Martin’s Fishy Fishy Cookbook by Martin Shanahan

For anyone with even a passing interest in Irish seafood, Martin Shanahan should need no introduction. Of his popular Fishy Fishy Restaurant in Kinsale, the Sister always says “arrive early and be prepared to queue or arrive late and be prepared to queue” but, for seafood lovers, it’s more than worth it.

Martin’s Mad About Fish, his first TV series, was like a refreshing kick in the pants to all the other carefully styled and choreographed cookery shows out there. From the John Spillane title tune to the relaxed interaction between Shanahan and director Rory Cobbe, it was pure Cork. But, entertainment aside, Shanahan was a man on a mission: to take the fear out of fish. “No skin, no bone, no fear,” he repeated – and both the mantra and the attitude also come through in his cookbook.

There’s no re-inventing the wheel in Martin’s Fishy Fishy Cookbook, just plenty of simple, well executed ideas. With recipes for Pan-Fried Mackerel with Simple Tomato Sauce and Grilled Mackerel with Honey and Soy (my favourite fish) I might never get past the chapter on oily fish – although I could be tempted by Baked Fillets of Plaice with Parmesan and Breadcrumb Topping or even Lemon Sole with Mango and Cucumber Salsa.

Shanahan casts far and wide for influences. There are fresh Asian accents (a touch of wasabi in Salmon and Cucumber Wraps, Asian Butter sauce for monkfish, star anise and lime with salmon) lined up alongside warm Mediterranean flavours (squid or mackerel and chorizo, risotto with smoked haddock, Niçoise Salad) and, of course, some traditional dishes like Roast Salmon with Hollandaise, Fish and Chips and Seafood Pie. But recipes aside, there’s a great concentration on technique. Whether it’s preparing mussels or pan-frying fish, these are the skills that you need to make the most of your catch (or trip to the fishmongers).

Martin’s Fishy Fishy Cookbook is worth a read but, far more than that, it’s worth taking into the kitchen and covering in cooking stains.

Martin’s Fishy Fishy Cookbook by Martin Shanahan is published by Estragon Press. Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

Martin’s Still Mad About Fish, his second series, is now showing on RTÉ, for those of you with televisions or access to the RTÉ player.



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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6 Responses

  1. Vicky says:

    Picked up my copy of the book today, can’t wait to make some of the recipes.

    • Caroline Caroline says:

      After a trip to the English Market, I started off with the idea of making his Trout with Colcannon and Mustard Sauce the other day. Ingredients in the fridge didn’t really agree so it turned into Trout with Kale and a Mustardy Potato Salad instead, close but not exact! Grilling trout, Martin’s way, is a great way to cook it, though

  2. Catherine says:

    Just catching up on the last episode here – the man is a tonic! Even my da is a huge fan. Dying to get my hands on the book – in the meantime, am off to Kish to see if they’ve any ray in…

    • Caroline Caroline says:

      Wish I could see it! The biggest problem with this mobile internet, besides the price, is that it’s way too slow for watching anything like that online. Thorou oughly enjoyed his first series, though, and picked up lots of tips from it. There’s a great recipe for Ray with Mussel Sauce in the book…yum!

  3. ada callanan says:

    Perhaps you could please tell me how I can find last Sunday’s receipe (3rd September, 2011) for seared salmon and quick hollendaise sauce please.

    thanking you


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