Alison takes you through her thought process for her smoked hake dish. She takes inspiration from her local area and family background when creating her smoked hake dish using turf as her fuel. Watch as she talks through her flavour choices and how she brings her dish together.
Smoke - Turf is a big thing in Ireland and particularly in her family - in her recipe she uses the turf from her granddad's bog in county offaly. As a fuel it brings a delicate smokey flavour to the dish and she leans into the smokey flavours even more by smoking the butter, tying the other elements of the dish in with the hake nicely. To smoke the butter she uses a cooler temperature zone on her barbecue compared with the fish which is not quite the same as the cold smoking process in the first week but gives a similar effect.
Brine - Alison uses a brine to keep the fish moist whilst cooking it on the barbecue. Not only does it lock in moisture but it's a great way of imparting flavour as the salt penetrates the whole way through the fish. She uses a 10% brine (this refers to the percentage of salt in the solution) to add a nice saltiness and combines that with seaweed and sugar for flavour.
Native ingredients - Foraging is a great way to bring the flavours of your local area to your cooking. Alison uses sea beet which she picked wild to wrap her artichokes, steaming the leaves in foil. She also uses an Irish cider vinegar in the sauce with white wine to balance out the fattiness of the butter.
Fish - This dish uses hake, a nice fish that takes on the smoke flavour really well. Also compared with cod it is less oily, softer, more delicate, less flakey and has more moisture.