St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

 

My Irish friends (including a priest born and raised in Ireland) tell me that corned beef and cabbage is not the traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day dinner.  It was popularized by Irish Americans in America, where beef was plentiful and affordable, and where salted meat was common in the days before refrigeration.  In Ireland, a family is more likely to serve seafood or lamb on Saint Patrick’s Day.  Incidentally, Patrick was not Irish.  He was English, though after he converted to Christianity, he dedicated his life to bringing Christianity to Ireland.  Also, he did not drive out any snakes from Ireland.  Ireland has never had any snakes in recorded history.  The story is more likely an allegory for driving “Satan and Sin” out of Ireland.  My St. Patrick’s Day dinner features salmon in an Irish whiskey sauce and Colcannon, a blend of potatoes and kale (or cabbage).  I prefer Kale for its dark green color, creating an appropriate dish for the “wearin’ o’ the green.”

Colcannon

  • 1 lbs potatoes scrubbed, unpeeled and diced into1” cubes
  • 3/4 cups nonfat milk
  • 1 cloves garlic peeled
  • 2 cups kale leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh marjoram leaves
  • Ground pepper to taste

 

Put the potatoes, milk, and garlic in a medium pot over medium high heat.  Watch the mixture carefully to prevent boilovers.  When the mixture reaches a boil, add kale leaves, turn the heat down to medium, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until potatoes mash easily.  Turn off the heat.  Scoop the potatoes and kale out with a slotted spoon into a food processor.  Pour off the milk into a separate contained and reserve.  Rinse out the pot.  Add the chopped bacon and heat over medium high heat until bacon is crisp.  Scoop out bacon bits and pour off most of the fat, leaving just a light film on the bottom of the pot.  Turn off the heat.  Process potato mixture with marjoram, adding enough of the leftover milk to create a creamy mashed-potato consistency.  Discard the remaining milk.  Return the potato mixture to the pot and stir well to evenly distribute the bacon.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Keep warm while you prepare the cream sauce and salmon.

Mushroom cream sauce

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 oz dried mixed gourmet mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 jigger Irish whiskey
  • Enough non-fat half and half added to the strained chicken broth to make 1 ½ cups liquid, blended with 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon jucie
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Put the broth in a large microwave-proof measuring cup and put it in the microwave on high power for 2 minutes until boiling.  Add the mushrooms and stir well.  Soak mushrooms for ten minutes.  Strain the broth from the mushrooms add enough non-fat half and half to the broth to make 1 ½ cups liquid. Add lemon juice and cornstarch.  Heat the butter in a flameproof sautee pan.  When the butter if foaming, add the mushrooms in a single layer.  Stir occasionally until they begin to brown.  Add the Irish whiskey and tipping the pan slightly, light it with a match.  When flames die down, whisk half and half  mixture to fully dissolve the cornstarch and tehn add it to the pan.  Whisk sauce until it thickens.  Add salt and pepper to taste.   Keep sauce warm while you prepare the salmon.

  • 2 lbs king salmon fillet, skin removed and cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 tsp each Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Mix salt, pepper and thyme leaves.  Rub mixture into both sides of the salmon fillets.  Heat a ridged grill pan or nonstick frying pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray over high heat.  Lay the salmon fillets on the grill and cook about 4 minutes on each side or until fish just begins to flake. 

Portion salmon pieces onto serving plates and top with the sauce.  Spoon colcannon on the side and add some sliced tomatoes.  Serves 4.

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