Boxty, County Fermanagh
Ireland has a wealth of potato dishes that speak of ingenuity with limited ingredients, the need to fill stomachs cheaply, and avoidance of waste; and of that islandís once tragic over-reliance on the spud. One such is Boxty, classic peasant fodder that is at the same time a whole range of possibilities. It is delicious enough to feature these days paired with expensive protein in posh restaurants, a grounded element in an essay-length menu description.
Boxty can be described as a potato cake, or sometimes a pancake, an indication of the fact that there are many recipes and variations on a theme for the dish. But the core of it is constant: it contains in rough measure 1/3 mashed potato; 1/3 grated raw potato (in times past surely a way of using leftovers); and 1/3 plain flour. The grated spud is generally squeezed dry (and in true peasant waste-not-want-not style the settled starch from that liquid can be added back to the mixture); the flour sieved into the two potatoes with some baking powder and the lot mixed into a dough with the aid of a little melted butter to make it pliable. That dough can be griddled or fried both sides; it can even be baked as a makeshift loaf or gently simmered in a cloth like a dumpling; or lighter versions can be made by adding either buttermilk, milk, and/or a beaten egg to produce a more batter-like consistency for thinner pancakes, as with the heavier versions turned once the underside is done.
Today we most likely to eat it with some bacon or a fried egg at breakfast; but in its heavier form consider serving alone as a tea-time dish with a pool of melted butter poured (not, please note, drizzled) over the browned top and a cup of tea to wash it down.
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