🐟 WEEK 7: aromatic smoking
It’s the third week of the Smoking module where you will try butchering hake - a fish with a round structure, and Alison encourages you to try alternative smoking fuels by choosing a fuel source that is local to her area and drenched in history - turf (peat). You will also have a go at brining to lock in moisture as well as flavour your fish with seaweed, herbs and citrus.
📺 Watch and Learn - Rassa Stories
Find out more about the role of fish in Ireland and the importance of sourcing and catching our fish sustainably from Chef Daniel. This month is all about smoking and imparting flavour with fire and we encourage you to think about how you play around with your fuels looking at woods, hard herbs and aromatics. For environmental reasons, turf farming is on its way out but it has a distinctive smell which for many in the Irish countryside has a homely, cosiness when burnt. Learn more about this old Irish tradition and life on a peat bog.
Sustainable Fishing in County Howth
From the fishing village of Howth Chef Daniel talks about the role of fish in Ireland, visiting the local fishmonger and explaining how to go about using your fish sustainably.
Stories from a Peat Bog in County Offaly
For many, turf (or peat) brings back childhood memories of granny’s kitchen. It’s the distinctive smell of Irish nostalgia that conjures up images of glowing windows in cosy cottages and family hospitality. Find out more about life on a peat bog.
📘 Lessons For The Week
Recipe Development - Turf Smoked Hake
Alison takes you through her thought process for her smoked hake dish taking inspiration from her local area and family background. Watch as she talks through her choice of fish, how she uses different temperature zones on the barbecue and her flavour choices bringing the dish together.
Ingredients Introduction - Turf Smoked Hake
Discover a traditional smoking fuel from the Irish boglands as well as the key ingredients to Alison’s brine including her aromatics and a pure sea salt with no additives for the best results. The ingredients she uses for the seasonings, right the way through to her choice of fuel are a real taste of Ireland’s terroir.
Hands On Learning - Turf Smoked Hake
In the penultimate week before your live class, Alison takes things up a gear showing you how to butcher a hake (its curved structure makes it a trickier fish to handle) and she experiments with an alternative fuel source looking to her family’s bog for inspiration. You’re also going to use brining as not only a way of adding moisture but also as another fun way to add flavour to your dish.
Share with the community
If you have any questions, perhaps around butchering your fish or which alternative smoking fuels you can try, Alison is happy to help. Easily access the community forum to ask away as well as share with the rest of your cohort your creations and challenges.
💭 Creative Inspiration
Mead is often called honey wine as it’s brewed from honey, yeast and water. It has been around in Ireland for hundreds of years, first made in secrecy by Irish monks. Home cooks and chefs alike still have their fascination with this old liquor as not only is it versatile but it's a great comfort on a cold, damp day.
📖 Further Reading
Have a read of how you can get creative with flavouring smoke using different hard herbs, spices, peels, shells and seasonal ingredients to take your smoking skills up to the next level.