Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Feasts and Festivals: St. Andrew's Day

St. Andrew

St. Andrew's Day is celebrated in Scotland as that country's National Day (the same idea as Bastille Day or Independence Day, but much more low-key), since St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. According to legend, a supernatural force brought his relics from Constantinople to Scotland, specifically to the town that is now St Andrews. Don't ask me how they are supposed to have arrived. Teleportation, maybe. It's also commonly believed that the relics were probably brought to Fife by a monk who then built a church at the behest of an angel. I still like my teleportation theory. According to legend, St. Andrew helped  a ninth century Pictish king in battle and was thus especially venerated by the Picts. St. Andrew's saltire eventually became the flag of Scotland. St. Andrew is also the patron saint of several other countries, as well as the patron saint of fishermen...and golfers.*

In keeping with the fisherman theme, I decided to make a smoked trout omelette along with some spicy cabbage, both adapted from Scottish Traditional Recipes. There's something really satisfying about a good omelette and this is a good omelette. It's a variation on Omelette Arnold Bennett, created for the author by the Savoy Hotel. Instead of smoked haddock, which I can't find anywhere in Wichita, I've used smoked trout. The last time I used smoked trout it was from Idaho, but Dillon's has stopped carrying it and so I had to use canned smoked trout imported from Germany. It worked well, but if you have to use a canned smoked trout, be sure to wash off all the oil.

I was really happy with the cabbage, as well. It's a bit spicy since it's got chili pepper and fresh ginger in it, but it's also nice and gooey from the combination of walnut oil and leek. I just happened to have one lonely leek chilling out in my crisper drawer--you could use a shallot or even a bit of onion.

Smoked Trout and Cheese Omelette

3 ounces smoked trout fillets
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup milk

4 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 1/2 ounces cheddar cheese, grated ( about 1/3 cup)
salt, if needed

Rinse the smoked trout and remove any skin or bones. (If your smoked trout isn't "ready to eat," you'll need to poach it before you do any of this.) Flake the trout and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the 1/4 cup milk over medium heat. When the milk starts to steam, add the fish, stirring occasionally. When the mixture comes up to a boil, remove the saucepan from the heat, cover and set aside for 20 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and set aside. Beat the heavy cream into the egg yolks and season with pepper. Add the fish/milk mixture and stir together. Fold in the egg whites.

In an omelette pan over medium heat, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. When the butter is bubbly, pour in the omelette mixture and cook (without stirring or flipping) until underside is golden brown. Remove pan from the heat, sprinkle cheddar over the top of the omelette and place pan under the broiler. Broil until cheese is browned.

Serves 2

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Spicy Cabbage

1/2 tablespoon walnut oil
1/2 teaspoon gingerroot, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
1 red chili pepper, seeds and ribs removed, julienned
1/2 medium cabbage, cored and shredded

In a large skillet (one with a lid), heat the walnut oil over medium heat. Stir in the ginger and garlic and keep stirring. When oil starts sizzling, add the leek and chili pepper and sauté until leek is softened.

Stir in the shredded cabbage, cover skillet and cook around 6 minutes or until cabbage is softened but still a bit crisp, stirring halfway through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 2

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*"St. Andrew" from Wikipedia and "St. Andrew's Day" in Julia Jones and Barbara Deer, Cattern Cakes and Lace: A Calendar of Feasts (London: Dorling Kindersley, 1987), 10.


  1. Looks good, Lauren. Happy St. Andrews Day to you as well.

  2. I dream lo tech (Ton S.)November 30, 2011 at 11:44 PM

    Nice St. Andrew-Fisherman-Smoked trout omelette (yum!) link. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Karen @ Lavender and LovageDecember 1, 2011 at 4:45 AM

    WONDERFUL post Lauren and we were both in the same track as I featured St Andrew's Day yesterday too! LOVELY!

  4. We have a friend going to school at St Andrew's and I'll have to ask him what he's heard about the legend! I like your teleportation theory, too. Love your omelette and cabbage here - both look scrumptious.

  5. I like your teleportation theory, too - smacks of Star Trek! Your omelette looks beautiful and I think the cabbage sounds so yummy!

  6. When I was in employemnt, working amongst Scottish people I was very aware of St Andrews Day, as well as living in Scotland (duh), but this year I missed out on acknowleding it on my blog. Thought crossed my mind, but I have other distractions and just not organised this way. I have enjoyed your post though.
    You may be interested in seeing some of my photographs of St Andrews.

  7. Such fantastic photos! You got some magnificent shots and the gray sky was so gorgeous. I'm glad you weren't deterred by a little rain!


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