VERSATILE Depending on how you dress it up, boxty can make a great meal any time of the day.
Boxty, our traditional Irish potato pancake, is associated with northern part of our country, north Connacht and south Ulster. It is now widely available in many outlets, so may be it’s time to re-visit a time-honoured tradition in our culinary landscape and thinking about making it in our own kitchens again.
All over Mayo, Leitrim, Sligo, Donegal people make their own versions of Boxty, some in the pan, in the oven. The basic ingredient is grated raw potato, mashed with flour, milk, sometime eggs, and salt. The potato can be washed and strained to remove starch, but normally in my house, we just grate and go!
I’m sure it was served with hot whiskey and water in the old days but now chefs dress it up fancy with bacon, eggs or smoked salmon or some other fish. The Americans might have it with maple syrup and bacon.
Whatever your preference, there’s no doubting that boxty is a national treasure that we should all be able to throw together, and dress up how we see fit. It can be perfect for breakfast, lunch or weekend brunch. You could even use it for a packed lunch, just like a wrap or fajita. Normally, I’ll have them with chopped chives mixed in and simple cheddar on top, or cooked and served with a fresh mackerel fillet – nyum, nyum!
Boxty with smoked salmon and cream cheese
This is traditional boxty with a modern topping that people went mad for in New York in the ’90s. Never too late to try a trend!
What you need
- 250g mashed potato
- 250g potatoes, peeled and grated (Roosters are great for this)
- 100g plain flour
- 125ml milk
- 150g smoked Irish salmon
- 150g full fat cream cheese
What you do
Mix your grated potato, mashed potato and flour in a bowl until well combined. Add the milk, then and mix until you have a good consistency. Season by taste. With a floured hand, make small balls and squash into discs in your hand, whatever size you want for cooking. Careful not to make them too thick – you want to ensure they are cooked all the way through when they’re fried.
Heat a good thick-bottomed pan over a medium-high heat. Melt the butter and oil in the pan (taking care not to burn the butter) and then fry your boxty on either side for about three to four minutes, until they are golden-brown crispy on the edges and cooked within.
Use a paper towel on a plate to absorb some of the oil on the cooked Boxty first, and then remove to the serving plate. Lay some smoked salmon over the boxty and add a dollop of cream cheese on top. Serve with capers and lemon on the side for extra style!
Red Cabot is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street car park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm.