St. Patrick Day's Delight

Chef shoestring Peter Kelley
Chef Peter Kelly grew up in a large Irish-American household in Yonkers, New York, so The Saturday Early Show thought he would be the perfect person to take the Chef on a Shoestring challenge for this St. Patrick's Day weekend.

Irish food in the past was known for boiled meats and overcooked potatoes. New Irish cuisine uses the ingredients considered the backbone of Irish cuisine but adds a modern touch.

Kelly says salmon holds an esteemed place in Irish cooking and culture. According to Irish legend, the ancient hero Finn McCool gained the gift of knowledge by accidentally tasting a salmon. Since then, salmon is considered a fish of wisdom. Kelly owns four popular restaurants in New York's Hudson Valley region, including Xaviar's at Piermont. His restaurant is the only restaurant north of Manhattan to receive a four star review from The New York Times.

We asked Peter Kelly to create a three-course meal for four with our $30 budget. His menu: an appetizer of Potato and Green Onion Soup; an entrée of Crisp Salmon with Bacon and Cabbage served with a Mustard Sauce; and for dessert, Uncle Mike Kelly's Green Milkshake.


Cashel Blue Cheese: A medium-flavored blue cheese with a melt-in-your-mouth creaminess. Jane and Louis Grubb started making the Cashel Blue in the 1980s and since then it has gained international reputation as Ireland's most famous blue cheese. It takes its name from the Rock of Cashel. a bold outcrop overlooking the Tipperary plains. Cashel blue is made from the milk of Jane and Louis's own herd of 110 Fresian cows. It's made in a way similar to Roquefort., but Cashel Blue cheese is softer, moister and less salty. When the cheese is young, it is firm and moist with a fresh and slightly sharp flavor, which becomes mellow as it ages. Cashel Blue can be matured for up to six months.

Irish Whiskey: A distilled liquor made primarily from barley (malted or unmalted) as well as corn, rye, wheat and oats. Irish whiskeys are triple-distilled for extra smoothness and are aged in casks for a minimum of 4 years. The aging casks have typically been used previously for aging bourbon, sherry or rum. Those flavors contribute to the flavor notes in the whiskey. Many other factors also influence a whiskey's quality and flavor including the type of grain and yeast used, the method of distillation, how it's aged and the water source.

Savoy cabbage: A variety of cabbage with a loose, full head of crinkled leaves varying from dark to pale green. Kelly considers it to be the best type of cabbage for cooking


Potato and Green Onion Soup With Cashel Blue Cheese


1 bunch scallions

3 tablespoons butter

2 medium onions, peeled and chopped

3 potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 quart chicken or beef stock

4 ounces Cashel Blue cheese

salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Cut scallions in half to separate green tops from white bottoms. Chop white part of scallions and reserve. Thinly slice green part of scallion and reserve for garnish.
  2. Place a large pot over medium heat and melt butter.
  3. Add chopped onion and white part of scallion and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.
  4. Add potatoes and stock to pot and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  5. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and allow to simmer uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes until potatoes are very tender.
  7. Remove soup from heat.
  8. Puree soup until very smooth in a blender or food processor, or with a hand held mixer. Adjust seasoning.
  9. Ladle soup into individual bowls and garnish soup with scallion greens.
  10. Place a thin slice of Cashel Blue on top of hot soup and allow cheese to melt into soup.
  11. Serve.

Crisp Salmon Cooked on One Side with Bacon and Cabbage Mustard Sauce


1 head Savoy cabbage, cut in thin julienne

4 ounces Irish Bacon, cut in 1-inch dice

2 tablespoons butter

4 5-ounce pieces salmon filet, boned and skinned

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 cup half and half (or heavy cream)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Place julienne cabbage in boiling water and blanch for 1 minute.
  4. Drain cabbage in colander and refresh under cold running water. Set aside.
  5. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook diced bacon till brown and crisp.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons butter to pan with bacon.
  7. Add blanched cabbage to bacon and cook until heated through.
  8. Season salmon filets with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides.
  9. Heat a nonstick ovenproof skillet over high heat.
  10. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan and heat till pan just begins to smoke.
  11. Place salmon filets in pan and sear for 2 minutes. Do not turn salmon.
  12. Place pan with salmon directly into preheated oven and cook 6 minutes.
  13. Place half and half and Dijon mustard in small saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, until it is warm. Do not boil.
  14. Place warmed cabbage and bacon in center of plate.
  15. Top with crisp salmon, seared side up.
  16. Spoon mustard sauce around perimeter of plate.
  17. Serve

Uncle Mike Kelly's Green Milkshake


1 pint vanilla ice cream

2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup Irish Whiskey

2-3 drops green food coloring

1 small bunch fresh mint, chopped (reserve four sprigs for garnish)

4 straws

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Pour into four glasses.
  3. Garnish milk shake with long straw and mint sprigs.