Try A Different St. Patrick's Day Menu
Going Global on St. Pat's: Part Two. Using Irish ingredients with a Greek or Asian spin.
I'm not Irish, but I love any holiday with a strong food connection. Corned beef is the cornerstone of most St. Patrick’s Day meals. The term “corned” refers to the preparation of the meat, typically beef brisket. I chose not to brine and season our own, mainly because making your own corned beef would take anywhere from six to ten days to cure.
Our corned beef preparation of choice: store bought with seasoning packets, boiled as directed and in a sandwich. We like lean corned beef, sliced thin to medium, on rye bread with Thousand Island dressing. It’s a Reuben sandwich minus the sauerkraut.
A novel way to add flavor to your dishes is by cooking with beer. Irish ales and stouts (also part of the ale family, but are dense and dark) pack sweet, sometimes fruity notes. Others can finish with a slight bitter taste from the roasted malt used for the beverage. St. Patrick’s Day or not, you can enjoy these brews in everyday cooking. Ale mixed with honey or maple syrup can make an excellent glaze for poultry or fish.
Didn’t use all the potatoes in a stew or with your corned beef? Try this technique from the website Serious Eats. After I prepared my Russet and sweet potatoes, I seasoned them generously. The Russet potatoes are tossed with olive oil, lemon and oregano – mainstays of Greek cuisine, this combination is fresh and bright. The sweet potatoes get a melted butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and clove covering. I also add slivers of apple in between each cut. (Testing out the recipe posed a challenge, but using a combination of microwave and roasting seems to have worked out well.)
Honey Ale Glaze for chicken (or salmon)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless and halved
- 1 cup Irish ale
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook 3 minutes (until soft, but not brown). Remove garlic and set aside in small plate or bowl. Place chicken breasts in the same pan over medium-high heat. Cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Return garlic to the pan and also add Irish ale and honey. Simmer until liquid thickens to a sauce (about 4-5 minutes), season to taste with salt and pepper.
For salmon, omit the garlic cloves. Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Pan fry in a non-stick skillet for about four minutes on each side, skin-side up first then flip for last four minutes. Prepare honey ale glaze in small saucepan.
Roasted Potatoes with Greek Seasoning
- 4 Russet potatoes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Juice from one large lemon
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper
- Materials: chopsticks, aluminum foil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare your potatoes as described in the Serious Eats article. Chopsticks are brilliant for stopping your knife.
Once your potatoes are cut and washed, place in the microwave for two minutes. While in microwave, combine the oil, lemon and oregano in a non-reactive container (glass). Remove potatoes from microwave and place in a medium mixing bowl. Pour dressing to coat potatoes evenly. Lastly, sprinkle salt and pepper. Cover potatoes in aluminum foil, wrap well, and place on baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, unwrap the potatoes for the last 10-15 minutes of roasting. Remove and serve hot.