This is part of our Eurovision series – offering you ideas for simple, easy-to-eat recipes when you’re entertaining a big group of Euro-fans on Eurovision Final night, or just set up in front of the TV mid-week as the semi-finals entice and entertain.
Almost every European country has an important national dish using potatoes. Naturally, Ireland’s no different. It’s a bit cliché and jaded to associate Ireland with potatoes, but when they are as delicious, nutritious and adaptable as they are, you realise the association is not such a bad thing and when you make these smoked salmon boxty blinis for your Eurovision party – or any party for that matter – you will agree and sing the praises of the humble potato.
Ireland (our homeland) has a storied past with this tuber. For one, it’s not indigenous to Irish soil – something a lot of people may not have known. It was never really meant to be in the Irish diet, but it was brought in and cultivated on purpose to later become a staple food for generations. Then, there’s the little story of the potato blight that almost wiped out the entire country during the Irish famine. That horrific and devastating period of history – only a mere 170 years ago – is still etched into the fibre of Irishness today. In the 21st century, potatoes are now bearing the brunt of an ‘Eat Clean’ generation, looking desperately for international and highly processed alternatives to something so natural and nourishing that shouldn’t be villified.
We buy potatoes pretty much every week (always making sure they are as local as possible and never imports) and we still have yet to tire of them. Freshly steamed new potatoes dripping in melted butter; silky mashed potato on its own through a cold winter evening; crispy roasties with every Sunday dinner. The potato is a beautifully versatile ingredient and exciting to experiment with, not least of all because there’s often some leftover. What exactly does one do with leftover mash?
Boxty is a traditional Irish dish, a gaelic version of a potato griddle pancake. Lots of European countries have their own interpretations and usually boxty is made from leftover Colcannon and often includes a little green in it, whether that’s herbs, spring onions (scallions, as the Irish call them), cabbage or kale.
We’ve taken this traditional dish a little step further with a recipe in honour of our homeland and inspired by Eurovision – the perfect little canapé portion for this year’s viewing party. We’ve made the usually palm-sized into a canapé, topped with smoked salmon and crème fraiche.
Blini are a near-perfect dinner party or viewing party portion. Hand-held – so easy to eat – these can be topped by any amount of combinations. Okay, this is Irish by-way-of-Russia if you’re really tracing the blini bloodline, but that’s not the point. These boxty blinis give a fantastic excuse to use up leftover mash and are as delicate and dainty for a dinner party as they are bold and indulgent for a hearty breakfast or brunch.
Irish smoked salmon is dreamy – good enough to rival Scottish or Scandinavian versions, maybe? Silky-textured and delicately draped atop a fluffy yet sturdy blini, smoked salmon is arguably the king of preserved foods.
We particularly love Frank Hedermans salmon from the English Market in Cork as well as Birgitta Curtain’s Burren Smokehouse Salmon from Co. Clare. A dollop of sharp creaminess in the form of crème fraîche cuts through the fatty richness of the fish and brings the whole bite-sized beauty together.
Irish Smoked Salmon Boxty Blinis
- Potatoes (we used red-skinned Desiree, a great, sturdy, creamy all-rounder)
- Parsley (or other fresh herbs of your choice)
- Spring onions
- 1 egg and a little milk
- A generous knob of butter, with some extra for frying
- Rapeseed oil
- creme fraiche
- Pre-packed Smoked Salmon
1. Make your spuds, by following a procedure for mashed potato. We find that simply roasting potatoes in their skins retains all the fluffy, creamy texture without losing any of the taste due to being boiled in water. We cook ours in a moderate oven for about an hour, either cosily nestled within tin foil or kebab-ed down a metal skewer (which cooks them quicker, from the inside out).
2. Once cooled, simply scrape the flesh out or simply mash skins ‘n’ all in a large pot or bowl and season very generously before adding egg, milk, butter, flour, chopped parsley and chopped spring onions. You want the mix to be firm enough to hold patties, but not dry.
3. Heat a pan to medium-high and fry the patties in a little butter and rapeseed oil until they get a golden tan. You can use a griddle, if you wish.
4. Pop them on a kitchen paper-lined plate to cool.
5. One cooled, top with a generous dollop of crème fraîche, a generous sliver of smoked salmon and a slice or two of spring onion. Serve your boxty blinis to the hungry crowd!
[Adjust the recipe to suit your size of party, whether it’s just you plus a few or a whole room cheering on their favourite song. This is a base to jump from, go wild and experiment! Make it Swedish by using beetroot-cured salmon for a dash of colour and saltiness. Make it more elegant with some caviar or roe on top. Turn it simple by just serving slices of ham and cheese on the boxty blinis….]
Check out lots more of our Eurovision recipe ideas here!.