Today is St. Patrick’s Day. What more do you really have to say? Okay… A better question might be: What worthy, new and fresh innovations have emerged on the St. Paddy’s Day menu recently? I had to go some distance to find some truly creative, culinarily legit recipes with both eye- and Irish-appeal…
One of the most surprising things about St. Patrick’s Day is that it didn’t start in Ireland. Irish nex-patriot businessmen in Boston started having an annual supper to mark the death of their homeland’s patron Saint. That was back in the 18th century. Since then, the celebration has grown to encompass most of the English-speaking world including Ireland, which has gladly accepted the ‘tradition’ as a cultural import. Along with the Wearing o’ the Green, celebrants have also taken to Eatin’ the Green. And that’s led to some once novel, now lame culinary conventions…
Forget the Green Beer!
Green Bread and Rolls – in fact, Green ‘Anything’ that’s not norm ally green.
Shamrocks are a legitimate inspiration, but, please no fancy salads! The Shamrock is a member of the Clover Family, or the Wood Sorrel Family, depending on who you ask. They can be eaten, but aren’t all that great. Go chew a handful of Red Clover Leaves next time you’re out on a farm or nature walk! Also, they are (by most account) poisonous to Cats and Dogs.
Think more in terms of Shamrock- (or Clover-) shaped small pancakes. Sunny-side or over-easy Eggs done in a flat-bottom frying pan using an appropriate metal mould or cookie cutter. Sugar Shamrocks for decorating desserts. Just think Irish and go for it!
Any soup or sauce that’s naturally green can be spiffed up in honour of St. Paddy. Just add a Herbacious note of Rosemary, or Thyme – anything you’d use to flavour an Irish Stew!
Desserts cry out for green colours and flavours. Why not use both Mint and a savoury flavouring – like Rosemary – in a Yoghurt dessert? Chocolate mint Ice Cream was unknown in St. Paddy’s day, but it’s a great St. paddy’s Day dessert. Grasshopper Pie, made with Irish Whiskey rather than Bourbon, makes a superb ‘St. Paddy’s Pie’.
Go a little crazy on the appetizer course: Remember that Guacamole and Salsa Verde are green and you can always pair a lovely, slightly minty Fresh Cilantro Pesto with many dishes, both sweet and savoury!
Use your imagination… And create new culinary St. Paddy’s Day traditions of your own!
Oh! About the Beer: Just relax and have a Guinness…
~ Maggie J.