Potatoes are one of those rare foods that some never get bored of eating. After all, you can find 71 different potato recipes from Bon Appétit alone. Of course, if you’re looking for some serious potato inspiration, the obvious place to find it is Ireland, where in 1844 (the year before the start of the Great Famine) the average person, including women and children, ate 45 potatoes a day (via Slate). Potatoes are cheap and filling, but also incredibly versatile. You can mash them, fry them, and make them into bread, but perhaps the most underrated potato dish is boxty.
Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake, most commonly associated with the north midlands, that is said to date back to the times of the famine, when people needed to make potatoes stretch farther (via Irish Central). Its popularity hasn’t waned much since it spawned its own sexist folk rhyme: “Boxty on the griddle, boxty in the pan, if you can’t make boxty, you’ll never get your man!” (via Tallahassee Democrat). Of course, whether or not you want a man, everyone can enjoy a delicious potato dish.
How to make boxty
Boxty is made by combining mashed potatoes, grated potatoes, flour, raising agent, eggs, and dairy, and then frying the mixture in oil or butter. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, the passionate love of boxty has led to annual festivals, entire restaurants, and even cooking competitions dedicated solely to celebrating this traditional potato pancake (via The Times). You can find boxty recipes from almost every online resource. With so much history, and so many interpretations, how does one go about making boxty at home?
It’s best to start simple: with the potatoes. According to The Guardian, you want to stick with light, floury potatoes for your boxty, like Kerr’s Pink or Golden Wonder. From there, the name of the game is minimizing the moisture in order to maximize crispiness. This is why most recipes require you to toss the grated potatoes generously with salt and leave them in a strainer to drain off excess liquid. Darina Allen, author of Irish Traditional Cooking, recommends going a step further and letting the potato liquid sit until the starch sinks to the bottom, then pouring off the excess water and adding the starch back to the potato mixture to help bind all the ingredients together without adding additional moisture. All of this will ensure your boxty fries up crisp and delicious. From there, you can serve boxty any way (and at any meal) you want, even breakfast (via The Telegraph)!
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