While everyone was eating corned beef and cabbage this past weekend, I ate a “cajun spiced Salmon Rueben” and an “open-faced chipotle shrimp tortilla”.
They were both great, but left me yearning. I had an itch that needed scratching.
Everyone seems to associate corned beef and cabbage with St. Patrick’s Day, but similar boiled dinners are a staple in very many cultures.
• I grew up eating “cocido” which is the heart of Caldo Gallego soup. It’s actually a two-meal (or two-course) dinner – the soup and the boiled dinner flavored mostly by a variety of pork products.
• Bollito Misto is the Italian version with beef (like brisket) at its heart.
• The Americanized version of a boiled dinner I ate growing up was always accompanied by mustard as a condiment. Dunk the ham/pork, dunk the cabbage. Love the contrast.
• My friend, Norma, is known for her St. Patrick’s Day parties and she makes a delicious boiled dinner. She Latin-ifies the pot with Sazón, onions and other seasonings.
• Another friend, Carolyn, mentioned this weekend that her mom (Italian from Piacenza) dressed the cabbage portion of the dinner with olive oil, fresh garlic, a little vinegar and salt + pepper before serving it. I immediately drooled.
What they all have in common is the method: boiling (something I rarely do) and the vegetables – potatoes, cabbage and carrots.
* * *
I combined a little of the special elements of each version in one pot and weighted it more toward vegetarian (of course, flavored by pork but not as a fork-and-knife component). It yielded a lot … and I ate a lot, with plenty leftover to give a taste to my mom, my aunt and my son and more for me on another day.