The Emerald Isle

LEAVING REMOTENESS BEHIND The one part of the southwest which, in terms of location, could be seen as the most remote part of Ireland but which is in fact a magnet for visitors because of its extreme beauty, is Killarney. At the heart of County Kerry, this glorious land of island-studded lakes, wooded valleys, rolling hills, and lush forest, 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares) of it in the Killarney National Park, has been the greatest tourist attraction in Ireland since the mid-18th century. First promoted as such by a local magnate, Lord Kenmare, in 1750, when the Romantic movement was beginning to take hold in Europe, Killarney proved to be the right place at the right time. Although Killarney still holds the number one spot on Ireland’s tourism chart, other parts of the southwest, notably the spectacular coastline, have been greatly The Southwest GRILLED MACKEREL WITH GOOSBERRIES Mackerel is plentiful in Irish waters and makes a memorable feast when eaten freshly caught and served with a lively gooseberry sauce. INGREDIENTS: 4 fresh mackerel, gutted, scaled, and washed 4 tbsp butter Salt and black pepper 2 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed Fennel leaves, chopped Irish Food 190 6 oz/150 g fresh gooseberries 1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1–2 tbsp of dry white wine or cider vinegar A pinch or two of sugar Lemon wedges METHOD: 1. Pat the mackerel dry and cut slits down to the bone on each side. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle generously with seasoning, the fennel seeds, and a scattering of fennel leaves. 2. Place the fish under a hot broiler and cook for 3–4 minutes each side, adding more butter as necessary, until they are firm but without blackening the skin. 3. Meanwhile, heat the rest of the butter with more sprigs of fennel and cook the gooseberries until soft. Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and allow to thicken, stirring all the time. 4. Pass the sauce through a sieve and return to the pan. Check the seasoning, add sugar to taste, and serve with the mackerel and wedges of lemon to garnish. Serves 4

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