I love unique museums; I seek them out every where I go. The surgical history museum in Chicago, cat art in Amsterdam, shoe museum in Toronto and the butter museum in Cork, Ireland.
Who knew there was enough information and history on butter for there to be a whole museum dedicated to it. Well the museum is on the small side but it used to be the location of a butter market and at one point it was the biggest butter market in the world. It now houses everything buttered related from an old butter bucket dug up from a bog, different styles of churns, butter wrapper collection and the day we were there a guy was giving a butter demonstration of different churns. They also have a collection of stories dedicated to the folklore of butter, lots of tales of witches stealing butter and magical dashers from fairy trees helping to produce a fortunes worth of butter. The thing that makes Irish butter so beloved is its flavor; that flavor comes from the cows and those cows are grass fed unlike cows from other regions that are fed on pellets.
So now what are you going to put your butter on? How about something very classic to the Irish Isle, potato farls. They are a cross between soda bread and mashed potatoes, thin little bread pancakes grilled in butter till golden brown on both sides. Their texture is the thing I find so unique, crispy on the outside while the middle is tender and creamy from the potatoes. Other than butter these potato cakes go beautifully with a classic Irish breakfast or at the very least eggs and bacon.
Peel and boil the potatoes till they are very soft, drain, return to the pot and place back on the heat turned off. This allows the potatoes to steam, drawing out more moisture so you don’t have to add more flour.
Add the butter to the potatoes and mash thoroughly, you don’t want any lumps, if you have a ricer or food mill, use it.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir till everything comes together, tip out onto a floured work surface and knead for a few minutes till everything is well combined. The dough is very soft at this point, don’t be afraid to continue to dust with flour as you work or it will stick to everything.
Divide the dough into four pieces and pat each one into a ball. Roll each ball into a circle about ½ an inch thick and cut the circle into quarters.
Fry in butter over medium heat for 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and crisp all over. Traditionally this is served with a full Irish breakfast, fried eggs, mushroom, sausage, roasted tomatoes and baked beans. Don’t forget the butter!
I’m a tall ship cook, I prefer to cook with water beneath me, no land in sight and lots of mouths to feed. I like to play with bold flavors, pushing people’s taste buds in new directions and using a recipe as a guideline, my hands are my measuring spoons. Read More about “About Me”…