We’re a meaty bunch, the Irish, perhaps we feel we’ve already enough green in us. Because throughout is history, Irish food has traditionally been first and foremost about keeping you upright. Consume the bulk, make sure you’re propped up nice and safe, then perhaps we can talk. So the role of Irish salad in the cuisine was bound to be but a supporting one. But as Irish food continues to evolve, this too is changing.
Modern Ireland is seeing pure green move ever farther from the table fringes. As tastes become more diverse and the ballooning of the populace brings health factors into play, the Irish salad is gradually taking up a more central position. And rightly so. The Irish climate is ideally suitable for all manner of herbs, fungi, vegetables, and other salad succulence-uppers. With fresh mainstays produced with minimal effort throughout the country
Irish salad style
Irish salad is also perhaps of wider gastronomic interest as a kind of culinary anomaly. Perhaps it is due to a traditional lack of bowls come the merrymaking of Celtic festivals or a inherent reluctance of the green to mix with other strains. But unlike our more flamboyant human counterparts elsewhere, Irish salad is traditionally:
Not mixed all about the place.
Not tossed with fancy bamboo flamingo legs.
Nor tumbled into bowls or laps.
Instead, each ingredient is laid out in an orderly fashion. For the most part, dry and in its original state. You might plop atop a dollop of oil once you’ve transferred your selection to your plate, but mostly it’s straight up. With the elaborate salads of southern Europe now dominating the Western world’s idea of salad, it sounds a little strange, perhaps. But in this Irish traditions there lies an utterly true grain of the Irish secret recipe. Of the best of Ireland generally, and Irish food as a representation of the Irish outlook on the world.
Because plain is fine.
Best of Ireland
It’s whole, it’s simple and it does most of what food ought to do: keep you upright, help your body carry out its functions, and taste good. Therein lies the wonderfully straightforward and direct approach of a people, the best of Ireland logic. You got all this great, fresh produce, so what are you trying to do smothering it in finesse? The bulk is in your hand already – why faff about with trying to add what it is not? We know what corn salad, baby tomatoes and carrots are not.
We’re eating them for what they are!
Traditonal Irish recipes
So, here’s to bringing you the essence of a people through truly delicious Irish salad! But our Irish Salad section will unfold both the traditional Irish recipes still on the go and more recent salads doing the rounds.
Should you live in, or have access to, an adequately abundant environment, we’ll even give tips on how to forage about the place. Either for core ingredients or just that special extra that allows you to say with pride: I picked that from the earth with these hands, to eat with this mouth.
A straightforward and worthwhile goal if ever there was one.