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Humble yet elegant St Patrick's Day feast


Tired of the old St Paddy's day stand-by, corned beef and cabbage? You can be just as traditional and as modern as can be with this silky scallop and cabbage casserole and bacstai. Say what? Boxty is how you say it. Here is how you make these traditional potato pancakes of shredded and mashed potatoes, served breakfast, lunch or dinner.


There is no better way to start this adventure than watching Chef Pádraic Óg Gallagher

of Gallagher's Boxty House, Dublin!

https://theculinarytravelguide.com/irish-boxty-recipe/


As the chef says,

"Boxty on the griddle; boxty on the pan. If you can't make boxty, you'll never get a man."

The potato pancakes may be baked or fried and served as part of breakfast, lunch or dinner. Traditionally they are made to honor St Brigid on February 1st but in our feast today we are doing mix and match. Making this recipe is really fun. Got some youngster to give you a hand?


Here are the ingredients to serve 2-4, with a total of 5 or 6 pancakes:

1 potato peeled and cubed, boiled for 10 minutes and then smashed. Yes, take a jar or glass bottom and pound the cubes to mash.

1 potato shredded, put into a dish towel and wrung out. Twist the towel and squeeze hard to wring out a surprising amount of liquid which you set aside in a bowl to let the starch settle.


Mix about 1 cup of all purpose flour with

1/2 teaspoon baking powder and

1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir this all together to make a rough nearly-dough like mixture with

a scant cup of milk or half and half.

Let this pancake batter rest for half an hour while you move on to the next steps.


Scallops, of course! Figure at least 12 whole farmed scallops per person, shucked and gutted, maybe even from your freezer. Petites are good for this dish. Brown some butter and lightly toast the scallops. Set them aside, reserving a few for garnishing the finished casserole.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Now for the cabbage part of the casserole which is also easily scaled up to serve more than 2-4:

Thinly slice 1/2 head of green cabbage

thinly slice 1/2 sweet onion

thinly slice 1-2 stacks of celery including the leaves.


Stir fry them all together in 2 Tablespoons of butter in a Dutch oven, tossing and covering the pot until the cabbage is just tender, perhaps 10 minutes. (You may need to add a spoonful of water because you want the cabbage to cook without coloring.)


Coat the cabbage, celery, and onions generously with about 2 tablespoons of flour. Wondra works very well. Pour in a scant cup of milk or half and half and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. A mild cheese such as Monterrey Jack, Gouda or mixed Italian or Parmesan all work well. Simmer gently till the sauce thickens.


Then add

1 Tablespoon of sherry and

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.

Stir in the buttered scallops, reserving a few for topping. Pour the mixture into your casserole dish of choice. An 8"x8" works well.


Make a topping of crushed Ritz crackers. Count out 16-18 or just crush half a roll of them with your rolling pin. More fun! Smash! Bang! Squish!

Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter and mix in the crumbs, adding

1/4-1/2 cup more of your shredded cheese of choice.

Bake for 20 minutes, till you see the sauce bubbling around the edges and the crumbs are nicely colored. Put on your topping scallops.


While the casserole is baking, fry the boxty. Allow 2-3 minutes on a side. You are aiming for a lovely golden-brown color. Don't hurry because you want the raw potato shreds to cook well.


On each plate you will put a Boxty pancake, a couple of spoonfuls of cabbage casserole, and perhaps a dollop of sour cream or yogurt on the pancakes, with applesauce on the side.

Don't leave out any component of this combination for an elegant/comfort food surprise.


This combination tastes simultaneously new and traditional. What else would we expect from Irish scallop dishes? They are moving toward abandoning the old way of scraping the seafloor with rake-like bottom trawls. Instead they are using vertically hung scallops on ropes or in nets. A study by Trinity College, Dublin, finds "Habitat concerns resulting from the physical infrastructure associated with suspended scallop culture is minimal."


Your enjoyment will be maximal!


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