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Touch o' the green.


Irish folklore has it that venerable Saint Patrick was a wee bit reluctant when God first bade the saint to convert the pagans on the Emerald Isle. Displeased with Paddy's procrastination, God threatened Paddy with one of the Irish's most-dreaded irritants--a bad next-door neighbor. That grim prospect prompted good old Saint Pat to reconsider the request and decide on second thought that, yes, he would be so good as to follow God's calling to Ireland.

Thank you, St. Paddy. Imagine a year without St. Patrick's Day parades and the great camaraderie of the holiday. March would become a very dull month, indeed. Next to Christmas and Easter, St. Patrick's Day is probably the most celebrated day of the year in Irish households. My great aunt Mary O'Hennelley began the feast day by dipping into the jar of moist shamrock shipped to her annually from her sisters on the sod. Before we left the house, our shirt pockets were decorated with bright green silk bows from which dangled sprigs of the celebrated clover. "You'll be wearin' the green, I'll be tellin' ye that," she said in the heaviest of Irish brogues. "Don't be insultin' the saints, do ye know, or luck will turn against ye."

Honor March 17 and your guests this year with a fabulous St. Paddy's Day feast. Leave the pandemonium of the last-minute party behind. An unusual, nontraditional menu with just a touch o' the green begins with snowy, white Alaskan halibut with a crunchy Emerald Sauce. On the side, Kiwi-fruit Potato Vinaigrette proves an outstandingly different flavor complement to the delicious halibut.

A brunch on order? Try this menu: serve savory Alaskan halibut encased in flaky puff pastry shells, filled with a cream sauce dotted with a "confetti of green peas." Lighten up the fare with St. Patrick's Fruit Platter, an outstanding combination of fresh California kiwi fruit and canned Bartlett pears, arranged on lettuce and drizzled with flavorful Poppy-seed Dressing.

Set the scene for a perfect party with appetizers. California Pistachio Spread is a tasty (and green) blend of cheeses, onion, lemon, and California pistachios--a perfect spread for fresh vegetables, crackers, or French bread. Artichokes with Green Garden Dip is a dramatic display for any St. Patrick's celebration. Follow the recipe exactly; then, arrange the artichoke petals in the center of your serving plate for a colorful, appetizing result. Irish coffee, tea, or a wee bit of the green bubbly will top off the spirited menu.

St. Patrick's Buffet Salad

(Makes 6 servings) 1-1/2 pounds small boiling potatoes Salt, if desired Water Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing (see recipe below) 2 California artichokes, sliced and cooked (see directions below) 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed and drained 2 tablespoons minced parsley 12 (1 oz. each) thin slices cooked corned beef, if desired 6 California iceberg lettuce wedges

Cook potatoes in enough boiling salted water to cover; simmer about 25 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool slightly. Cut into 1/4" slices. Pour half of Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing over warm potatoes; refrigerate until cold. Gently combine artichoke slices, peas, parsley, and potatoes. Roll up corned-beef slices. Arrange on platter with potato mixture and lettuce wedges. Pass remaining Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing.

Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing: Combine 1/2 cup oil, 1/3 cup white-wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 3/4 teaspoon salt (if desired), and 1/4 teaspoon each pepper and sugar; mix well. Makes about 3/4 cup.

To prepare artichokes: Bend back outer petals of artichoke until they snap off easily near base. Edible portion of petal should remain on artichoke heart. Continue to snap off and discard thick petals until central core of pale green petals is reached. Cut off top 2" of artichoke; discard. Cut off stem; rub all surfaces with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Quarter artichokes lengthwise. Remove small prickly-tipped petals and fuzzy centers; rub again with lemon. Cut artichoke and stem into thin lengthwise slices. Add 2 tablespoons water adn dash salt; cook, covered, over medium heat about 5 minutes or until water evaporates and artichokes are tender.

Artichokes with Green Garden Dip

(Make about 1-1/3 cups) 1/2 cup each low-fat mayonnaise and low-fat yogurt 1/2 cup minced fresh spinach leaves 1/4 cup minced parsley 1 tablespoon minced green onion 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/4 teaspoon oregano, crushed Dash cayenne pepper or bottled hot-pepper sauce 2 California artichokes (see directions below)

Combine all ingredients except artichokes; mix well. Remove and reserve outer petals of artichokes. Discard small inner petals and fuzzy centers. Cut bottoms into bite-size pieces and arrange in center of serving plate; ring with reserved outer petals. Serve with mayonnaise-yogurt mixture.

To cook artichokes: Pull off lower, outer petals of artichokes; snip off tips of remaining petals. Cut off top third of artichoke; discard. Cut stems to 1" or less. Stand prepared artichokes in pot with 3" boiling salted water. If desired, oil, lemon juice, and seasonings can be added to cooking water. Cover and boil gently about 30 minutes or until petal near center pulls out easily. Drain.

Creamed Halibut Brunch Puffs

(Makes 6 servings) 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms 1 tablespoon margarine 1-1/2 tablespoons flour 1/8 teaspoon each salt and white pper 3/4 cup skim milk 1/2 cup chicken broth 1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice 1-1/2 cups cooked, flaked Alaskan halibut 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed if necessary Dash each dill weed and bottled hot-pepper sauce 6 baked puff pastry shells Lime wedges

Saute mushrooms in margarine. Add flour, salt, and pepper; cook and stir 1 minute. Add skim milk and chicken broth; cook and stir until mixture thickens and comes to boil. Sprinkle lime juice over halibut; fold halibut, peas, dill weed, and hot-pepper sauce into cream sauce. Heat thoroughly. Serve in pastry shells. (Purchase baked puff pastry shells or bake frozen, ready-to-bake puff pastry shells according to package directions.) Garnish with lime wedges.

California Pistachio Spread

(Makes about 1-2/3 cups) 1 package (8 oz.) Neufachatel cheese 4 ounces Monterey jack cheese, softened 3 talbespoons chopped green onion 1 tablespoon lemon juice Dash garlic powder 1/8 teaspoon bottled hot-pepper sauce 1/2 cup coarsel chopped, natural California pistachios

Blend cheeses, green onion, lemon juice, garlic powder, and hot-pepper sauce in blender or food processor until smooth. Fold in pistachios. Pack mixture into crock or serving bowl; cover and chill. Remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.

S erving tip: Serve with sliced French bread, crackers, or fresg vegetables.

Poached Halibut

with Emerald Sauce

(Makes 6 servings) 6(4-6 oz. each) Alaskan halibut steaks, poached (see directions below) 1/2 cup white-wine vinegar 1 sliced small onion 2 spirgs parsley 1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired 4 peppercorns Sauce: 3/4 cup minced parsley 1/3 cup chopped almonds 1/4 cup olive oil 3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice 2 tablespoons grated PArmesan cheese 1/4 teaspoon each garlic salt, coarsely ground pepper, and crushed basil

Place single layer of halibut steaks in large skillet or poaching pan. Cover with boiling water. Add vinegar, onion, parsley, salt, and 4 peppercorns. Cover and return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5-8 minutes or until halibut flakes easily when tested with fork. Remove carefully with slotted spoon.

Combine parsley, almonds, oil, lime juice, cheese, and seasonings; blend well. Serve over hot, poached halibut. Garnislh with lime wedges.

Cheesy Crab and Noddles

(Makes 6 servings) 6-8 ounces Alaskan-king-crab meat 6 ounces medium noodles 1/2 cup chopped celery 1/3 cup chopped green onion 1 clove garlic, minced 1/4 cup butter or margarine, divided 1-1/2 cups dairy sour cream 1-1/2 cups cottage cheese 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese 1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese Chopped parsley

Thaw crab, if necessary; drain and slice. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain well. Saute celery, onion, and garlic in 2 tablespoons butter or margarine; stir in sour cream, cottage cheese, Cheddar cheese, and seasonings. Add cooked noodles and crab. Spoon mixture into buttered 2-quart dish. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over noodle mixture. Bake at 350 [deg.]F. 30-35 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish with chopped parsley.

St. Patrick's Fruit Platter

(Makes 6 servings) 1 can (16 oz.) Bartlett pear halves Leaf lettuce 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce 2 or 3 California kiwi fruit, pared and sliced Poppy-Seed Dressing (see recipe below)

Drain pears; reserve 1 tablespoon liquid for Poppy-Seed Dressing. Cut pear halves in half lengthwise. Line platter with leaf lettuce; arrange shredded lettuce in center. Place pears and kiwi fruit on lettuce. Drizzle with Poppy-Seed Dressing; pass extra dressing.

Poppy-Seed Dressing: Combine 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon reserve pear liquid, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard, and dash salt. Add 1 teaspoon poppy seeds; use wire whisk to blend well. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Kiwi-Fruit Potato Vinaigrette

(Makes 6 servings) 1 pound red-skinned new potatoes, cooked and sliced 1/3 cup thinly sliced celery Vinaigrette Dressing (see recipe below) 2-3 California kiwi fruit, pared and sliced

Combine potatoes and celery. Add Vinaigrette Dressing; gently toss together. Cover and refrigerate several hours. Add kiwi fruit; mix gently.

Vinaigrette Dressing: Combine 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon chopped green onion or chives, 1/2 teaspoon each sugar and salt, 1/8 teaspoon crushed thyme, and dash bottled hotpepper sauce. Blend well. Makes about 1/2 cup.
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Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:untraditional St. Patrick's Day recipes
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Mar 1, 1988
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