One of the unsung heroes of the Irish food scene, oats are widely grown, inexpensive, nutritious and extremely versatile. There’s much more to oats than breakfast but, whether in porridge or other oat-based dishes like granola, their slow-release energy means they’re pretty much the perfect start to the day.
Growing conditions in Ireland suit oats well and this sixth generation family firm has been milling oats at Kilmacthomas for over 200 years, making it one of Ireland’s longest-running family businesses. All of their standard oats are produced in Ireland, and they’re actively encouraging more Irish organic oat production to meet demand.
Over a million servings of Flahavan’s porridge are consumed nationwide each week, so we’re told, and the taste of the nation was confirmed in recent Great Taste Awards when two of their products - Flahavan’s Organic Porridge Oats and Flahavan’s Organic Jumbo Oats - were awarded a Gold Star for their texture and taste.
Rightly keen to emphasise their versatility, Flahavans commission recipes from celebrity chefs such as Kevin Dundon (of nearby Dunbrody House Hotel) and - very useful for everyday ideas - there’s a handy booklet of Mary Flahavan’s own Simple Oat Recipes too.
E. Flahavan & Sons Limited Kilnagrange Mills Kilmacthomas Co Waterford
(+353 (0)51 294107; www.flahavans.com)
RECIPE: Fish Pie with Oat Topping
Everybody loves a good fish pie, and it is a versatile dish that can be varied with the seasons. Using the oats that are an important crop in the South-East region, the crumble topping used here makes a nice variation on the usual potato or pastry.
Fresh fish from ports like Helvick, Kilmore Quay and Duncannon is easily available in the South-East (and distributed throughout the country), and the combination can be varied - the special mixtures sold in chunks by fishmongers may also be used instead of fillets in this recipe, but be careful not to overcook them.
Smoked fish is especially useful in winter, but don’t use more than half the quantity of at the most, as the strong flavour will overpower other ingredients.
This pie can be assembled and grilled to serve immediately, or prepared ahead then reheated and browned in the oven.
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