Scottish RecipesCastle Comforts
Good craic is easy to find in Scotland. (For ideas, check out our Things to Do in Edinburgh feature.) Sitting in a pub at sunset, planning on having just one pint (maybe two), it’s also strangely easy to go off the rails and end up in a scene similar to Trainspotting. Either way, a great meal is always around the corner, from upscale farm-to-fork to recent pop-up to local pub. Our menu focuses on what’s best now.
Islay, off the western coast of Scotland, produces some of the world’s finest whiskies. When you’re drinking the best, simple is key, so this is a riff on an Old Fashioned with a bit of maple syrup to sweeten the smoke.
Yield: 2 servings
Fill two glasses halfway with ice. Add 1 teaspoon and a splash of bitters to each glass. Add scotch, and give the drink a stir.
You can be sure of several constants on each trip to Scotland: At least one sunset will rival the best ever witnessed, too much whiskey will be imbibed, and smoked salmon will be a prominent feature in breakfast or lunch, or both – happily.
Yield: 10 servings
Place eggs in a large saucepan and cover with an inch or two of cold water. Bring to a boil and shut off heat. Cover pan and keep eggs in water for 12 minutes. Remove eggs and peel them under cool running water. Slice in half lengthwise. Gently remove yolks, and add them to a medium bowl. Break yolks with the back of a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, dill, and mix well. Fold in salmon. Season with salt and pepper.
Place cooked egg whites on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add egg mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a star-shaped tip. Pipe 1–1 1/2 tablespoons of the egg mixture into each egg white. Cover loosely with foil, so filling isn’t crushed. Refrigerate until serving, at least 3 hours. To serve, garnish each egg with 2 slices of chives.
Neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes) are traditionally served with haggis, but for those not sold on offal, we’ve done versions with calf’s liver and ground beef. Either way you choose to prepare it will be worth it, especially with our cream sauce with a kick.
Yield: 6–8 servings
For calf's liver:
Pat liver dry and season aggressively with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons butter to a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add half of liver, and sear until just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat process with remaining butter and liver, and serve immediately with sauce.
For ground beef:
Add butter and oil to a large sauté pan on medium heat. When foam subsides, add onion. Cook until soft, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 2 minutes. Add beef, and sauté until browned.
In large stockpot, add potatoes and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and pass through a food mill or ricer. Add butter, and mix. When butter has melted, add milk gradually, stirring to combine. Season with salt.
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Place turnips on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Toss with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast turnips until fork tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer turnips to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add butter and mascarpone. Pulse 30 seconds. While processor is running, pour in 1/4 cup water. Check consistency – mixture should be creamy but not watery – and additional 1/4 cup water if necessary.
Add butter to a saucepan on medium heat. When foam has subsided, add shallots and pepper. Sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add scotch and cream. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 3–4 minutes.
It’s possible, although perhaps not wise, to add whisky to every meal. This sorbet uses it to cook the berries, which adds a subtle touch.
Yield: 1 quart
Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan. Cook on medium heat until strawberries are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick, and discard.
Transfer mixture to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. (Be cautious, since liquid is hot.) Purée until smooth. Pour mixture through a fine sieve, using a ladle to push liquid through. Discard remaining solids.
Cover liquid with saran, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Freeze mixture in an ice cream machine, and transfer to an airtight container.
Sorbet will keep in the freezer for up to 1 week.