October 2011 By Gillian Nelis – Sunday Business Post – Agenda Magazine
The big smoke on the west coast
There are several good reasons to visit the Connemara Smokehouse on Bunowen Pier in Ballyconneely, Co Galway.
There’s the fish, of course, but there’s also the stunning location on the edge of the Atlantic, and the chance to meet Graham and Saoirse Roberts and their four children, who are as enthusiastic a bunch of foodies as you could hope to encounter.
The Roberts family has been smoking fish here since 1979 and, over 30 years later, the fish they produce is still hand-filleted, smoked and packaged onsite.
Their speciality is wild Atlantic salmon that’s caught by Connemara fishermen before being dry-salted and placed in Old Smoky – a kiln first used in the 1940s – and beechwood-smoked.
It’s not cheap – a 200g pack costs €25 – but you can taste the quality in every bite, and it would be a wonderful buy for Christmas. For a more everyday treat, try the peppered smoked mackerel, which is €6.50 for a three-fillet pack. You can eat it cold, but in this weather it’s great served warm on toast for a quick and healthy supper.
You could also use it to whip up a quick smoked mackerel pate. There are any number of recipes available for this particular dish, but food blogger The Daily Spud (www.thedailyspud.com) recommends adding spring onions, root ginger and rice vinegar for a slightly oriental twist.
All of the Connemara Smokehouse products are available online, the only exception being the smoked tuna mousse – because it contains fresh cream, it isn’t suitable for home delivery. It’s delicious though, so if you’re lucky enough to be in the vicinity of Ballyconneely over the next while, stock up on a few pots.
The range also includes organic salmon from Clare Island, line caught smoked tuna and farmed salmon from small, independent producers. Full details on pricing and delivery – as well as a great selection of recipes – are on www.smokehouse.ie.