I can’t understand why the start of the year is generally regarded as a period of relative culinary darkness. The sweet treats and romantic meals of Saint Valentine’s Day are no sooner over than another culinary opportunity looms in the form of St David’s Day. And then there’s Mother’s Day and Easter, both of which also offer delicious excuses to eat fantastic food.
When the Principality celebrates the day of its patron saint this Sunday, I’ll be jumping on board, too. Wales offers some fabulous local produce, including the leek – one of the country’s national symbols – and it’s perfect partner – salt-marsh lamb.
A slow-roast shoulder would be my cut of choice, coupled with some mustardy creamed leeks, or maybe some of the slender baby ones, griddled and served with a piquant caper and lemon dressing to cut through the richness of the meat.
Black beef have been bred in Wales for at least a thousand years, and to my mind there’s no finer Sunday lunch than roast rib with all the trimmings, including a hefty dollop nose-stinging horseradish. If you’re aiming for true authenticity choose a Welsh version of that, too.
Or try adding a twist to a classic dish, like lamb studded with salty anchovies, or softened leeks baked in a tart with a punchy cheese like Gorwydd Caerphilly or organic Hafod cheddar and some bacon.
Happy St David’s Day!