Sunday, March 12, 2017

Luck O' the Irish Salad

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!  My family heritage includes a substantial link back to Ireland, so my family typically celebrated Saint Patrick's Day when I was a kid.  While many traditionally Irish foods do not, at first, appear to transition well to a salad, (colcannon, shepherd's pie, boiled dinner, soda bread, etc.) I thought it might be fun to give it a try - to devise a mason jar salad celebrating some of the traditional foods of Ireland.  Start with a chive-loaded vinaigrette, layer in some corned beef, steamed potatoes, green peas, onion, carrot, cabbage, and kale, and finish with mini soda breads on the side!  A nutritious, veggie-packed, surprisingly delicious way to offset some of those extra calories you may or may not consume this week in the form of green beer (or Guinness!)  Slainte mhath!

YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c raisins or dried currants
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 c + 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c flax oil (or more extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh chives
  • 2-4 oz corned beef, diced or shredded
  • 1 lb yukon gold potatoes, cubed and steamed until tender
  • 1 c frozen green peas, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, grated or julienned
  • 1/2 small head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small bunch kale, stemmed and shredded

  1. Make the mini soda breads: preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Whisk together the flour sugar, salt, baking soda, and caraway seeds.  Cut in the butter using a fork or pastry blender, then stir in the raisins/currants.  Stir in the egg and buttermilk just until blended.  Place 1/4-cup sized scoops of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the mini breads begin to brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  2. Make the herb vinaigrette: combine the mustard, garlic, shallot, sugar, salt, pepper, vinegars, and oils in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients in a blender or mini food processor.)  Stir in the minced fresh herbs.
  3. Pack the salads: add 2 tbsp vinaigrette to each of 4 tall quart-sized containers.  (Reserve the remaining dressing for another use.)  Layer the corned beef, potatoes, peas, onion, carrot, cabbage, and kale in the jars.  Pack 1 mini soda bread for each salad.  (Enjoy the remaining soda breads for breakfast or share with others!)  Refrigerate until serving.
  4. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Break the soda bread into small chunks and add to your salad, or enjoy your soda bread on the side.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Substitute store-bought soda bread for the homemade soda bread, or omit.  Substitute your favorite prepared red-wine vinaigrette for the homemade herb vinaigrette.  Substitute bagged cabbage/carrot coleslaw mix for the shredded cabbage and carrot.  Substitute 5 oz baby kale for the stemmed, shredded kale.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS:  For a vegetarian salad, substitute smoked almonds or diced smoked tofu for the corned beef.  For vegan soda bread, substitute your favorite non-hydrogenated margarine for the butter, plant milk + 1 tsp vinegar for the buttermilk, and commercial egg replacer for the egg white.  For a gluten-free salad, omit the soda bread, or use your favorite gluten-free flour blend.  This salad is nut-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

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