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Bacon Makes the Potato Salad


Use new potatoes in this Irish-infused potato salad.

In Ireland, bacon is more like what we Americans would call Canadian bacon. That’s not what is called for here. In this creamy potato salad, use crisp American bacon.

Bacon-Potato Salad

8 to 9 strips bacon
3 pounds small new potatoes
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
4 to 5 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons wine or herb vinegar
4 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup sour cream
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley (for garnish)

Four hours before serving: Cook, drain and crumble bacon. Cover potatoes with cold, salted water, bring to boil, cook until tender but still firm, about 20 minutes. Drain, cool; peel if desired, but red skins make a prettier salad. Cut into 1/4-inch slices. Add onion, parsley and half of bacon; toss. Combine vinegar, oil, sour cream, salt and pepper. Add to potatoes, toss. Chill 4 hours.

When ready to serve: Add a little more sour cream if potatoes seem dry. Garnish with parsley and remaining bacon.

Makes 8 servings.

From “Tampa Treasures Cookbook: The Junior League of Tampa”

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Potatoes Tantalize Combined with Bacon, Mint


The potato may be a New World food that only made its way to Europe in recent centuries, but the Irish have certainly made it their own.

In fact, a chapter of American history in the mid-19th century would not have been written if the Irish diet weren’t so dependent on potatoes. When the Great Famine wiped out the potato crop from 1845 to 1852, 1 million died and 1 million more left for life elsewhere, including the American shores, according to Wikipedia.

“The potato was introduced to Ireland as a garden crop of the gentry,” the site says. “By the late 17th century, it had become widespread as a supplementary rather than a principal food, as the main diet still revolved around butter, milk, and grain products. In the first two decades of the 18th century, however, it became a base food of the poor, especially in winter. The expansion of the economy between 1760 and 1815 saw the potato make inroads in the diet of the people and become a staple food all the year round for the cottier and small farm class.”

Potatoes have long been a staple of the Irish diet.

St. Patrick’s Day is a and a celebration of the Irish that is in all of us, here are three recipes featuring the mighty spud that are perfect for the holiday and year-round. We also include a Green Goddess dressing with its festive green color as a way of making your salad even more fitting for the day.

Beannachtam na Feile Padraig! (ban/ocked/tee nah fail/eh pawd/rig) That’s Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all.

Potato Onion Soup, Irish Style

Potato and Mint Salad

Bacon-Potato Salad

Green Goddess Dressing

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Fresh Mint Enlivens This New Potato Salad


Potato and Mint Salad

“As classic as they come,” Hugo Arnold and Leylie Hayes write of this potato salad in “Avoca Cafe Cookbook.” “Buy the best potatoes you can and leave the rest to nature. And don’t skimp on the salt. This is not the time to be worrying about over-indulgence; reserve that for the next time you are tempted by a packet of crisps.” (Crisps are potato chips, for those who haven’t been to Ireland recently.)

Do not substitute bottled French dressing for the French dressing listed below.

Potato and Mint Salad

2 pounds small new potatoes
2 tablespoons French dressing (recipe follows)
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
A large bunch of mint, chopped
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

French dressing:
1 cup sunflower oil
1 cup olive oil
1 cup peanut oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons grainy mustard
2 generous teaspoons honey

Place the potatoes in a pan of salted water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until tender, then drain and place in a bowl. Mix with the French dressing and leave to cool. Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt and mint together and pour over the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

To make the French dressing: Place the oils, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, mustard and honey in a jar and emulsify. This can be stored in a bottle and shaken vigorously before using. It will keep in the fridge for several weeks. (Modify the ingredients to your taste and what you have on hand.) Use it on any kind of salad.

Makes 4 salad servings.

From “The Avoca Cafe Cookbook” by Hugo Arnold with Leylie Hayes

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Potato Onion Soup, Irish Style


Potato Onion Soup, Irish Style

“During the great potato famine of 1845, many Irish immigrants came to this country with the hope that they could continue to make this wonderful soup,” writes Jeff Smith in “The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors.”

Potato Onion Soup, Irish Style

4 tablespoons butter
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 cups milk
5 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, whole
1 cup half-and-half
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Roux:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour

Garnishes:
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
6 slices lean bacon, crisply fried and chopped

Heat a 6- to 8-quart stockpot, add the butter and onion, and cook gently. Do not let the onion brown. Add the peeled and sliced potatoes, milk and stock. Add the herbs. Cover and cook gently for about an hour. Prepare a roux: Melt the butter in a small saucepan and whisk in the flour. Let the flour and butter mixture (roux) bubble for 2 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Thicken the soup with the roux, whisking carefully to avoid lumps. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes and then purée the soup in a food processor or blender, if desired. (You could also purée half of the mixture, so you have a variety of textures in the soup.) Add the half-and-half and gently reheat, but do not boil. Season with the salt and pepper. Serve with chopped fresh chives and the crisply fried bacon as garnishes.

This soup can be made with the chopped white part of 5 or 6 large leeks instead of onions. Additional garnishes you can use instead of bacon are chopped prawns or  a small dice of lobster.

To make a vegetarian version, use vegetable stock and leave out the bacon.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Adapted from “The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors” by Jeff Smith

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