Sunday Kitchen: French fancies

The Dunbrody House’s star chef Kevin Dundon shares his favourite recipes
French Fish Bouillabaisse

French Fish Bouillabaisse

Vanilla Madeleines

Vanilla Madeleines

Sunday World

OVER the years, Dunbrody House has welcomed many French staff. So this week, we’re embracing our closest EU neighbour, as Thursday was Bastille Day. Don’t worry, we’re not doing the feared escargots (snails) or cuisse de grenouille (frog legs). Instead, my first recipe is a bouillabaisse — think of a summery seafood chowder with a clear broth. Although the original version uses Mediterranean fish, in Ireland lean flat fish bones such as sole, turbot or monkfish give the perfect fish broth — full of flavour, yet very clear. I like to prepare the broth the day before to allow the flavours to enhance, only adding the fresh fish pieces just before cooking. Next is one of my favourite afternoon treats — madeleines. These individual spongy cakes use a specific tin to give the famous shape, but they’re easy to find in local retailers or online. Make sure you brown the butter to enhance the flavour, and let the mix rest overnight to create a light yet aerated batter. They’re fun to watch rising in the oven and extra-delicious while still warm. Happy cooking, Kevin


Ingredients (serves 4): ■ 1kg baby potatoes ■ 700g lean white fish (john dory/monkfish/sea bass), cut into pieces ■ 200g mussels ■ 8 Dublin Bay prawns ■ Salt, pepper, and lemon juice to season ■ 50g samphire to serve (optional) ■ 4 tbsp rouille dressing to serve (optional — see top tip)

For the broth: ■ 60ml olive oil ■ 1 leek (white only), sliced ■ 2 onions, coarsely chopped ■ 2 garlic cloves, crushed ■ 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed ■ 8 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped ■ 3 stalks fresh oregano ■ 3 stalks parsley ■ 700g fish bones (john dory/ turbot/ monkfish/langoustine shells) ■ 20ml Pernod ■ 2 litres water ■ 1 tsp tomato purée ■ 3 pinches saffron

Method: 1. Start by preparing the broth. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the leek, onions, garlic and fennel, and cook for 2 minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes, herb stalks and fish bones. 2. Flambé the mixture with Pernod. Pour in the water, tomato purée and half the saffron. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, cover the potatoes with water, the rest of the saffron and pinch of salt. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes, until just cooked but holding their shape. Drain and half the potatoes. Set aside. 4. Once ready, pass the fish stock through a large sieve to keep only the clear broth. For a cloudier broth, but with more flavour, press on the bones. 5. Place the broth in a large saucepan and check the seasoning. Add the sliced potatoes and bring to a simmer. 6. Add the fresh white fish pieces and mussels. Simmer for a further 5 minutes or so, until the mussels are starting to open and the fish is opaque. 7. Add the prawns to the broth and simmer for 2 more minutes. Check the seasoning, and add extra saffron, lemon juice, salt and pepper if needed. 8. Serve immediately with some crusty bread, samphire and rouille, if using.

Vanilla Madeleines

Vanilla Madeleines


Ingredients (serves 4): ■ 60g butter ■ ½ lemon, juice and zest ■ 3 eggs ■ 100g caster sugar ■ 25g honey ■ 2 tbsp vanilla extract ■ 125g plain flour ■ ½ tsp baking powder

Method: 1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a madeleine tin. 2. In a saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Let it foam and create a light brown sediment when lightly swirled. 3. Add the lemon juice and zest to end the browning process, then remove from the heat. Transfer directly into a small bowl. Set aside to cool for 5-8 minutes. 4. In a second bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar with the honey until the mixture has become aerated, and roughly doubled in size. 5. Pour in the vanilla extract and the cooled brown butter with all the brown particles — they give extra flavour to the madeleines. 6. Next, sieve in the flour and baking powder, and fold until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, or preferably overnight. 7. Spoon the mixture into the madeleine tin. Bake until cooked through and golden, with a dome shape. For small petit-four sized madeleines, this takes around 7-9 minutes. 8. Remove from the oven and transfer the madeleines onto a wire rack to cool. Enjoy while still warm or within a day for maximum freshness.


AN original dressing to serve with bouillabaisse is a ‘rouille’. This great summer dressing is similar to mayonnaise, but prepared with waxy potato and saffron. To make, soak 2 pinches of saffron in 2 tbsp of water. Add 85g smooth, pureed waxy potato. Stir in 2 egg yolks, 2 crushed garlic cloves cloves of garlic and season. Lastly, whisk in 150ml olive oil until you have a thick glossy sauce. Cover and refrigerate until needed, and use within 2-3 days.

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