The thing of beauty that is a Heir Island lobster boat
I was extremely tempted to post this picture, along with a note that said simply “gone fishin’.”
And fishing is exactly what I was doing yesterday from a boat such as this, at the very edge of West Cork in Roaringwater Bay, on a day when the bay, thankfully, did not live up to its noisy moniker. It was, instead, a picture of grace and calm, interrupted only by the occasional flip-flopping of a freshly caught mackerel, each of whom had clearly had other plans for the day before becoming hooked and then briefly, and gloriously, airborne, followed by a final plop into the communal holding bucket. Baked, later, in the embers of a wood-fired clay oven on Heir Island, there could have been nothing sweeter to eat than those fish. It was the kind of food – and the kind of day – that sends you to bed happy.
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.