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Iodine, anyone?

Recently we have been making a number of seafood platters. Rory was thrilled by the fresh sea urchins brought over by a local harvester.

He proclaimed the virtues of the sea urchin flavor: “slightly iodine-y, sweet, salty, but not as salty as saltwater”.

Also on display were oysters and a variety of seaweed (both serrated and un-serrated sea wrack, and carrageen moss, of course):

The seaweed was moppy and brown, but when Rory blanched it, it turned a gorgeous dark green color.
The first type of platters we made up looked like this (note the periwinkles just in front of the lemon wedge):

Later, we also made up more seafood platters serving the type of food they offer at Ballymaloe House. We had to be very particular and do these up the Ballymaloe way. For instance, the smoked mussels had to be served atop circles of buttered Ballymaloe brown yeast bread, a thin piece of lollo rosso (a kind of lettuce), and topped with piped homemade mayonnaise.

The eel (left) had to be topped with a mini-dollop of homemade horseradish sauce (yes, I made said sauce), the beards had to be taken off the mussels, and everything had to be arranged just so. (See circular plate at top right… there’s also smoked haddock, smoked mackeral, and smoked salmon served atop zigzags of dill mayonnaise.)

A few more thoughts. During demo, Rory gave us some seafood pointers — like it’s okay to eat mussels that haven’t widely opened as long as there is no off smell and they can still be easily pulled apart. He also said when cooking clams, you must save the liquid that comes out of clams because it is so delicious and can be used for Bloody Marys and fish stocks. And he gave the pointer that in a restaurant situation, you can distinguish your container of clam juice from dirty water by putting a shell in it. (That way, it won’t get thrown out by mistake. I though this was a neat Real Simple -type idea that could be applied to many other household items…)

While cooking at demo, one of Rory’s assistants noticed an off-smell in the pan of steaming clams. Rory investigated and believed one of the clams was bad.

He tossed the whole lot, saying, “you can’t be sure that it has ruined the lot of it, but you can’t be sure it hasn’t”, then passed around the plate of smelly clams, so we would forever remember the scent of a clam gone off.

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