Friday, June 15, 2012

Another Taste of Ireland

by Sheila Connolly

Don't say I didn't warn you—this is another modern Irish recipe from Margaret M. Johnson.

Time was, people ate hors d'oeuvres at parties.  Now, not so much (unless you count cheese and/or fruit platters).  But we do attend potlucks, and if the group is large, there's a lot of food to sample (we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by not tasting their dish, do we?), so small, interesting tasty things like these can fill a new niche.

These little tarts are easy to make, because you can buy the frozen shells.  You will need to lightly cook the spinach, but the rest is just mixing and baking.

Let me add that to be authentic, you should be using Irish blue cheese (Cashel Blue is fairly widely available and has a lovely story behind it) and smoked salmon. 

As for the salmon, I have a personal story.  Last year, when I was hobbling my way around Ireland with a broken ankle with my husband, we stopped for lunch at a small pub in Union Hall, a tiny town on Glandore Harbour where they just happen to make smoked salmon locally.  It was a Sunday afternoon in March, so the only people there were local, and included a family with children as well as people older than I was, many of them watching soccer on the big-screen telly. 

We ordered a nice lunch (and Guinness, of course) and got to talking with the waitress about the foot I had propped up on a chair. I asked if I could taste the local salmon, and the waitress brought me a plate with salmon, brown bread and butter—at no charge.  It was delicious--velvety in texture, and neither too salty nor too smoky.


2 pkg. frozen mini filo dough shells
½ cup packed fresh spinach leaves
½ cup half-and-half
2 eggs
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
1 oz. smoked salmon, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the frozen filo shells from the package, place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Cook the spinach in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until wilted (okay, I cheated and did it in the microwave for one minute).  Drain, rinse in cold water, and squeeze dry.  Chop coarsely.

In a large bowl, whisk the half-and-half, eggs and pepper together.  Stir in the spinach, blue cheese and smoked salmon.

Spoon 1 tsp. of the mixture into each shell (this is probably the most challenging part--trying to get the filling into those little cups, with enough of the good stuff in each).  Bake 12-15 minutes, or until the filling is set.

Makes 30 tartlets


  1. They don't have hors d'oeuvres at parties anymore? I don't go to parties...but I think it's a shame as there are tons of yummy hors d'oeuvres recipes! While this particular recipe isn't up my alley (I love cheese-but not from the blue family and I don't like fish) my dad would adore it!

  2. This is definitely a recipe for me and Marc. Smoked salmon is one of our favorite treats--we buy it on the cheap most of the time, but every once in a while (when a check comes in!), we go for the higher quality stuff.

    And you were in an Irish pub, partaking of buttery, velvet salmon smoked *locally*, OMG, total foodie envy! (That had to make up for the foot!)

    Have a wonderful
    Father's Day weekend, Sheila!
    ~ Cleo

  3. I'm coming to your party, for sure, Sheila! These are beautiful and with those wonderful flavors, I'm sure they taste great. I love using those pre-made shells. I like to make my own dough for most things but they're so practical. Filo and puff pastry are challenges anyway. Very pretty! Even Natasha would approve!

    ~ Krista

  4. How adorable are these with fabulous flavors! Hmmm, must find out if there are pre made gluten-free shells. They have big pies. Oh, I know, I'll use the ingredients and make a big pie. Tee-hee.

    Daryl aka Avery Say cheese!