As a proud Fermanagh native, my dad has been making boxty for as long as I can remember. He tried several versions – there are several versions – on us before we settled on the boxty pancakes here, which are a revelation – light, savoury, flavoursome; the definition of ‘more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts’ food.
We have the pancakes every Christmas Eve, served with a big feed of baked eggs, sausages, bacon & pudding if we can convince our mother to buy it. Since we love the pancakes so much, he’s started making them throughout the year for us now too.
Boxty is a bit of a production to make, and there are a couple of strange steps, like squeezing the starch out of raw potato, but stick with it – I promise you it’s totally worth it.
BOXTY PANCAKES [on the pan]
Perfect for feeding a crowd for breakfast
1 lb. raw floury potatoes
1 lb. cooked floury potatoes
1 lb. plain flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Wash & peel the raw potatoes. Grate them onto a large piece of muslin cloth. Wring them tightly, catching all the starchy liquid in a basin.
Put the leftover potato from the cloth into another basin, and mash the cooked potato over it.
Leave the potato starch in the basin until starch sinks and the water on top is clear. Pour off the water and scrape the starch on top of the potatoes. Mix well, then sieve the flour, salt & soda over the top and stir.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and add enough buttermilk to make a batter that has a loose, dropping consistency. Beat well until mixed. Leave for a few minutes before frying.
Heat a frying pan and grease lightly with a piece of buttered kitchen paper. Once hot, drop spoonfuls of the batter onto it, cooking 3 or 4 at a time and flipping when golden. Keeping them warm in the oven while you fry the rest. Serve with butter, tea, and all the makings of an Irish fry.