Tricks Of The Trade With Our Chef Michael Cashman
Michael Cashman is Head Chef at Murph’s Tavern, East Ferry village, East Cork, where he is Co-Proprietor with his sister and Front of House Manageress Laura Cashman. We caught up with Michael recently, for our How To Become a Chef blog, where he talked us through his personal journey in the culinary world, and gave lots of tips and advice for those considering a career in the kitchen.
While we were chatting, Michael mentioned that he loves to cook fish, which is very popular at Murph’s. Michael sources best quality fresh fish caught around the Cork coast, which arrives daily from local suppliers. He and his team fillet all the fish themselves every morning, so customers are getting the very best of the catch freshly prepared. So we thought we would ask him what his favourite fish were and how he cooks them.
Micheal says, ‘I love all fish, but my particular favourite is turbot, which is in season now. It’s a big flat fish and the flesh is moist and firm. I also love hake, which I think is a very underated fish. The Spanish eat a lot of hake, which works very well on the grill. We have introduced our customers to hake and they really like it.
We also use a lot of seafood in season here. We are beside the water so it’s nice to have fish and shellfish as a feature on the menu.’
HOW TO COOK AND SERVE YOUR FISH
‘For cooking, I prefer to grill or pan fry all my fish. I don’t really like deep fried fish . For shallow pan frying, I will use butter with a little bit of oil to stop the butter burning. I season the fish fillet with sea salt and cracked black pepper before placing in the hot pan. I don’t over season because I like to keep the fresh flavours of the fish.
The biggest mistake most people make with fish is overcooking it. There’s nothing worse than getting a beautiful piece of fresh fish and then cooking it till it is dry. You want the flakes to be just cooked but still moist. So it’s really important to keep an eye on it and keep the timing short.
I love classic combinations for fish. You can serve pan fried fish with a Buerre Blanc, which is a traditional French butter sauce, and I like to garnish with some pan seared scallops, crab claws or Dublin Bay Prawns, whatever is in season. It’s kept very simple, which means the dish relies on the best and freshest fish and shellfish.’
BUYING YOUR FISH
Listening to Michael chatting, we soon learned that fish cooking needs the very best quality fish. Michael has the skills to prepare and fillet, but for the uninititiated a good fishmonger can do this.
Top class Cork fishmongers in the Good Food Ireland membership include K. O’Connell in the English Market, Casey's Fish Products in Shanagarry, Midleton and Ballycotton Seafoods, also at the market and in Midleton and Garryvoe, Co. Cork.