Catch of the Day

Catch of the Day

The Dunnes Stores Simply Better collection has a well-deserved reputation for award-winning food and drink. Behind the scenes it also champions small Irish producers, helping them grow while doing what they do best.

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1st August, 2021

Based in the fishing village of Castletownbere in West Cork, Shellfish Ireland is renowned for its high quality seafood. Its Simply Better Irish crab is caught in the Atlantic ocean, one of the naturally richest and purest fishing grounds in Europe. Shellfish Ireland receives daily supplies from its own fishing fleet which enables the team to process the catch at its freshest in Castletownbere.

“The company is a fourth generation family shellfish processing company,” Ryan Murphy explains. “It was started by my dad in 1987. He learned fishing from his dad and his dad learned fishing from his dad so fishing has always been in the family’s blood. Today we have a large factory - we employ about 150 people.”

Shellfish Ireland has worked with Dunnes Stores Simply Better for eight years and Ryan says the business has gone from strength to strength as a result, boosting sales and increasing staff.

“We have a great working relationship with the Simply Better team,” Ryan notes. “They don’t do problems, they just do solutions if any issues come up and quality has always been at the forefront.”

Ryan and the team supply Irish crab meat and crab claws to the Simply Better range. “All our crab is Irish crab and is managed by a fisheries improvement programme with VeriFact and Bord Iascaigh Mhara,” he says. “The crab is also collected in a pot; it’s selective fishing that doesn’t just catch everything.”

As for why Irish seafood is some of the best in the world, Ryan puts it down to our location. “We’re at the tip of Europe and we have one of the cleanest waters in the world so there’s a good flow of fresh water and plankton. There’s a lot of food where we’re located as a country and that definitely has something to do with the better taste of Irish shellfish.”

Irish Crab Cakes with Sweet Chilli Mayonnaise

A delicious crab cake recipe from Neven Maguire, Dunnes Stores Simply Better ambassador

(Serves 4)

For the crab cakes

200g Simply Better Irish Crab Meat

4 tbsp Simply Better Cold Pressed Irish Rapeseed Oil

2 Simply Better Italian Grilled Peppers, diced

2 tbsp Simply Better Italian Made Pesto Alla Genovese with PDO Genovese Basil

150g Simply Better Rustic Ciabatta breadcrumbs

2 Simply Better Free Range Corn Fed Large Eggs, beaten

Zest of 1 lemon

500g leftover mashed potatoes

50g butter

1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

4 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp sesame seeds

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the mayonnaise

1 tbsp Simply Better Irish Made Sweet Chilli Sauce

150 ml mayonnaise

Zest of 1 lime & Juice of half a lime

To serve

Lightly dressed mixed salad


1. Place the mashed potatoes in a large bowl, add in the crab meat followed by the lemon zest, pesto, parsley and peppers and mix well.

2. Using a small ice cream scoop, shape the crab and potato mixture into even-sized balls, then, using slightly wet hands, shape into patties.

3. Place the flour on a plate and season generously. Put the beaten eggs into a shallow dish and put the breadcrumbs in a separate dish along with the sesame seeds. Dust the crab cakes in the seasoned flour, carefully dip them in beaten egg and then coat in the breadcrumbs.

4. Heat the rapeseed oil and butter in a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Shallow fry the crab cakes in batches for about 4–5 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden.

5. Drain well on kitchen paper and then arrange on warmed plates with the sweet chilli mayonnaise and mixed salad.

Keohane Seafoods in Bantry, Co Cork supplies the Dunnes Stores Simply Better range of Organic Irish Salmon Darnes.

Its salmon is organically farmed off the west coast of Ireland in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The company selects the best farms to ensure the highest standard of quality and full traceability from tide to table.

Keohane Seafoods was set up by Mike Keohane and Colman and Brian, his sons, back in 2010. Not long after starting the company, they began a successful partnership with Dunnes Stores. “We’ve grown to having two facilities now and Dunnes is a huge part of that,” Colman says, “We’re long-term partners.

“We see ourselves as a very fast-paced, progressive and innovative company,” he continues. “And if you’re working with Dunnes you need to be fast-paced and you need to be innovative. I think both businesses complement each other.”

Keohane Seafoods supplies a number of products to the Dunnes group, and seven products to the Simply Better range in particular. They include a range of prawns and a salmon collection that includes the standout organic Irish salmon darnes.

Sustainability is a big part of the Keohane Seafoods ethos and the company is part of Origin Green.

There is also a major focus on the importance of the resource the Keohanes have on their doorstep: the sea. “The sea is a huge resource to us for food and leisure and everything else,” Colman explains. “We’re very conscious of maintaining that natural resource. I think it’s very important to rural communities.”

Keohane Seafoods endeavours to source all sustainable seafood for the company as a whole and everything it supplies to Simply Better is organic or accredited. “Our factory sits on the Wild Atlantic and all the fish that we supply to Simply Better comes from that resource,” Colman says.

The Wild Atlantic may be credited with providing that top quality Irish salmon but as Coleman points out that’s not quite the full story. “There isn’t a product like Irish organic salmon in the world,” he says, “Its quality is down to the waters, the processes and the care of the individuals involved.”

Organic Irish Salmon & Asparagus Wraps with Basil Pesto

This simple dish from Neven Maguire makes for a perfect summer lunch

(Serves 4)

4 Simply Better Fresh Organic Irish Salmon Darnes

4 slices of Simply Better Italian Prosciutto Di Parma

1 tbsp Simply Better P.D.O. Terra Di Bari Bitonto Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 tsp Simply Better Italian Made Pesto Alla Genovese with PDO Genovese Basil

12 asparagus spears, trimmed

4 fresh dill sprigs

Juice of ½ lemon

25g butter

Freshly ground black pepper

Lightly dressed mixed salad, to serve

Roasted baby potatoes, to serve

Lemon wedges, to garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/

Gas Mark 5)

2. Blanch the asparagus spears in a pan of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain and quickly refresh under cold running water, then tip into a bowl of ice-cold water to cool completely. Drain well and pat dry on kitchen paper.

3. Season each salmon darne with pepper and arrange 3 asparagus spears, trimming them down as necessary, and a dill sprig on top of each fillet. Lightly wrap a slice of Prosciutto Di Parma around each bundle and place in a shallow non-metallic dish, then add a squeeze of lemon juice.

4. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the butter. Once it stops foaming, add the salmon wraps presentation-side down and cook for 4-5 minutes all over to seal. Transfer to the oven and roast for another 8 minutes, until the salmon wraps are cooked through.

5. To serve, arrange the salmon wraps on warmed serving plates and spoon some of the basil pesto to one side. Add some of the mixed salad to each plate and have a separate warmed dish of the roasted potatoes and lemon wedges for the table.

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