James Street recipes: The best of local produce, with Niall McKenna’s crab pie and thermidor lobster

THIS week we held a sustainability event in our new Waterman Events space, and I was asked to speak to attendees about our use of local produce, which I am very proud of as a restaurant owner and local employer. .

Using local products is the most sustainable thing any of us can do besides taking a minute off our shower time or turning our heat dial down a notch.

Buying local meat, fish, vegetables and even jams can make a big difference – and eating with the seasons is key.

I know that over the years my restaurants have helped support many local food producers, so next time you shop go for local eggs, chicken, flour or oats. The two recipes of this week are offered to you with crab and lobsters from Kilkeel.

For more information on free cooking demonstrations at Waterman Cookery School, visit www.waterman.house

CRAB PIE

(For 8 people)

Shortcrust pastry pie shells

3 large crabs – separate the dark meat from the white meat

1 nutmeg – grate enough to taste

Salt

Pepper

5 shallots, finely chopped

30g of butter

150 g chopped watercress

6 eggs

250ml sour cream

250 ml fresh cream

METHOD

Crush the brown crab meat with the nutmeg, season with salt and pepper and spread over the bottom of the pre-cooked pie shell.

Heat the butter in a frying pan and sauté the shallots until translucent. Add watercress and stir into onion, mixing well. Cook until softened and spoon over brown crabmeat.

Beat eggs into sour cream and crème fraîche in a bowl. Add the white crab meat and pour into the pie shells.

Bake at 190°C for 60 minutes until pale golden brown. Once cooked, remove from the oven and let rest for 30 minutes before serving. This will help the egg latch. Serve with a watercress salad.

LOBSTER THERMIDOR

(For 4 people)

4 lobsters of 500g

100ml white wine

4 shallots, peeled and finely diced

200ml fish stock

300 ml fresh cream

2 tsp English mustard

40 g cheddar cheese, grated

20 g parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and pepper

1 medium free-range egg, separated – yolk only

METHOD

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, seasoned with salt. Place the lobster in the large pot and cook for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside and cook.

In a second saucepan, pour the white wine and shallots and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add the fish broth and cook until most of it has evaporated. Add half of the crème fraîche and mustard and cook until half cooked. The liquid should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Add cheese and whisk until smooth. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

With the rest of the double cream, add to a bowl and whisk. Once it becomes light and forms soft peaks, stir in the egg yolk, then stir it into the runny cheese sauce.

Preheat your oven to its highest setting 220C.

Now that the lobster is cool, place it face up, facing you so you can see a cross on its back. Using a sharp knife, place the tip in the center of the cross and hold the severed head through the shell to the tail. Repeat on the side of the head.

Open the shell and remove all the meat from the shell. Break the claws and snap and remove the meat from here.

Coarsely chop the meat and add it to your sauce. You want to maintain a meaty texture, so don’t keep pieces larger than 3cm.

Return the meat to the lobster shell and place it on a roasting pan. Bake for up to 15 minutes until glazed. Remove from oven and broil for 5 minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Remove and serve with a crispy baguette.


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Rozella J. Cook