Caitlin Ruth’s Cod in a Mushroom and Kombu Broth with Butternut Squash and Sea Spinach

Caitlin Ruth is the chef behind the legendary Deasy’s Harbour Bar & Restaurant, in the tiny harbour of Ring, just outside Clonakility in West Cork.

Deasy’s, an old fashioned fisherman’s pub, is one of just thirty-one gastropubs on the whole island of Ireland featured in the Michelin Good Food In Pubs Guide. Of the thirty one pubs, there are currently four in West Cork alone (compared to just two in Dublin).

And Caitlin’s cooking represents the very best of Cork food culture – innovation and adventure with 100 per cent locally sourced ingredients (even the banana leaves she often wraps her fish in come from plants grown in her own garden).

Caitlin, originally from New Hampshire in the US, is one of our Cork food heroes. And she has kindly given us an exclusive new recipe to share.

This is Caitlin Ruth’s Cod in a Mushroom and Kombu Broth with Butternut Squash and Sea Spinach 

First - make the broth:

The night before, put a 4 inch piece of dried Atlantic kombu seaweed into 1 litre of cold water, let it sit until the next day. Then remove the kombu, reserving the water and seaweed separately. 

Sauté 6 large portobello mushrooms and a thumb of peeled and chopped ginger in a splash of oil on high heat until the mushrooms are cooked and coloured.

Add a few ladlefuls of kombu water, simmer until mushrooms are tender.

Put the mushroom mixture into the jug containing the remainder of the kombu water and purée until very smooth.

Press through a sieve with the back of a ladle (discard solids or keep for stock) and season the broth to taste with tamari or soy sauce. 

Peel a butternut squash and cut into small chunks. Toss in a bowl with olive oil and salt, then spread on a tray and roast in hot oven until soft. Take 1/3 of the squash and blend with a spoon of miso, if desired, for a garnish and different texture. 

Cut the reserved kombu into tiny dice, simmer with 75ml soy sauce, a pinch of sugar, splash of rice wine vinegar, and a chopped chili until syrupy. Reserve for garnish. 

Blanch sea spinach for 2 minutes in boiling, salted water, then plunge into cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside. 

Heat a frying pan, add a spoon of olive oil, a knob of butter and a large pinch of salt. Place 4 skinless cod portions top side down, lower heat, cook for 2 minutes, carefully flip, cover with a lid, turn off heat and leave to cook in the residual heat. They should cook through this way, depending on thickness.  

To serve: 

Warm 4 pasta bowls, heat butternut squash chunks and mushroom broth separately.  Swoosh a spoonful of the butternut squash purée around the outside rim of bowl. Scatter the squash chunks and cold sea spinach in the warm bowls prettily, place cod fillet on top, pour the mushroom broth over the contents, then garnish with the spicy kombu garnish (see photo).