18 Mar Spud + salmon salad
Though I think it’s fair to say that St Patrick’s Day has become more closely associated with drinking rather than eating, a St Patrick’s Feast is something that can be easily celebrated with minimum fuss. Traditionally, the 17th of March was a free pass to break Lent. You could reward yourself for your abstinence from chocolates, a drop of whiskey or whatever pleasure you were sacrificing, and have a few sneaky treats courtesy of St Paddy.
Today, instead of gorging on an Easter Egg selected from the secret stash in my mother’s cupboard, I like to make a potato-based meal to mark the day. Instead of the roast bacon joint and cabbage, I might do potato cakes with smoked salmon and crème fraiche, or a plate of fried boxty with crispy bacon. Today is a great excuse to indulge in some of the fantastic Irish produce available to us today. Put together your own Irish cheeseboard, selected from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers (sheridanscheesemongers.com), paired with their Irish brown bread crackers. Or stock up on McKarthy’s of Kanturk Queen’s Black Pudding, (jackmccarthy.ie) or try Goatsbridge Farm Smoked Trout caviar (goatsbridgetrout.ie).
What I’ve gone for this year is a roast potato and hot smoked salmon salad. It’s a simple way of celebrating two great Irish ingredients (the potato and salmon). It makes a filling meal all on its own, paired with some homemade brown bread and a glass of stout, but it also works really nicely as a side dish for roast meats or as part of a St Patrick’s Day buffet. It might be a little early for new Irish potatoes (their season usually starts in April) but if you can find some in your farmer’s market, they’d be ideal for this recipe. Otherwise, just use regular spuds cut into quarters.
Spud + Salmon Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
750g Irish potatoes
1 head of garlic
Half a lemon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
Half a teaspoon of pepper
4 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
Handful of fresh dill
100g hot smoked salmon
Zest of half a lemon
- Pre-heat the oven to 200c/180c fan/gas mark 6.
- Wash and peel your spuds. Slice them into halves and then quarters. Place them in a large roasting dish.
- Slice the head of garlic in half and place around the potatoes.
- Squeeze the lemon juice all over the potatoes. Slice the juiced lemon half into quarters and place the lemon rind into the roasting dish. These will give your spuds an even deeper lemony flavour.
- Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove and transfer to a serving plate. Allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, add a tablespoon of water to your yoghurt to give it a thin, runny texture. Now take a handful of fresh dill and chop it very finely. Mix into the yoghurt and set aside.
- Use your fingers to flake the hot smoked salmon over your cooled potatoes. Drizzle with the dill yoghurt. Finely grate some lemon zest over the whole dish, and finish with a little extra salt and pepper. Serve with a little homemade brown bread and a glass of stout.
Storecupboard Essential: Dill
Dill is one of the most aesthetically pleasing herbs, its fine leaves often reminding me of underwater plants. It loves fish. It can overpower easily so use it with a light hand. I often find fresh dill in my local Lidl. Failing that I get it from Fallon & Byrne in Dublin, who have an excellent selection of fresh herbs.
This recipe first appeared in The Irish Independent on March 17th 2016