On March 17, St. Patrick’s Day will be observed around the world. The annual celebration honors St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Of course, you don’t have to be Irish to take part in St. Paddy’s Day merrymaking. In fact, on this day many people from all backgrounds embrace Irish culture—especially in the U.S., Canada and Australia—by practicing traditions such as wearing green, enjoying Irish food, drink, music and dancing, and attending parades and other festivities.
The history books tell us that in Ireland, families typically marked the holiday by attending church services in the morning and celebrating in the afternoon by feasting on bacon and cabbage. The popular culinary tradition we know today—eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day—came about in the U.S. much later, when Irish immigrants found corned beef readily available, affordable and expertly prepared by Jewish immigrants in the neighborhoods they shared. Other popular St. Patrick’s Day recipes include Irish soda bread, champ (a mixture of mashed potatoes, butter, milk and scallions) and colcannon (see below).
Will you be cooking something special on St. Patrick’s Day? Although not exactly a traditional dish for the annual feast, here is a modern approach to an authentic recipe from The Roadside Tavern, a world-famous pub located in Ireland, that’s been around for more than 150 years. Colcannon is a traditional Irish side dish made from mashed potatoes and cabbage. Combined with salmon and dressed in a mustard sauce, this makes a simple, and delicious dish to celebrate the green. As you enjoy your St. Paddy’s Day feast, remember this Irish proverb: “Laughter is brightest where food is best.”
Smoked Salmon on a Bed of Colcannon
(Makes Four Servings)
28 ounces plain smoked salmon
For the colcannon:
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled
4 cups shredded cabbage leaves
2 tablespoons chopped scallions (spring onions)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 fluid ounces heated milk
Salt and black pepper, to taste
For the mustard cream sauce:
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 pint cream
2 tablespoon white wine
Instructions for the colcannon: Boil the peeled potatoes in lightly salted water until tender, then drain. Boil the cabbage and onion for about five minutes, drain and set aside. Mash the potatoes with the milk, butter, salt and pepper to taste. Add the spring onion and cabbage mixture.
Instructions for the mustard cream sauce: Mix all the ingredients together and heat gently until warm.
To assemble: Divide the salmon into four pieces. Heat the salmon in a preheated 350° oven for five minutes. Place a serving of the colcannon on each plate. Pour the mustard cream sauce over the colcannon and top with the salmon. Serve with a side of steamed vegetables of your choice—preferably something green.