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Purple Onion Irish

Irish cabbage, potatoes, currants and parsnips can be found at The Purple Onion.

There’s been plenty wearin’ o’ the green, green beer and toasting this month, thanks to the annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. And there’s still plenty of time this month to celebrate all things Irish.

At The Purple Onion, we’ll see lots of folks coming in for cabbage, potatoes and the veggies they need for their corned beef recipes. A few will pick up currants for Irish soda bread or scones. But we think it’s time to expand those culinary visions.

It seems that many people think only of a few key ingredients like potatoes, cabbage, corned beef and soda bread when they start planning their Irish menus. Though these time-honored traditions are great, Ireland is a country of great diversity where potatoes and cabbage share the table with carrots, parsnips, turnips and cauliflower in roasted, baked and pureed recipes, as well as soups. It’s not unusual to find apples in some of these savory recipes.

Chicken, pork and lamb can be found in pies and casseroles. Seafood such as salmon, oysters, scallops, as well as sole, haddock and mackerel, also are popular fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Turkey, venison and duck make their ways onto the table as well.

If you think soda bread and scones when you think of Irish breads and pastries, you can expand your menu by considering some delicious cakes and cookies, tarts and puddings.

And let’s not forget the butter and the cheese!

We’re all for these time-honored traditions and share a classic Colcannon recipe, which is a mashed potato dish flavored with kale or cabbage and a Buttered Green Cabbage that gets a little something extra with crisp bacon.

If you want to look at other vegetables, we offer two suggestions: The parsnip cakes are a delicious way to serve this winter root vegetable and its nice, sweet taste which becomes nutty once it’s cooked. The cakes would be great with an herb-roasted chicken; if you are a fan of composed salads like Salad Nicoise, take the Irish route with the bright and crunchy pub salad. Using a mix of fresh salad ingredients and pickled beets and green beans, it will bring a nice, fresh vibe to your dinner table.

Add an international surprise to your St. Patty’s Day menu with pasta. Baked with cheese and stout, it’s gonna be a winner.

For dessert, we like the idea of a simple Irish apple cake. And, we wouldn’t blame you if you topped that cake off with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of Irish whiskey sauce!

To you and yours, we say, “Bain taitneamh as do bhéile!” Or “Bon appétit!”

Allan Hathaway is the owner of The Purple Onion and WV Marketplace at Charleston’s Capitol Market. For more information, visit the web pages at capitolmarket.net/merchants/purple-onion and capitolmarket.net/merchants/wv-marketplace; call The Purple Onion at 304-342-4414 and WV Marketplace at 304-720-2244. Email Allan at purpleonionco@aol.com.

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