Cashel Blue, Spinach, and Smoked Salmon Tartlets

Cashel Blue, Spinach, and Smoked Salmon TartletsGo Green
To most people mid-March means St. Patrick’s Day. When they think about Irish food and drink, those same people generally think of potatoes, corned beef, cabbage, lamb and Guinness.

While those ingredients are frequently featured in Irish cooking, the Emerald Isle has so much more to offer. Their cheese alone could occupy most of your time—and don’t get me started on the charcuterie. The Irish know their way around a butchery. While traveling through Ireland years ago, one of the things that surprised me most was the incredible seafood. (I’m not sure why I was surprised. It is an island after all.) The seafood…it was sensational.

Mussels, Herring, Shrimp, Cod, Crab, Haddock, Skate and Salmon (both fresh and smoked) could be found on most menus along with many other native species. Fish was mostly prepared simply but elegantly, and with obvious skill. Occasionally, if you were lucky, you could find a seafood pie. (Yes, topped with potatoes). Yum!

This year for St. Patrick’s Day, set the green beer down and do something truly Irish like these Smoked Salmon tartlets from the cookbook The New Irish Table by Margaret Johnson. You’ll be glad you did. Erin Go Bragh!

Cashel Blue, Spinach and Smoked Salmon Tartlets
Adapted from The New Irish Table by Margaret Johnson
Yields 30 Tartlets

Oak-smoked Irish salmon is often eaten simply with a squeeze of lemon and a slice of brown bread. But its flavor pairs so well with other ingredients, It’s no surprise to also find it in a paté, atop roasted potatoes, or combined with blue cheese and fresh spinach in these tartlets from David Foley, chef-owner of the Wild Geese Restaurant in picturesque Adare, County Limerick. Chef Foley fills handmade pastry cases with the mixture, but these use frozen filo dough shells.

1 package smoked salmon
2 packages frozen mini filo dough shells
1/2 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
3/4 cup half-and-half
2 eggs
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 ounces Cashel Blue cheese, or other blue cheese, cut into small pieces (about half a cup)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the frozen filo shells from the package, place on a baking sheet, and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Wilt the spinach in salted, boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water and squeeze dry between paper towels. Chop coarsely.

In a large bowl, whisk the half-and-half, eggs, and ground black pepper together. Stir in the spinach, blue cheese, and smoked salmon. Spoon a generous teaspoon of the mixture into each shell. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until set.

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