Greenpoint Gazette

Feasting Fancies – The Luck of the Irish

BY Ralph Lupoli

Are the Irish lucky? I guess they are because on March 17th everyone wants to be Irish. And most of the world wears green to celebrate this festive day. I have selected several recipes that may help you create a great Saint Patrick’s meal.

Potato, Leek and Fennel Soup
8 servings

2 tablespoons butter
2 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
2 cups sliced fennel bulb, fronds reserved for garnish
4 14-½ ounce cans low salt chicken broth
2 pounds red-skinned potatoes peeled, cut into ½ inch pieces (about 4 cups)

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and fennel and sauté until leeks are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add broth and potatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium –low. Simmer soup until potatoes are very tender, about 25 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return to same pot. Rewarm soup if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls: garnish with reserved fennel fronds and serve.

Green Noodles with Garlic
Serves 4 as a main course

1 pound dried spinach linguine
4 to 6 garlic cloves
6 tablespoons olive oil
1-cup Italian parsley sprigs
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Bring a kettle three fourths full with salted water to a boil and cook linguine until al dente. While pasta is cooking, force garlic through a garlic press into a 10 to 12 inch skillet and add oil. Cook garlic over moderately low heat, stirring until fragrant. 1 to 2 minutes. Chop parsley.

Ladle out and reserve about 1/3 cup pasta cooking water. Drain linguine in a colander and add to garlic mixture. Cook mixture over moderate heat, tossing pasta until coated well with oil and garlic, about 1 minute. (if pasta appears dry, add reserved cooking water, tablespoon at a time,) Add cheese and toss linguine until cheese begins to melt. Remove skillet from heat and toss linguine with parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Gratin of Cod, Potatoes and Tomatoes
6 servings

1 ½ pounds fresh cod fillets, cut 1 inch thick
2 large ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound) peeled, seeded and sliced
3 small baking potatoes (about 1 pound) peeled and sliced
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste

Crumb Topping
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
½ minced flat-leaf parsley (Italian)
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-tablespoon water

Heat oven to 350F. Lightly oil bottom and sides of a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Cut fish to fit in 2 layers.
Spread 1/3 of the tomatoes in prepared dish. Top with ½ the fish and then ½ the potatoes, sprinkling each layer with salt and pepper. Top with ½ the remaining tomatoes, the remaining fish and remaining potatoes. Cover with rest of tomatoes.
Mix together the first five ingredients of crumb topping and scatter evenly over top. Mix remaining ingredients and pour on top. Cover dish with foil.
Bake for 1 hour, uncover and bake for another 10 minutes or until potatoes and fish are tender.

Soda bread
¼ cup sugar
1-tablespoon baking powder
1-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon baking soda
4 cups plus ½ teaspoon all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cold butter
1-cup golden or dark seedless raisins
1 ½ cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F Grease large cookie sheet

In a large bowl, combine sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and 4 cups flour. With pastry blender or 2 knives use scissor-fashion, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With spoon stir in raisins, the buttermilk just until evenly moistened.
With floured hands gently knead dough in bowl a few times until dough forms a ball (do not over mix or bread will be tough) Place dough on cookie sheet: shape into a 7 inch round loaf (dough will not be smooth).
Sprinkle loaf with remaining ½ teaspoon flour. With sharp knife, cut 4 inch-long cross about ¼ inch deep on top of loaf. Bake loaf 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

This, I have been told by many Irishmen is not at all Irish, but what Americans consider Irish. This is the meal that is most thought of for Saint Patrick’s Day, as you will see by the amount of packaged corned beefs you will find in your markets. I have also given you a traditional recipe for mashed potatoes and cabbage if you don’t what them boiled. If you decided to use the Colcannon recipe, just eliminate the potatoes and cabbage from the corned beef recipe and proceed the same way.

Corned Beef and Cabbage and Potatoes
6-8 servings

3-4 pounds corned beef (thick or thin) comes in a plastic package
1 large white cabbage, cut into wedges
6 – 8 medium sized red potatoes (or more if you would like more potatoes)
1 small package baby carrots (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mustards and Horseradish

Empty corned beef from package and place all in a large pot, cover well with cold water. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove meat from water and discard water. Rinse pot and refill with water, return beef to water, bring to a simmer.

When water is simmering, add potatoes cook for five minutes and add cabbage, always be sure water covers all ingredients if not add warm water as needed. Cook until meat, potatoes and cabbage are tender. If using carrots put into pot last 10 minutes. Check for salt and pepper. Can be prepared early in day allowed to cool in the cooking water in pot and reheated in same water before serving.

Arrange all on a platter. Serve with mustards of different kinds.

Colcannon Mashed Potatoes
6 servings
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
1 pound rutagaba, peeled, cut into 1 ½ inch dice
4 cups of savoy cabbage, chiffonade (thick shreds)
4 ounces butter
8 ounces, heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes and rutabaga until tender. Drain and keep warm.
In a large sauté pan heat butter and add cabbage. When cabbage begins to wilt, add heavy cream and deduce by ¼. Mash warm potatoes and rutabaga. Fold in cabbage cream mixture. Season with salt and pepper

I hope you enjoy your Saint Patrick’s Day dinner, invite guests and have a party; beer would be the appropriate beverage for this meal. I hope some of these ideas and recipes will go into your permanent collection.

If you need any information or have any questions write me at this newspaper or e-mail me at raskralph@aol.com.

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