The Currabinny Cooks: Crab dishes give a great sense of homely cooking

GROWING up in Currabinny, each neighbour seemed to have a thing that they made or grew which they shared with everyone else. This community spirit of sharing the ingredients to make good food but also the food itself would eventually inspire us to sell at markets, do food demos and write a cookbook.

In Ireland and especially in rural Ireland there are so many amazing examples of this sharing of knowledge, recipes and produce.

Currabinny itself is a small peninsula jutting out into Cork harbour, connected to the land by a 5km road through flooded marsh and hilly farmland. We have always had a sense of being half of the land and half of the sea, an almost- island where it was faster to go to the shop by boat than road.

One neighbour, in particular, got brown crab in the summer from a fisherman they knew who would stop by the pier on a sunny day. The crab would be cooked outside using a large pot of boiling water over an outside fire pit they had. As children, we would gather to suck the delicious sweet meat out of the claws and legs.

Now living in Dublin, these memories are strong reminders of how important it is to keep these wonderful food traditions alive.

We love eating crabmeat but it is important to buy it fresh and in season when the quality is good and they are caught as locally and sustainably as possible.

These recipes are quite different from how we used to eat them in Currabinny all those years ago but they represent where we are now, old memories and new ideas.

Crab, avocado and appleon brown soda bread

Should make 4 portions

This is a simple, yet elegant small plate or starter whichexudes summertime eating. We rarely make food which looks as delicate. Usually delicate plates of food involve a careful hand and a polite, refined style; neither of whichwe have in spades. What this dish apparently lacks in homeliness it makes up for in simplicity, which in our opinion is absolutely essential for making food enjoyable rather than stressful.

If you want to make life even easier and buy the brown soda bread in this recipe, there are an abundance of good quality bakeries popping up all over Ireland, either inplaces like Mueller & O’Connell in Abbeyleix, Co Laois, or in farmerss market like Arbutus Breads in Cork. If you do want to make your own brown soda bread then luckily it is also relatively effortless. We recommend making our own seeded dillisk soda bread from our cookbook as the seaweed in the bread will pair beautifully with the crab.

  • 1 green apple, cored and roughly chopped but not peeled
  • 1 avocado, stoned and peeled, flesh chopped roughly
  • 120g good quality fresh crab meat
  • 1 lime
  • 1 thumb of ginger
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • A few slices of brown soda bread
  • A few coriander leaves for garnish

In a small bowl mix the crab meat with a little salt and pepper and squeeze over the juice of one lime.

Peel a small thumb of ginger (using a teaspoon to grate away the skin is the best method) and grate finely into the crab and lime juice mixture.

Gently mix together with a fork, cover with a plate, cloth or wax paper and place in the fridge for a half hour or so.

To assemble, very gently mix the marinated crab with the diced apple and avocado, being careful not to break up the avocado too much. Place the mixture on top ofa nice thick slice of brown soda bread, drizzle with olive oil, season lightly and garnish with a few leaves of fresh coriander.

Currabinny Crab Linguine

We call this dish Currabinny crab linguine as it was often rustled up with fresh crabmeat from fishermen on a warm summer evening, using ingredients we seemed always to have in the fridge just in case;linguine, red peppers, chillies and cream. From the garden an excessive amount of parsley would be brought in and chopped to be stirred through at the end. We aren’t the bravest spicy food eaters buthonestly this dish can take a good bit of heat andbenefits wonderfully from it, maybe it has something to do with all that gentle cream and sweet crabmeat.

  • 400g linguine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced finely
  • 2-4 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • 400g mixed crabmeat
  • A large handful of parley, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, deseeded and chopped finely
  • 200ml of cream
  • 50ml of white wine
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 50g grated fresh parmesan
  • Olive oil

Cook the linguine in a large pot of boiling, generously salted water.

In a large frying pan or casserole, heat a little olive oil on medium high heat and add the garlic and chilli, cooking for two minutes until everything is fragrant and the garlic is starting to turn golden.

Add the red pepper and cook for another minute or so before adding the white wine, allowing it to bubble and reduce down for another two minutes before adding the cream and seasoning well with salt and black pepper.

After another two minutes, add the parmesan and crabmeat, turn down the heat a little and simmer gently foranother two to threeminutes.

Lastly stir in the juice of one lemon and the chopped parsley, mix with the linguine, check the seasoning and serve.

Crab Gratin with Brie and Panko

Even in late May the weather can turn chilly, grey and wet. For the not so summery summer days, this dish is very appropriate. It is at once comforting, warm and decadent yet absolutely still of the summer all at once. Panko breadcrumbs are relatively easy to find these days in the supermarket, Asian market or specialist food stores.

If you absolutely cannot find panko you can use regular breadcrumbs although it will give you a different texture. We like to use a mild creamy brie, like Wicklow bán which is a wonderful Irish brie style cheese.

  • 250ml of cream
  • 120g of mixed crabmeat
  • 100g of brie
  • 1-2 tbsp of chopped fresh chives
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp of pankobreadcrumbs

Heat the grill on your oven to high.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil and simmer for roughly five minutes. Add the crabmeat and simmer for a further two minutes.

Remove from the heat and fold in the brie and chives and season with salt and black pepper.

Transfer the mixture into a medium sized casserole dish and sprinkle over the parmesan and panic breadcrumbs.

Place under the grill for one to two minutes until the top is golden brown and the mixture underneath is bubbling.

Serve hot with crusty bread.

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