Seize the season!

Ireland has a short asparagus season, the salmon are leaping and we’ve a zesty alternative to lemon juice in this recipe

At the heart of the CASK project is the idea of local, seasonal and sustainable food to benefit both our health and, crucially, that of the planet, as we try to come to grips with our climate crisis. This recipe is a simple celebration of what’s to hand this season. Where partners Sonairte and EurAV are based – on the Meath coast near Drogheda, we’ve got Drummond House asparagus in the neighbourhood, Newgrange Gold rapeseed oil, a number of local honey producers and salmon from the Boyne where the legendary Salmon of Knowledge was fished out by the equally legendary Fionn Mac Cumhaill. One ingredient that is called for in a huge number of recipes, but is not grown in Ireland is lemon. Here we take the seasonal rhubarb and make a super substitute that you can use in recipes, cocktails and mocktails, wherever lemon is called for. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 500g fresh Irish asparagus
  • 4 sustainable Irish salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons locally produced rapeseed oil (add butter also, if you want a creamier result)
  • 4 tablespoons rhubarb juice (substitute for lemon juice)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Rhubarb juice

To make the rhubarb juice lemon alternative, finely chop a few stalks of fresh rhubarb. In a small saucepan, combine the chopped rhubarb with a tablespoon of honey and a splash of water. Gently simmer the mixture over low heat until the rhubarb breaks down and releases its juices. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing down to extract as much juice as possible. Your homemade rhubarb juice is now ready.

Main dish

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Prepare a baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  2. Let’s begin by preparing the asparagus. Snap off the tough ends and discard. Give the asparagus a gentle rinse to remove any dirt. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel.
  3. Place the asparagus on the prepared baking dish. Drizzle with rapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat the asparagus evenly.
  4. Move the asparagus to one side of the baking dish, creating space for the salmon fillets.
  5. Now, let’s turn our attention to the salmon fillets. Pat them dry with a kitchen towel to remove any excess moisture. Place them on the other side of the baking dish, alongside the asparagus.
  6. Drizzle the salmon fillets with the rhubarb juice.
  7. Once you have the rhubarb juice, drizzle it over the salmon fillets. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Carefully place the baking dish in the preheated oven. Let the asparagus and salmon bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and the asparagus is tender-crisp.
  9. Once cooked, remove the baking dish from the oven and let it rest for a minute or two.
  10. Plate up by arranging a generous portion of asparagus alongside a perfectly cooked salmon fillet on each plate. Drizzle any remaining pan juices over the dish to intensify the flavours.
  11. Serve immediately and savour the delicious harmony of fresh Irish asparagus, sustainable salmon, and the delightful sweetness of honey and rhubarb juice.

This recipe celebrates the beauty of local, seasonal, and sustainable Irish ingredients, highlighting the flavours and ethos of the CASK project. So enjoy this delightful, healthy dish with your loved ones, appreciating the culinary heritage and eco-conscious choices it represents. Bon appétit!

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