Boxty-Style Tatters


And so, the old Irish limerick goes… Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan; if you can’t make boxty, you’ll never get a man. What is “boxty,” you say? Boxty is yet another example of a simple, hearty food made from ingredients that were close at hand for the traditional Irish farmer. The main ingredient – potatoes – could be grown in the harshest, rockiest of climates. Boxty, or potato pancake, was often made from the leftover mashed potatoes from a prior meal. Typical sides such soft cheese, applesauce or onions are also commonplace in the Irish countryside. When serving up any time of day, add antique or worn flatware, a lace doily, a variety of garnishes, and stout!


  • 2 pounds of peeled russet potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter (salted)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • Sour cream & chives or applesauce to garnish


  • First, mash half of the potatoes. Chop them into large chunks and place in a saucepan. Cover with water and add sea salt. Bring water to a boil, then lower the heat and allow to simmer 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes can be mashed with a fork.
  • In the meantime, grate the remaining potatoes. It’s a good idea to do this step second, because grated potatoes will brown quickly if not used. Use the large holes in a grater. Spread and pat the potatoes dry with a towel, then place in a bowl and set aside for the moment.
  • When the boiled potatoes are ready, drain them, return them to the pot. Add half of the buttermilk and mash until the mixture is smooth. Combine the mashed and grated potatoes in a large bowl.
  • Briskly whip the egg, flour, pepper, remaining buttermilk and garlic salt. Add the potatoes to the mixture and stir until combined into a smooth batter.
  • Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium heat and add butter to cover the surface. We prefer a somewhat generous amount of butter to ensure a crispy exterior to the potato cake. Scoop ¼ cup portions of the batter onto the heated surface and cook until the bottom is golden brown (3-5 minutes). Then flip the cakes and repeat for the other side.
  • Serve straight from the griddle and garnish

Reference material and recipe take in part from the following sources: and The Boston Globe.


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