Ironically, Ireland imports a huge amount of farmed fish from around the world.
Much of the tuna available from Irish fishmongers and supermarkets, for example, comes from Indonesia, while a lot of the sea bass comes from Greece. A supplier recently told me that he gets great scallops from the US and Canada, as well as farmed halibut from Iceland.
So when you get the chance to get hold of wild Irish salmon, don’t miss the opportunity. Over-fishing in the past means that it is only possible to get the genuine article over the next two weeks.
At Thornton’s, we only buy Irish fish. Although imported fish is available to the Irish consumer at a cheaper cost, wild Irish fish is far superior in quality. Farmed salmon available in Ireland is around €4 per kilogram, organic salmon is about €10, and wild salmon is around €25.
Labeling fish organic does not necessarily mean that it has lived in its own natural environment. Much organic salmon is farm-reared and fed with organic food. I can’t tell much difference in the taste between farmed and so-called organic fish.
However, farmed salmon bears no resemblance to wild salmon and it is worth the extra cost. This recipe includes truffles but they can be omitted.
Sautéed fillet of wild Atlantic salmon with summer vegetables and summer truffle
4 pieces of wild salmon fillet, 110g each
1 bunch of samphire or sea asparagus
1 lemon cut in half
New boiled potatoes (3to 4 per person)
50ml virgin olive oil
15ml truffle vinegar
10g diced summer truffle (or 30 black, stoneless olives)
10ml spring water
2 tomatoes skinned, seeded and chopped
Fresh milled white pepper
One small bunch of chopped chives
Half a lemon
1. Season the salmon on both sides and sauté in a hot pan (flesh side down) in a little olive oil for two minutes.
2. Place salmon in hot oven at 170 degrees centigrade for four minutes.
3. Remove and brush with olive oil.
4. Place under a hot grill for about one minute. Remove, squeeze lemon juice over the salmon, and serve.
1. Wash and chop the truffle (or olives), and place in a bowl.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, madeira, water and chives.
3. Mix well, and season to taste.
1. Dice all vegetables and cook in boiling, lightly-salted water for two minutes.
2. Remove and strain off water.
3. Return to pot. Add a little olive oil and season to taste. Heat through for a further minute.
4. Toss the samphire in a hot pan for a few seconds with a little olive oil and a little rock salt.
5. Remove and serve with boiled new potatoes.
Kevin Thornton is a Michelin-starred chef and owner of Thornton’s Restaurant on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.