10 things that are essential on the plate of every Irish summer salad

By Fiona Frawley

June 2, 2022 at 10:24am

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It's that time of year again.

Where the Good Casserole Pot is given a few weeks off (but still permanently left on top of the hob for visual effect, obviously), and packets of ham and wilted lettuce leaves come together as part of what I believe to be a uniquely Irish phenomenon - the summer salad.

Once temperatures reach the early teens, even if just for a fleeting five minutes, it's summer salad o' clock in households all over the country. Your mother announces in her version of a casual tone - "I just put together some bits for a salad tonight, I can't be dealing with cooking in this heat", and the magic is initiated.

It goes without saying that by tonight, she means 3pm (the official dinner time of the Irish) and by "some bits" she means a kilo of coleslaw and the pickled onions that have been in the press since before the pandemic. Accompanied, of course, with a steaming mug of tea.

If you're now living away from home and wondering how possibly to put a dish of such culinary renown together for yourself, fear not. We've put together a handy list of things that absolutely must be on an Irish summer salad plate.

Hard boiled eggs

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And we mean hard. They should be able to double as a weapon, if needs be.

Slices of ham

Intricately folded for visual effect. You're best off using a full packet of ham for every plate, just so the extent of your ham-folding skills can be fully appreciated.

Coleslaw

Dolloped artfully in the middle of the plate, tying everything together like only shredded carrot drenched in mayo can.

Spring onions

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Because they're easier to chop than regular onions.

Iceberg lettuce

The longer it's been sitting sadly in the fridge, the better.

Raw Tomatoes

To bring a bit of colour to the plate, as your mother would say.

Pickled onions

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The only time you will see these used in Ireland.

Salad cream

Dollop her on good and thick.

Sliced beetroot

If you've got notions.

Sliced pan to accompany

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Or, in certain parts of the country, a bowl of boiled potatoes, skin on.

Bone Apple Teeth, friends.

Header image via Twitter/radiorayrte

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