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Celebrating Our Shamrock Friendship

The St. Patrick's day parade, an occasion that gathers more folks along NYC streets than in Dublin is  an attestation of the strength of strong immigrant pride  in the United States.  long after wave after wave of Irish immigrants came, assimilated  and integrated into the American social fabric, the collective awareness of Irish roots is enough to promote all kinds of celebratory events. The spirit of St. Patty's celebrations in NY, Boston and other US cities, permeates places and people, with countless hues of green.  Storefronts flash all kinds of specials using green  flags and banners,  bars - Irish and not - mix drinks - shamrock shakes anyone  ? - that will make converts of even the most dry of "astemi" . And then comes the food. Sure, corned beef and cabbage is the supermarkets want us to buy,  but Irish cuisine does goes way beyond that.

Here are a few to get you thinking and to make you hungry.

Colcannon , mash potatoes with kale and scallions that will give any garlic parsnip mash a run for its money. This is a peasant dish at heart, right down my alley . Yummy!

Dublin Lawyer, a lobster dish prepared in a Whiskey cream sauce! How can you go wrong with that ? Take a quick look at this decadent dish

Irish lamb stew, which brings potatoes and greens together in a hearty comfort food that will hit the spot, especially on those colder and overcast days, when the shamrock leaves spend time invigorating in the morning mists.

I, too wanted to get past a bowl of corned beef and cabbage.  But having to stick within the confines of meatless lenten season,  I decided to substitute the red meat with some good salmon. And, of course, I also made sure that our plates contained something green.

Cajun Corned Salmon Nuggets served with Spinach Feta Sauce

Salmon Nuggets in Spinach Feta Sauce

Preparation Notes 

The nuggets were easy to make.  Cut your salmon filet into chunks two inches by one inch by one. Dredge them thoroughly in seasoned flour and then fry them  in some hot oil. I used a mixture of two parts grape seed oil and one part EVOO so that I would not alter the flavor of the seafood.

The flavor agent used to make the seasoned flour was a mixture of my own Cajun blend with a stronger dose of coriander and peppercorns.  That gave the fish  a lighter Cajun taste with some hints of "Corned " something. Weird isn't it ? But it worked.

When frying, do not overcook. the chunks of salmon.  They will need at most about two minutes per side.

The spinach  feta dip was equally simple to make.  Blanch your fresh chopped spinach for two minutes. The using a food processor, puree' into a cream with the addition of two or three cloves of  fresh garlic, 3/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese, 1/4 cup of grated Romano cheese. Season with  S/P, EVOO.

Cajun "Corned" Salmon Nuggets and Cabbage 

Cajun Corned Salmon and Cabbage

I did try out a few of the nuggets with some savory cabbage and potatoes. Folks, it worked out just fine.  Who needs meat, and special dispensations from monsignor, when "brisket of the sea" a will be as filling,

So to my Irish friends, whose national flags shares one color, green, the color of hope, with that of Italy., I wish a very happy and safe Saint Patrick's day.

Slainte ! (pronounced: slawncha)


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