Clodagh’s Kitchen Pop-Up Mixes Irish Cuisine with American Influences
Irish chef Clodagh McKenna shows us how to make her Mini Guinness recipe, a chocolate coffee mousse with whipped cream. Produced by Jessica Chou
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Chefs Clodagh McKenna, in New York City for the Irish holiday, and Chris Bradley, executive chef at Untitled (part of Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group), mixed their expertise and inspiration when preparing the evening's Irish-American tasting menu, a compilation of "the taste elements that transport me [McKenna] to an Irish table."
The menu included a first round of raw oysters and Guinness, which paired the briny oysters with the cool and creamy delicacy of a Guinness sip. Next there was a starter choice of "Salmon and Poitin" with vodka and juniper berry cured Irish wild salmon or "Pig and Goat," a fresh black pudding with St. Tola goat cheese. For the main course diners had the option of "Bacon and Cabbage," with slow-roasted pig cheeks, braised cabbage, and apple chunks; "Nettle and Potato," wild nettle potato dumplings with a Cashel blue cheese sauce; or "Fish and Butter," a dish of black sole and a large buttered prawn. The dessert duos included an option of "Rhubarb and Seaweed," a carrageen moss and rhubarb compote mixture in a stemless glass, or a "Whiskey and Bread" bread and butter pudding with raisins. Then as a final treat, all guests received "Oats and Milk," a serving of hearty Irish farmhouse artisan cheese and oat biscuits, along with coffee or tea.
Drink selections ran the gamut from Irish-themed cocktails to a selection of New York beers and a variety of wines, and the choice was left to the consumer, rather than a dictated pairing.
Even Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny was in attendance alongside wife Fionnuala Kenny. "It’s made my night the most epic of my career," McKenna announced, speaking about cooking on St. Patrick’s Day for the Kennys. "It’s an honor and a privilege beyond."
The art and Irish-American culture mixed well downstairs at the Whitney, fostered by McKenna's bouncy and inviting attitude. Her short, straight, blonde ponytail, green Converse sneakers, and green pants brought a welcome hominess to the otherwise formal nature of the event.
McKenna shared that her goal was to "transport [the diners] to Ireland" by taking the traditions we all call to mind and showing how they are being served in Ireland now — a few steps beyond the more widely known Irish pub fare. Bradley seconded that notion, and said that New York often misses out on a true idea of Irish restaurant cooking as opposed to the common fare of the pub. His saw in this event "the distinct opportunity to put his finger in [the menu/ dishes]" and to add in an "American touch."
According to McKenna, Bradley went to unbelievable lengths to get many Irish ingredients to the snowy New York Saturday event, in order to keep the dishes as authentic as possible. Danny Meyer received the last round of applause, however, after McKenna thanked him for allowing the night to exist — by responding to her text of, "Oh, I’ve got such a good idea!"
Tyler Sullivan is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter @atylersullivan