What’s a girl to pack when going on holidays to Kerry, well let me see
Wild garlic infused oil , garlic bulb, salt and pepper, no spring onions but have two shallots
Sun cream, hat, a little cooking stove, pot and iron griddle and a spatula
So my goal every month is to cook something I have never tasted or cooked in my life. Not sure what I was going to cook but involved a visit to the fishmonger in Kilorglin . This is how I naturally expand my SCA recipes even during a pandemic.
So now I have a kg of clams, sapphire sea plant, John Dory because of the lent campaign had tasted every other fish there much to my amazement, cockles is one of the few things left. A foraging course to learn about seaweed on my to do list and find a good book on the identification of seaweed in Ireland and it’s uses
Luckily the nice man in the shop gave me ice to keep the fish and clams fresh.
So it’s good time on one of the most beautiful beaches in Dinglebay surrounding by mountain range with the sea in front, a safe beach to swim in even with the tide in. The beach is Rossbeigh a beautiful beach about 6 miles long, a hidden gem of Kerry.
So having washed the clams in a mixing bowl I had just purchased that morning for mundane reason, I proceeded to boil water, chop garlic and shallots, wash sapphire, so green and salty to taste, so to a pot of boiling water, I added the closely closed clams and discarded the open ones, added the garli and shallots, wild garlic infused oil, and some sapphire on top of the clams. Covered the clams and cooked the clams on a moderate heat, covered the pot with griddle iron and steamed for 5 minutes,
So with a little camping pot and camp stove placed over a makeshift stone fireplace at the beach by previous visitors already in situ for safety
Tasted after 5 minutes a little chewy , so steamed for another minute and perfect.
I can’t really describe how a picnic beside the sea, with clams that are mild and cooked perfectly, taste of the sea, the air around us smell of the sea with the add subtle flavours, along with salty sapphire combine to make food sensual to all the food senses of taste, smell and sight not forgetting the sound of the waves. It’s one of those moments that will live in my memory for a long time, a sort of memory one has in a dream. The only negative was that I had no bread to mop up the juices, the broth that tasted mildly of the sea and garlic was surprisingly tasty. This is coming from a lady who usually cannot eat any seafood chowder. Interestingly I don’t usually use wine in my cooking and really fresh clams steamed in a simple broth really works.
The John Dory we cooked later in the day thanks to the ice on the griddle iron, the nice man in the fish shop and told me to cook skin side first for four to five minutes and then the flesh side for a minute just to colour the flesh and his instructions were perfect, so with little rub of garlic and salt into the skin, cooked on the griddle iron with sauté sapphire in wild garlic infused oil
John Dory a very deep sea fish so may not be on the menu very often in medieval times
Now one may ask what was on the menu next, it was one ice cream on the hottest day so far this year.
So tasty food cooked in 5-6 minutes, not complicated at all, gourmet historical food that can be cooked in a very short space of time.
If you want a taste of wild garlic, here are my two secrets, I make wild garlic butter and freeze it
Trick two wild about food range have wild garlic infused oil
However knowledge of people’s allergies are a must before offering people mussels , cockles, clams, oysters , alliums etc
Having tasted different shellfish, I have to say clams are my favourite so far
Shellfish has been eaten in Ireland from the Hunter gatherer prehistory era to 19th century Ireland. Shellfish provided the ordinary person with a good proteins, minerals and vitamins.
The next time I will bring some flour but that’s a story for another day.