the cooking liquid.
- In another large pot heat the butter and cook the onion until soft but not brown. Add the flour and cook for a few minutes, don’t let it become dark brown. Pour in the cooking liquid from the fish and stir, the mixture will become very thick very fast so add tour milk gradually and whisk if necessary.
- Add the potatoes and cook for 5-10mins till soft. Keep and eye on the consistency of the soup, it should be like cream, add more liquid if necessary.
- Add the shell fish, heat for a minute and season, serve immediately with warm crusty bread and a pint of Guinness if you can.