Who in their right mind wants to be in the kitchen cooking? That’s right, no one.
For centuries, salmon has been smoked in Ireland using time-honored techniques that capture and enhance the flavor and texture of this great Atlantic fish. Irish salmon has a firm, lean flesh which gives this king of fish its distinctive and greatly sought-after texture.
Traditionally smoked over oak, smoked Irish salmon acquires an inimitable dark orange color and subtle flavor, so savored by the connoisseur.
At the W Hotel here in Miami, I use Spillane Seafoods. It is a family-run business, situated on the shores of the beautiful Lakes of Killarney. Close by, the mighty Atlantic Ocean is home to some of the world's finest salmon fishing grounds.
Salmon are spawned in the pure rivers of Kerry during the autumn. The following springtime, the young salmon (smolts) navigate their way to the open sea, where they will spend the next three to four years feeding and growing.
Then, in a miracle of nature, these salmon will return homeward, finding unerringly the exact river in which they were spawned.
As they return, they are caught by local fishermen and so begins the process of preparation for smoking.
The salmon is filleted and trimmed by hand. It is then salted and rinsed many times in natural spring water. Once prepared, the salmon fillets are smoked in a specially designed oven using smoldering oak chips for several hours.
Finally, the fillets are chilled, pin boned and vacuum-sealed, now ready for worldwide distribution.
Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake. The dish is mostly associated with the north midlands, north Connacht and southern Ulster, in particular, the counties of Mayo, Sligo, Donegal (where it is known locally as Poundy or Poundies), Fermanagh, Leitrim, and Cavan.
There are many different recipes but all contain finely grated, raw potatoes, and all are served fried. The most popular version of the dish consists of finely grated, raw potato and mashed potato with flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and sometimes egg.
Boxty was seen as so much a part of the local culture in the areas in which it was made, that the following poem was written:
“Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty in the pan,
If you can't make boxty,
You'll never get a man.”
(I guess this was when it was the women who did all the cooking)
Boxty Pancake Recipe
- 1 lb potatoes
- 6 oz flour
- 8 oz milk
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
Peel and grate raw potato.
Add flour, salt, milk, and baking powder. Mix well.
Drop a tablespoon of milk onto hot greased pan. Cook thoroughly to a golden brown on each side.
* Originally published in 2016, updated in April 2023.