Luck o' the Irish
I'm pretty psyched for St. Patty's Day on Saturday. I live in Boston, so it's one of the biggest, rowdiest, and funnest (ok, not a word) holidays of the year. Naturally, then, I decided to make my WHB post this week Irish-themed. Since beer with green food coloring doesn't really qualify as an "herb, plant, vegetable, or flower," I settled for a hearty Brown Butter Soda Bread chock full of fresh rosemary.
Soda bread is a popular kind of bread in Ireland and has been since 1840. (Don't you love useless Wikipedia trivia?) I used to think it was called "soda bread" because they put Coke into the dough, but I am a silly person, and not surprisingly, I was wrong. It's called "soda bread" because instead of yeast, baking soda is the leavening agent helping the bread to rise. The baking soda reacts with buttermilk in the dough to form tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide. Fun, and delicious!
A lot of people add raisins or nuts to their soda bread, but my recipe, from the February 2006 issue of Bon Appetit, incorporates fresh rosemary, making it WHB-eligible. Rosemary is one of my very favorite herbs, mostly because of its incredibly fragrant smell. In addition to its yummy scent and flavor, rosemary is actually a stimulant and mild analgesic that can be used to treat headaches and poor circulation. For all you fellow beauty product addicts, it's also believed to revitalize your hair and prevent dandruff if you massage rosemary oil into your scalp. I'm a little skeptical, but it could be worth a try?
Either way, this bread is easy and delish. I'll eat a slice on Saturday morning, toasted, with lots of butter... and of course, a big pint of Guinness.
Brown Butter Soda Bread
Makes 2 loaves
- 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 3-1/2 c. all purpose flour
- 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
- 1 T. sugar
- 1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. ground black pepper, plus more for topping
- 1-3/4 c. buttermilk
- 1 egg white, beaten to blend
This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, which I'm hosting this week! Get me your entries by Sunday, 3pm Utah time (5pm for us East Coast-ers). Send them over to me at rhammer AT law DOT harvard DOT edu.