Generally, I don’t like smoked foods. It’s one of those flavours, like chargrilling, that people become addicted to, to the extent that it doesn’t matter what’s been smoked or charred. I’ve had chargrilled aubergines served to me that might as well have been scorched shoe insoles. I use smoked Gubeen cheese, which is so delicately smoked that the process actually seems to add something to the cheese. If you use another cheese, you might want to reduce the quantity. The effect you want in this dish is flecks of barely cooked leek and melting pockets of cheese scattered through the mash.
MASH THE POTATOES according to the recipe for wasabi mash, or in your own unbeatable way. While the potatoes are cooking, slice the leeks in half lengthways almost to the base and wash them carefully under running water. Chop the leek finely and fry it with the garlic in a third of the butter for a few minutes, until the leek is beginning to soften but retaining its colour. Just before you serve the mash, stir in the leek and the smoked cheese. It’s best if the cheese only partly melts.
© 1999 All rights reserved. Published by Cork University Press.