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Dive into summer seafood with Dunnes Stores

In the first of a special series, Food&Wine editor Gillian Nelis picks her favourites from the Simply Better seafood range, while wine writer Cathal McBride suggests some fine pairings

Irish crab cocktail, €6.49, and Irish crab claws, €6.39

Irish crab cocktail, €6.49, and Irish crab claws, €6.39

Is it even summer if you’re not eating Irish crab? Not in my book. The Murphy family of Shellfish Ireland in Castletownbere in west Cork source crab for the Simply Better range from their own fishing fleet, and their crab claws are one of my favourite summer treats - I like to serve them warm, with a little garlic butter. Their crab cocktail, meanwhile, is perfect stirred through pasta or in open Sandwiches.

Handmade Irish salmon and broccoli quiche, €4.50

Owen and Lorna Mullins of Zanna Cookhouse in Co Wexford are the pair behind the Simply Better quiche range, and this salmon and broccoli variety is one of their best. Free range eggs and all-butter pastry are combined with organic Irish salmon from the Simply Better range that’s been lightly seasoned with garlic, chilli, fennel and ginger, and the result is a rich - but not too rich - treat. I like to eat this with a simple green salad, accompanied by a glass of chilled white, for a quick and easy summer meal.

Irish Dublin Bay prawn cocktail, €6.49

Prawn cocktail may be enjoying a bit of a renaissance, but it never went out of fashion for me - it’s one of my favourite classic dishes, and I’ll always order it when I see it on a restaurant menu. This traditional rendition, made by Shellfish Ireland in Castletownbere, lets you bring the restaurant experience home. Just add chopped lettuce - I like little gem – and you’re good to go.

Italian lobster Mezzelune, €3.50

Bertagni has been making filled pasta in Bologna since 1882, and this luxurious lobster mezzelune shows off all the skills it has perfected in the years since. The pasta parcels themselves are made with wheat flour, eggs and a pinch of semolina, and are filled with lobster, butter, cream and a lobster broth. Be careful not to overcook these delicate delights - they literally only take minutes, so stand over the pot – which would make a perfect starter for two.

Oak and hickory smoked organic Irish salmon with organic seaweed and spices, €5.49

Got friends or family coming round? Smoked salmon, home-made brown bread and Irish butter are hard to beat when it comes to preparing a sharing platter. Dunn’s of Dublin, which is Ireland’s oldest fish processor - it’s been in business since 1822 - make this really tasty seaweed-infused salmon that’s smoked over a blend of oak and hickory wood chips for at least nine hours. The seaweed flavour is subtle rather than overpowering, and should be a real crowd pleaser.

Garlic and herb Irish salmon darnes, €8.49

Salmon is a favourite ingredient in our house year-round, but particularly in summer. These Irish salmon darnes sourced by Keohane’s in Bantry in west Cork offer minimum fuss - they can be pan-fried or oven-cooked, and come topped with a garlic and herb butter that will save the time you’d otherwise spend making a sauce. Try serving them with the Simply Better Charlotte baby potato salad and some lightly-dressed salad greens.

Cathal McBride’s wine picks

Chateau de Berne Cuvee Rose, Cotes De Provence 2020, €17.99

Nothing says summer like rosé, and this beautiful example from Provence, while delicious for any time of the year, brings a touch of blush to those welcome al fresco dining days. The bouquet is full of rich stone fruit aromas, with apricots and peaches to the fore, blended harmoniously with mild herbal and floral notes. The palate, made from a blend of grenache, cinsault and syrah, is delightfully refreshing and fruity. With an elegant mouthfeel that is balanced by zippy acidity, this would be a wonderful pairing with the Irish crab claws, and the smoked salmon with organic seaweed and spices.

Peter & Peter Riesling, Aus Der Steillage, Trocken, Mosel 2020, €14.99

The Mosel Valley in Germany is famous for its riesling, and this is wonderfully expressive with aromas of juicy peaches, crisp apples, honey and fresh melon. Clean and fresh on the palate, there are notes of pear and green apples, with complexity from citrus blossom and honey sweetness.

Try this with the Dublin Bay prawn cocktail, the Irish crab cocktail or with the lobster mezzelune, where the sweetness of the lobster combines perfectly with the off-dry style of this riesling.

Tiki Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand 2021, €14.99

With good quality New Zealand sauvignon blanc scarce due to low yields in this vintage, this offers a wine of exceptional quality at a good price. A single vineyard wine from north Canterbury, the nose is redolent of classic sauvignon blanc aromas, with passion fruit underpinned by vibrant grapefruit citrus and lingering notes of gooseberry. The palate provides rich fruit freshened by crisp citrus acidity with a persistent finish on the palate. A finely tuned and balanced wine, this would be an ideal accompaniment to the garlic and herb Irish salmon darnes. Similarly, try it with the crab claws drizzled with garlic butter.

Macon-Villages Domaine des Belles Roches, Burgundy 2021 €17.99

From the beautiful hilly landscape of southern Burgundy comes this delicious chardonnay. Mâcon-Villages is the name given to the appellation of 26 communes around Maconnais, and this wine presents a delightfully complex nose incorporating stone fruits with an undercurrent of lively citrus. The palate is simultaneously rich and vibrant; smooth with a dry, well-structured rounded body and a faint hint of minerality on the finish.

Generally speaking, chardonnays from Mâcon-Villages are unoaked, so this comes without the buttery richness you would expect from other Burgundies. Yet it attains enough juicy fruit to pair well with the sweetness of the lobster in the mezzelune, and also has the weight and balanced acidity to cut through the richness of the salmon and broccoli quiche.

This article was brought to you in partnership with Dunnes Stores Simply Better