A simple St. Patrick’s Day meal for the Irish in all of us. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

We can’t let St. Patrick’s Day go by without a bit of a celebration. Since my roots are in County Clare, I have come to acknowledge the day with some delicacies from that part of the isle where some of the world’s best salmon can be found and where fresh veg from the farmers’ market is featured.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at iwrite33@comcast.net.

And of course, we love the excuse to whip up a trifle, a concoction that can be quite grand to serve a crowd of folks from our granny’s special cut-glass bowl. Or perhaps you just want a wee “titch” of trifle for only yourself, you poor dear who needs just a nibble of a special treat to stave off the March blues. If so, grab your prettiest tall glass and pile in the goods. Don’t spare the sherry.

These Salmon and Spinach Bundles are lovely, flavorful and will shine for company on the dinner or brunch table. Yet they are easy enough to prepare in a hurry for a mid-week supper.

The bundles can also be downsized by making appetizer portions, too. Just adjust the baking time. You can use puff pastry sheets or homemade pastry dough if you would rather.

Asparagus adds a touch of green to the plate and it’s so easy to dress up. I like adding nuts to vegetables, and pecans are my first choice here, but if you’d rather use walnuts, slivered almonds or chopped hazelnuts, those are all delicious additions, too. Just don’t skimp on the butter.

An Irish Trifle is a thing of beauty that is another flexible idea to have in your dessert Rolodex. If you purchase a pound cake or ladyfingers from the bakery department and mix up some instant pudding, (please use real whipping cream, not Cool Whip!) you can indulge in this traditional treat with very little effort.


I prefer to use soft ladyfingers (not the crunchy ones), but a dense, buttery pound cake or even soft cookies work. Spread the jam, layer in the pudding, whipped cream and fruit. When you take your first bite, you will feel as if you’ve been transported to trifle heaven.

The Irish are well-known for making do with what they have on hand, so be brave and experiment a bit with these flexible recipes. Just remember to always ithe go maith (eat well)!

Salmon and Spinach Bundles

2 tubes (8 ounces each) crescent rolls
4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each), skin removed
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup herbed Boursin cheese spread
1 bag (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unroll the dough and separate into four rectangles, sealing perforations. Place a salmon fillet in the center of each rectangle and season with salt and pepper. Divide cheese into four equal portions and spread it over the top of each fillet. Divide spinach into four equal portions and arrange on top of cheese.

Bring all corners of the dough to the middle and seal the sides so that the salmon and other ingredients are totally enclosed. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes and until golden. Yield: 4 servings

Asparagus with Pecans

1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1/2 cup pecans
3 tablespoons butter
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


Bring a small amount of water to a boil in a large skillet and steam asparagus just until tender.

Meanwhile, add pecans to a small dry skillet on medium-low heat and stir them until lightly toasted. Add butter to the pan and stir until melted and just beginning to brown. Pour over asparagus and toss gently. Yield: 4 servings

Irish Trifle

9-ounce package ladyfinger cookies or a pound cake cut into “fingers”
1 cup raspberry or strawberry jam
1/4 cup sherry, optional
1 large package vanilla pudding mix, prepared according to package directions
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Fresh raspberries or strawberries

Cut ladyfingers in half length-wise (or use two small slices of cake in place of each ladyfinger). Spread generously with jam and put together like a sandwich. Line a serving bowl with the jam sandwiches, all along the bottom and up the sides. Sprinkle with sherry, if using.

Spread prepared, set pudding over the ladyfingers. Beat cream and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl with a mixer until soft peaks form. Spread over pudding and arrange berries on top. Yield: 6 servings

Comments are not available on this story.