Colcannon is an Irish staple – a traditional potato dish that also consists of kale or cabbage, in this instance kale. It is custom for the Irish to eat this at Halloween and it can contain little trinkets that (if you are lucky enough to find them) will mean you are going to be married with in a year, are condemed to a life of spinsterhood/bachelorhood and so on. (I think I would just swallow the trinket – best not to know don’t you think?)
Anyway, until a couple of years ago I wasn’t overly fond of potatoes – they seemed a little ho-hum. Then I perfected my roast potato and it opened up a whole new world for me. So now I get excited when ever I get my hands on a new potato recipe, this particular recipe being no exception to the rule. It is incredibly simple but as simple things often are – outstanding.
So I know its not Halloween, in fact it’s Thanksgiving on Thursday but this might be a very nice ‘potato’ side to serve to your guests. And whilst you’re thinking about everything you have to be thankful for, you can include the Irish for U2, Yeats, their love of potatoes and this simply spectacular and heart(belly) warming dish.
10 Desiree/Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1.6kg), unpeeled
500 grams/1 pound rock salt
1 small bunch young cavolo nero (black kale), stalks removed, leaves coarsely chopped
3 small scallions (spring onions to you Australians), thinly sliced
200 ml pouring cream, warmed
50 grams/1.76 ounces softened butter
½ cup (firmly packed) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
For drizzling: extra-virgin olive oil
To serve: crusty bread
Preheat oven to 180c/360f. Place potatoes on a tray lined with rock salt and bake until tender (45 minutes-1 hour). Working quickly while potatoes are hot, and holding them in a tea towel, scoop flesh from skin and pass through a mouli or potato ricer into a saucepan (see note). Add cavolo nero, spring onion, cream and butter and stir over low heat to warm through. Add parsley, season to taste, dress with olive oil and serve hot with crusty bread.
Note: Moulis and potato ricers are available from kitchenware shops. Alternatively, you can mash the potato with a hand masher. Also, I couldn’t get my hands on black kale so I used ordinary green kale which worked just fine.
Source: Colin Fassnidge, Four In Hand, Sydney, Australia
© 2010 – 2011, Michelle. All rights reserved.