oh did you ever eat colcannon made with lovely pickled cream
with the greens and scallions mingled like a picture in a dream?
did you ever make a hole on top to hold the meltin’ flake
of the creamy flavored butter that our mothers used to make?
colcannon, for those who might not have had the pleasure of knowing it already, is a traditional dish of ireland consisting of mashed potatoes, kale or cabbage, and plenty of butter and cream. i’ve put a fresh twist on the classic colcannon; grating the potatoes and frying them lightly in butter with local radish greens and brightening up the whole deal with a squeeze of lemon. the vibrant colcannon makes a perfect topping for a wholesome and simple buckwheat crust, and this one (inspired by anya‘s) is my favorite. its earthy flavor complements and supports the colcannon topping brilliantly and it couldn’t be simpler to make; its preparation not unlike that of chickpea socca or this soaked quinoa crust. it is hearty and perfectly satisfying without feeling heavy or dense. it’s a beautiful thing and i think you should try it, whether or not you can tolerate the gluten of a traditional wheat crust.
if you want to go old-irish style, serve this on halloween; otherwise, enjoy it any time in the fall while dark, bitter greens are in season. any dark leafy green will do. cabbage works, too, but paired with the buckwheat crust it doesn’t bring the same depth and complexity of flavors that a more bitter green provides. i don’t think i can adequately express through words how absolutely delightful this meal was, so i’ll leave you with this: while we enjoyed it, the sounds of our eating were speckled with affirming “mhmm”s and “this is so good”s and i managed, just a few times, to look up from my own beautiful slices to see bret with eyes closed, smiling sweetly with a mouthful of colcannon pizza.
p.s. please promise me you’ll sing the song while you make it.
- 1 + ¼ cup raw buckwheat groats, soaked overnight (or for at least an hour) with a tablespoon of vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- ~1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon neutral heat-safe oil for the skillet
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- 1 russet potato (see notes), grated or diced really small, patted dry with a towel
- 1 bunch radish greens, washed, dried, cut into thin ribbons
- white + pale green parts of a bunch of scallions/green onions, sliced thinly
- big squeeze of lemon
- salt + pepper to taste
- the green bits of scallions/green onions, sliced (mandatory since it's in the song!)
- optional toppings: thinly sliced radish, bacon, ham, smoked tempeh, applewood smoked salt, grated irish cheddar?!?!
- prepare the colcannon mixture so it's cool enough to handle when it's time to top the crust. heat a large skillet over medium and add a tablespoon or so of butter. sprinkle the grated potatoes around the pan and cook through, stirring occasionally to keep the bits separated. when potatoes are just tender, toss in the radish greens, pale/white scallion bits, lemon, salt, and pepper. stir and allow the radish greens to just become wilted. remove from heat and set aside.
- prepare the crust by placing a large cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat to 450F.
- drain and rinse the soaked buckwheat a few times, using your fingers to wash the sliminess from the groats. drain again and pour buckwheat groats into a food processor along with the water, melted butter, and salt. process for a couple minutes or so until smooth. remove the blade from the food processor to make the next step easier:
- when the skillet and oven are hot, carefully remove the skillet and pour in about a tablespoon of neutral oil. swirl around to coat, then pour in the buckwheat batter and smooth out with a spatula or large spoon. put the hot skillet back in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
- after 15, flip the crust over. it should be pulled away from the edges of the skillet enough to make this an easy task. bake it on this side for another five minutes or so.
- if you want (and i definitely wanted), brush or spread a tablespoon of butter over the top of the crust. top with the colcannon mixture, scallion tops, plus any extra toppings you might want. bake for another 10-15 minutes or so until the toppings are hot and starting to brown, and for extra crispiness on top, if you want, turn the broiler on for the last few minutes.
- cool slightly before cutting and serving. enjoy (with a dollop of 'pickled cream' if it pleases).
i wouldn't mess with a waxier potato like a yukon gold -- a dry + starchy tater like a russet is where it's at
i squeezed the bejesus out of the freshly grated potatoes to remove excess liquid, but i think it made them slightly more inclined to clump together when i cooked them. so don't squeeze with gorilla strength like i did. squeeze politely or pat dry between two layers of towel.
you could substitute 1 leek sliced thinly for the green onions and just omit the scallions from the topping process.
my crust was a little funny shaped on one side, so i flipped it over again after the second round of cooking so the bottom would sit evenly. you might not have that issue.
i cut six slices from our pizza but i wish i'd done eight. these slices are so hearty and filling thanks to the wholesome buckwheat crust.
if you don't have a cast iron skillet, don't worry; you can make this crust in a standard size (not a small) baking sheet lined with parchment and oiled lightly on the sides. just pre-heat the prepared pan for a few minutes before making the crust as the recipe indicates.
cast iron skillet