Monday, February 27, 2012

Fado Irish Pub and My Version of Their Smoked Salmon Bites


I’ll be in London in just a few days and I am so excited.  I know that all the security experts say that you shouldn’t tweet or Facebook your whereabouts, much less talk about them in a blog for strangers and potential burglars to read, but  I’m not worried.  Since I am traveling on my own this time, I am leaving behind a vicious guard dog and a houseful of giant men armed with big burglar shooting guns to guard our house, so I'm really not too worried about posting this here.

Shortly after I finalized my plans to return to the UK after a two year hiatus, I went with a few other local bloggers to a carbohydrate tasting at Fado Irish Pub.  Even though I’d been on the South Beach diet for two weeks at this time (and not losing weight anyway), I figured this would be a good place to start training to get in shape for all the lager drinking and fish and chip eating to come.

Finding Fado was kind of a challenge.  After we circled around their general vicinity several times refusing to believe the GPS (it has been known to lie before), we finally arrived at our destination, right where the GPS said it would be.  In our own defense, there was the usual HUGE downtown distraction of pedestrians who think they own the crosswalks, and Fado’s sign is just about a foot too small to be seen when you are whizzing by trying to avoid said pedestrians at 30 mph. 



Finally  parked and needing a drink, we walked inside Fado and instantly felt like we had been transported to Dublin.  The pub has a dark, warm and welcoming ambiance complete with a roaring fire, ebony wood bar and its own friendly resident Irishman named Glen Eastwood there to greet us. 

Once seated, Glen, who is the General Manager of this location, explained to us that this location is only 1 of 14 Fado Irish Pubs around the US.  Their authentic look and feel comes from the fact that their founder Kieran McGill at one time worked for IPC (Irish Pub Company), which designs and builds authentic looking Irish pubs around the world.  After breaking away from them in 1996 he started his first pub in Atlanta and the company grew from there.

To stay true to their Irish roots, Fado (which by the way, means “long ago” in Gaelic) has the same imported beers on tap and in their coolers that you would find in  a pub in Ireland.  If you are thirsty for a European lager or stout, if is most likely available here as their import selection is truly amazing.  In addition to their extensive selection of beers they also carry a wide variety of ciders, wines and spirits.    

Since man cannot live by drink alone, they also have a nice size menu with a selection of pub food ranging from lighter soups and salads to traditional hearty Irish fare including homemade shepherd’s pie (which, and I hate to nitpick here, is really cottage pie because it is made with beef instead of lamb), corned beef and cabbage, and an all-day Irish breakfast just to name a few.


Fado's All-Day Irish Breakfast

For our tasting we were served a sampling of some of Fado's delicious dishes including,  a Smoked Salmon Bite which is smoked salmon atop a crisp Irish boxty, with capers, onions, horseradish sauce and lemon; a mini Shepherd’s Pie made with colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes with cabbage); and one of their Bleu Cheese Lamb Sliders which is tender shredded lamb, caramelized onion, bleu cheese and green onions on slider buns served with lamb jus for dipping.   They were all very good.

To compliment these dishes, Glen poured us three delicious ice cold beers that he chose especially to go with each one.  It is a good thing that Fado is across town from me, because I could really get used to this.

Of course with St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, Fado is gearing up for their busiest time of year, but I am here to tell you that you don't have to wait for a special occasion to enjoy some authentic Irish pub food and drink.  Fado is open for lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch on weekends.  For more information on their menu, St. Patrick’s Day festivities, locations, hours of operation, etc. click here to access their website.


Smoked Salmon Bites My Way


Although a really tough decision, my favorite dish at this tasting had to be the Smoked Salmon Bites.  Served on a little Irish potato pancake called a boxty, these delicious bites were a perfect combination of smokey salmon, crispy potato pancake and lemon.  I’m sad to say that I got away from Fado that day without getting the recipe, but happy to say that I managed to make a pretty close copy. 

Fado’s original recipe is made with cold smoked salmon with capers, onions and a light horseradish sauce with lemon.  My version is made with my favorite hot smoked salmon, green onions and a lemony mayonnaise with Serrano pepper, all piled on top of my own homemade boxties; different but just as delicious.

Smoked Salmon Bites My Way

2/3 - 1 pound (depending on how hearty you want to make your bites) hot or cold smoked salmon, chilled and flaked
Irish boxties (recipe follows)
Lemony Serrano mayonnaise (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons chopped green onion tops
To assemble:  Spoon desired amounts of the salmon onto the top of each boxty.  Drizzle the mayo on top of the salmon followed by a sprinkling of green onions.

Makes about 24 boxties

Irish Boxty

I found several recipes for boxties.  Some called for a thinner batter and some called for a thicker, dough like texture.  I went for the thinner batter wanting to come out with more of a crepe than a cake.  Authentic or not, these were just like Fado's, crispy and delicious.

1 cup grated potato
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil for frying

Toss the grated potato, flour, salt and baking powder together in a large bowl.  Add the mashed potatoes, alternating with the milk about 1/3 at a time until a thick-ish yet pourable consistency is reached.

Heat 1/4 of a cup of oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat; drop rounded teaspoons of the boxty batter into the hot pan, flattening out slightly with the back of a spoon.  Fry for 3 minutes or so or until they are golden brown, flip and repeat on the other side.  Keep boxties warm while you fry the remaining batter, adding more oil as needed.

Makes about 24 silver dollar size boxties

Lemony Serrano Mayonnaise

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Serrano pepper, very finely diced
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used Meyer lemon juice which is milder so you may not need quite 3 tablespoons when using regular lemons.  Just add to taste).
Combine all the ingredients in a medium size bowl.  Cover and chill until ready to use.

Makes approximately 1/2 cup


*Photos of the interior of Fado and their All-Day Irish Breakfast are from Fado's website. I only wish my photos came out this good that night. 

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