Niall McKenna: Seafood favourites

Niall McKenna

WE ARE all told to eat more fish – luckily on this island there's an abundance of great fish on our doorstep.

One of the most popular for people to eat and cook is salmon which is a staple in Northern Ireland and I love to cook with it.

This week's recipes add a bit of spice. While too much spice can ruin a nice piece of fish, this recipe is gentle in its flavour and not overpowering. The second recipe is a good old-fashioned chowder with smoked salmon and fresh salmon.

One of the finest salmons to use is Walter Ewing's salmon, it is great whether on its own or in this dish.

Buying fresh fish is relatively easy now as most supermarkets have a whole range of fresh fish options and so many neighbourhoods have fantastic fish mongers locally.

The firm favourite for Belfast folk has to be St George's Market every weekend, where there is always a great selection.


Salmon and Nut Curry

Serves 4

150g cashew nuts

4 cloves garlic

1 inch ginger, grated

1 tblsp fresh turmeric, grated

1 red pepper, finely diced

280g Greek style yoghurt

1 tsp mustard powder

2 tsp sea salt flakes

1 tblsp rapeseed oil

625ml coconut water

12 curry leaves

2 tblsp fish sauce

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 aubergine, chopped

800g skinless salmon fillet, cut into pieces

12 mussels

1 chilli, sliced and deseeded

1 lime, juiced and zested


Start by placing the cashew nuts in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 20 minutes. Once softened, drain the water and place the nuts in a food processor. Add in the garlic, ginger, turmeric, yoghurt, mustard powder, red pepper and salt and pulp until well mixed.

Place the oil in a large pot and place on a gentle heat. Add in the paste you have just made and bring up to a gentle heat for 4/5 minutes, then adding the coconut water and the curry leaves, the fish sauce and stirring until a smooth liquid. Add in the chopped tomatoes, aubergine and cook for 5 minutes.

Add in the chilli, salmon and mussels and place the lid on and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add in the zest and juice of the lime and stir. Make sure that all mussels are cleaned well and that they close when tapped, any which are cracked should be discarded. Only serve the mussels which have opened.


Salmon Seafood Chowder

250g butter

100g smoked bacon, chopped

1 leek, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 onion, diced

500g Glens of Antrim potatoes, 1/2 inch cubes

50g flour

1 pint vegetable stock

500ml cream

100g smoked salmon

300g salmon

18 mussels


Serves 6


Place butter in a pot and melt. Add the bacon and gently colour. Add the chopped leek, onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the potatoes and add in flour gradually and stir gently until the flour has cooked out, this will take approximately 10 minutes. Add in vegetable stock and stir. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 45 minutes on a gentle heat.

Add cream, fish and shellfish and cook for 6 minutes. Check for seasoning and add a squeeze of lemon juice and serve.

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