Irish 'sushi': presenting the mackerel potato roll
Sushi, and more particularly the notion of eating raw fish, is not something we’re especially used to in Ireland.
We like our fish cooked or, at the very least, cured or smoked. In fact, for an island nation, we are often guilty of underappreciating the quality and range of fish on our shorestep. Take mackerel – cheap, full of flavour, and with the extra brownie points that come from being sustainable. Popular with the Japanese either raw or salt-cured as a sushi fish, I thought I’d give mackerel and the sushi roll an Irish interpretation which involves (a) cooking the fish first (I’m Irish, remember) (b) replacing sushi rice with potatoes (well, obviously) (c) using the cooked mackerel skin as a wrapper instead of seaweed, though seaweed does feature, in the form of dillisk added to the potatoes.
I could justifiably have hung a sign on my door that read “Gone Fishin’.”
I was making a trek across the city to Donnybrook Fair and smoked mackerel would, I hoped, be my reward. I was on the trail of mackerel from Inish Turk Beg, a privately owned and faintly mysterious island off the coast of Mayo. A tasting of their newly available range of smoked fish earlier that week had left mackerel on my mind, and I was heading to the one place in the city that could provide me with that particular smoky fix.
Inish Turk Beg smoked mackerel
Frankly, I blame the fish pie.
For the delay, I mean.
It’s been almost 2 months since I met Natasha, she of 5 Star Foodie, and her daughter Hannah for lunch.
It’s been so long, in fact, that Bentley’s, where we ate, is no more, having morphed into the Cliff Town House. And while I am more than happy to see an outpost of the Cliff House Hotel come to Dublin, this does mean that the Bentley’s menu is gone from our shores.
Which brings me back to the fish pie.
Bentley’s creamy, mashed potatoey fish pie.
The restaurant’s signature dish and the one that I had to have when I met Natasha, despite the fact that it was the middle of (an admittedly Irish) summer.
And it was good. Heavy and rich but very good.
The fish pie in question