When we were in Ireland last week we took the windy road from Clifden to Bunowen Pier and the Connemara Smokehouse. The setting of the smokehouse is stunning perched out on a pier cutting the Atlantic shoreline.
The folks at the Connemara Smokehouse are friendly - and imagine our suprise to find ourselves being served by a frenchman! They even smoke french crooner Pierre Perret's fish when he comes to Ireland!
The Smokehouse specialises in wild products and their range even includes smoked tuna - I was amazed to discover that tuna can be fished in Irish coastal waters but Nicholas explained that this is due to the famous mexican gulf stream. You have to be passionate to work at the smokehouse, with working weeks of up to 80 hours, as fish is smoked as it comes off the boats. The fish is smoked using beechwood. And have no fear your purchases are put in special insulated boxes ensuring they survive the journey home.
We bought lots of wild smoked fish but did not indulge in wild salmon choosing the organic farmed version instead. When so much effort has gone into a product you want to serve it with only the best, here is a simple bilini recipe that you do no need to prepare in advance.
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon each baking soda & salt
2 large eggs separated
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1.Put all dry ingredients into bowl and mix well in another bowl whisk together egg yolks and milk then whisk into the dry ingredients
2. With an electric beater whisk egg whites until they form soft peaks and then fold into the mixture above taking care to keep mixture light and airy
3.Fold 3 tablespoons of the butter to this mixture until it forms a smooth batter
4. Brush a small non stick pan with some of the remaining butter and heat the pan until it is hot but not smoking
5. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons per bilini and cook until surface begins to bubble then flip over for about 2 minutes
This makes about 8 bilinis I normally make in batches and then keep warm in over until ready to serve
Place 2 slices of smoked salmon & two bilinis on each plate, with a large spoon of creme fraiche with fresh chopped chives mixed through it, a small green salad and for an extra touch add some capers fried in olive oil.
Connemara is a longway from Paris but luckily you don't need to make the trip to Bunowen pier you can buy online at http://www.smokehouse.ie/ and yes, they ship overseas!