Spring is in the cold, damp air, the temperature hovers around the freezing mark, it’s light until 6:30 pm, the moss is bright green under the snow – time for boxty.
I had always thought of boxty as Irish latkes – and then I went to Yonkers and had actual crispy, delicious latkes made of dry grated potato, matzoh meal and sea salt. Boxty, on the other hand, always start with mashed potatoes. Most people add a grated raw potato but I never learned that method – mine are just mashed potatoes with a leeks, little flour, baking powder, salt, buttermilk and perhaps an egg if the mashers are very dry. Somewhere, an Irishwoman is wailing about me using baking powder. Or buttermilk. Or something – I’ve read recipes for boxty and included bacon, whiskey, corn meal, and parsley and they’re all right for somebody, just not for me.
First, go out to the raised beds and get some leeks. The snow has melted off enough to dig the knife down and get to the pristine white roots. Leave the upper leaves on the bed for compost.
Boil two or three potatoes. I don’t have any of ours left in the cellar, but Hannafords had some nice Maine Corollas. Mash the potatoes and add 1 C flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/2 C chopped leeks (raw). Mix that up and add enough buttermilk to make it “cohesive” – add an egg if it looks too dry. Put a little canola oil in a frying pan, add 1 Tbs butter and fry the potato mixture until browned – about 3 minutes on a side.