Corned Beef for St. Patrick's Day

Holidays, Recipes, Special Occasions, St. Patrick's Day
on February 14, 2012
Mark Boughton/styling: Teresa Blackburn

While it’s true that St. Patrick’s Day is a revered annual tradition in Ireland, that green is the holiday’s signature color and that shamrocks are wallpapered on every flat surface one can find, what isn’t true is that corned beef is the iconic dish of the day. Boiled cabbage and floury potatoes are a given on any authentic Irish St. Patrick’s Day menu, but bacon is more likely to be the main course.

Salt-cured corned beef, it turns out, is technically more Jewish than Irish. When young men from Ireland began arriving on American shores a century or two ago, they found themselves with fewer cooking skills than the Irish lasses they’d left behind. Jewish delis became beacons for the poor, the tired and the hungry—especially on festal days like St. Patrick’s Day, and porky bacon was supplanted by kosher beef.

Corned beef and cabbage has since become an integral part of the Americanized version of the Irish holiday—along with green beer, Irish stew and leprechaun sightings—and, we have to admit, St. Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be the same without it. Like the immigrants of yesteryear, however, we’re not afraid to tweak tradition a wee bit. Here, corned beef, cabbage and potatoes are re-envisioned as a delicious main-dish salad. It’s an all-in-one recipe that will bring you the luck of the Irish plus a ton of flavor to boot.

By Stacey Norwood, Relish Multimedia Editor