Okay, so in honor of the promise of spring and St. Patrick’s Day I made a special dinner for the Irish-at-heart. Since I’m not eating red meat, I decided to go with the next most Irish protein, salmon. Perhaps it will make me wise and I’m certain it will be tasty. The menu is simple and economical: salmon croquettes, (basically canned salmon with onion, red sweet pepper and dill). If you’re offended by the can, just remember it’s wild caught, canned fresh and it’s cheap, Irish mothers rejoice. It’s served alongside a big bowl of colcannon, with Irish soda bread, and for dessert I’ve got bread pudding slathered in Bailey’s Irish Cream sauce, so let’s get to it.
Irish Rosemary Soda Bread
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped rosemary (or other herb of choice)
- 2 cups buttermilk
Grease an 8-inch pie plate or baking sheet and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and finely chopped rosemary.
Make a little well in the center and add the buttermilk. Stir until a dough forms (feel free to use your fingers if you want). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
Place the dough on the greased pie plate and cut a half inch deep X across the top of the dough.
Bake for 50 minutes or until a dark golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Do not slice until the bread has cooled. Wrap in a moist towel until ready to serve. I usually bake the bread the day before and store in a bread bag until the next day before slicing.
My version of colcannon has a couple of extra ingredients but I think you’ll like it, unless of course you hate peas in which case just leave them out.
- 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 small or half of a large cabbage, cored and chopped
- 2 small or 1 large leek (white part only) sliced into rings
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 cup of fat free milk
- 4 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (use black if you don’t have white pepper)
In a large pot of water, boil the potatoes until tender (about 20-25 minutes).
Steam the cabbage for about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain, cover and set aside.
In a small saucepan, simmer the leeks in milk just until soft (about 5-7 minutes). Then remove the leeks with a slotted spoon, set aside, and reserve the milk.
Drain the potatoes and add about half the milk used to simmer the leeks. Mash the potatoes to desired consistency (I like mine a little lumpy). Add the cream cheese and pepper and mash until blended. Use the remaining milk if needed. Stir in the cabbage, leeks and peas. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and reheat in the microwave for serving later.
Salmon Croquettes (Patties)
- 1 15-oz can wild caught salmon
- 3 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon dried or fresh dill
- Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients and form into patties. In a skillet, sauté the patties until crisp and browned.
Really Easy Bailey’s Irish Cream Bread Pudding
- 1 1-lb loaf cinnamon raisin bread
- 3 cups half and half or whole milk
- 1 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream (Brady’s also works)
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 3 Tablespoons melted butter
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Tear bread into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the milk and Bailey’s and let soak for about 10 minutes. Work the mixture in with your hands until the milk is absorbed.
In another bowl combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, spice and butter. Add to the bread mixture and pour into buttered baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let rest on cooling rack until fully set. The smell was making me irrational and I forgot to take pictures.
To create a quick sauce, combine 1 can of sweetened condensed milk with 1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream. Warm in the microwave (very carefully). Pour over the bread pudding and serve.
So there it is. My culinary homage to St. Patrick’s Day and if you want green beer you’ll have supply your own. Enjoy!