The St. Patrick’s Day Feast:When Irish Eyes Start A' Smilin'


Due to many requests, we’re giving out this recipe ahead of time. This is also great for a Valentine’s Day meal!

Corned Beef. Cabbage. Mutton. Potatoes. Bland. For many, this, along with a pint of Guinness and a glass of whisky sum up the extent of Irish cuisine. But there is really so much more to found in this vibrant land and culture. Corned beef, while an authentic food item with references dating back to the 12th century (The Vision of Mac Conglinne) was a rare treat. Beef and most any meat was a rare indulgence on this island nation. As in many cultures worldwide, a dietary staple was starches such as potatoes and greens. Add into the mix that Ireland has some of the most varied, fresh and delicious seafood available and you start to get an idea of what can set Irish eyes a smilin’. We use a variety of root vegetables that provide not only a delightful natural sweetness to the typical mashed potato offering, but a variety of different vitamins and minerals as well. The greens add a luscious texture as well as a host of phytochemicals, minerals, nutrients and fiber. A few crispy oysters deliver incredibly bioavailable forms of calcium, iron and trace elements like selenium and zinc. And a Guinness hollandaise adds, well, Guinness and what’s a St. Patty’s Day without a pint!

Potatoes, The Myth: Well, actually it is no myth: The Irish go together with potatoes like the fact that no Irishman is ever truly drunk so long as there is a single blade of grass to grasp to keep from falling off the face of the earth. The land also produced other tasty root vegetables and we start our meal with a base in fact that has given way to legend.

Irish Root Mash

  • 1 pound potatoes
  • ¼ pound parsnips
  • ¼ pound turnips
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 oz milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper

Heat some lightly salted cold water in a pot. Add the chopped vegetables, chop them roughly the same size so the cooking times are consistent. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until fork tender. Mash along with butter, milk, salt and pepper.

A blessing of The Green: What would an Irish dish be without some green? Not very authentic, that’s for sure. Any seasonal, fresh greens may be used here.

The Green

  • 1 10oz. back of spinach
  • 1 bunch fresh Swiss chard (yields about 1 cup chopped and cooked)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil

Heat a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Separate the chard stems from the leaves. Add the stems to the boiling water reduce to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Add the leaves and cook for three more. Remove, drain and cool in an ice bath. Drain the par-boiled chard of as much excess water as possible then roughly chop. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the spinach and chard. Cook for several minutes until the greens are bright green and done, remove from the heat.

The Pearls: A true pearl of Irish seafood is the oyster, particularly the Galway oyster. It was so highly regarded by the Romans that they paid for them by weight, in gold. Here we take some fresh oysters and dress them in a light bread coating and deeply fry them to perfection-Hail Caesar!

Irish Pearls

  • 12 fresh oysters
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup crushed corn flakes
  • ½ cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbs water
  • Peanut oil for deep frying

Dry the oysters and set up a 3 station breading area. Add the salt and pepper to the flour and place in the first bowl. Add the eggs and water to a second bowl. Place the bread crumbs and crushed corn flakes into a third bowl. Heat enough oil to cover the oyster in a Dutch oven or deep fryer to 360 degrees. Place the oysters in the flour and shake off the excess. Dip in the egg, again removing the excess and generously coat in the breading mixture. Deep fry for several minutes until golden brown remove and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Guinness: Guinness, ‘nuff said. The addition of Guinness to this Hollandaise adds a deep rich, chocolate layer that truly elevates this sauce to serious consideration for Sainthood.

Guinness Hollandaise

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ½ cup Guinness

Combine the lemon juice and egg yolks. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Temper the egg yolks by adding the melted butter, a little at a time to the yolks, whisking constantly. When half the butter has been added combine the egg yolk-butter mixture with the rest of the melted butter in the saucepan. Add the Guinness and stir over medium low heat until the sauce thickens, about 3- minutes.

Assembling The Feast: This recipe serves four, but you will have some Hollandaise leftover. Start with the root mash, then layer the greens and top with three fried oysters. Drizzle with 2 tsp of Guinness Hollandaise and pour yourself a fresh one. With some oysters and Guinness, this a meal to get Irish eyes a smilin’-and a whole lot more!

Nutrition info: Servings, 4. Totals per serving; calories 395, calories from fat 135, total fat 15g, total cholesterol 90mg, total sodium 1050mg, total carbohydrates 52g, total fiber 6g, total percent RDA; vitamin A 188%, vitamin c 81%, calcium 16%, iron 34%.

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