IF YOU NEVER HEARD OF BOXTY, BUT YOU LIKE POTATO PANCAKES, ROSTI OR LATKES, YOU'LL PROBABLY LOVE THIS TRADITIONAL IRISH POTATO PANCAKE. BOXTY IS LIKE A CROSS BETWEEN AN AMERICAN PANCAKE AND A HASHBROWN. LIKE WITH ANY BASIC DOUGH, BOXTY CAN BE PREPARED IN MANY WAYS, FROM BEING FRIED AS CAKES IN A SKILLET OR COOKED AS DUMPLINGS ON A SIMMERING STEW. OUR RECIPE IS FOR PAN-FRIED BOXTY.
WHEN PEOPLE THINK OF IRISH FOODS, THEY OFTEN THINK OF THE POTATO. IT'S TRUE THAT THE POTATO IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF IRISH HISTORY, BUT THE POTATO HAD A LONG VOYAGE BEFORE IT EVER REACHED IRELAND.
MAKES 4-6 SERVINGS WHAT YOU NEED: 1 CUP RAW GRATED POTATO 1 CUP MASHED POTATOES 1 CUP FLOUR 1/2 TEASPOON BAKING POWDER 1/2 TEASPOON SALT 1 EGG 1/4 CUP MILK BUTTER FOR FRYING SOUR CREAM (OPTIONAL) HOW YOU DO IT: USE PAPER TOWELS TO SQUEEZE MOISTURE OUT OF GRATED POTATOES. TOSS GRATED POTATO IN A MEDIUM BOWL WITH FLOUR, BAKING POWDER AND SALT. MIX IN MASHED POTATOES. IN A SMALL BOWL, WHISK TOGETHER EGG AND MILK, AND THEN ADD TO POTATO MIXTURE. COMBINE USING A WOODEN SPOON OR HANDS. FORM INTO PATTIES. MELT A TABLESPOON OF BUTTER IN A SKILLET OVER MEDIUM HEAT AND ADD PATTIES. FRY UNTIL GOLDEN AND COOKED THROUGH, ABOUT 4 MINUTES ON EACH SIDE. SERVE WITH SOUR CREAM, IF YOU WISH.
THE POTATO JOURNEYS FROM PERU TO IRELAND
The potato first grew in South America (in what today would be Peru) thousands of years ago. The ancient Inca civilization farmed potatoes of all kinds. European sailors arrived in South America in the 16th century, hoping to find treasure and valuable land. Spanish explorers conquered the Incas, who had mined and excavated a lot of gold for hundreds of years. The Spanish explorers sailed back to Europe, bringing the stolen Incan gold and other items of interest home. The Spanish had observed how the potatoes contributed to the Inca's strength and health. They observed that the potato was a good source of nutrients and energy, so they introduced the potato to Europe.
Though the potato was viewed as strange at first, it eventually became a popular food throughout Europe. The potato grew especially well in Ireland because of its soil, chilly climate and wet weather. Potatoes quickly became Ireland's main crop, and the Irish ate more potatoes than any other food. Their potato-rich diet was nutritious, and people depended on potatoes as their main source of food. In the middle of the 1800s, the potato crop in Ireland got struck with disease. Potatoes would no longer grow. Many Irish people went hungry, and the famine--or widespread lack of food--tragically caused about a million people to starve. The Irish potato famine caused many people to leave Ireland. Many immigrated to America, and that is why Americans often associate the potato with Ireland.