An Irish salmon dinner is perfect for cold Irish winter nights - or really any other night!

I’ve used the salmon roulade recipe for more than a decade and find it suits for both lunch and dinner. It originated at a small country house in West Cork where seafood is plentiful and popular; serve it with Guinness and Malt Brown Bread.

For a more substantial meal, you’ll find the poached salmon with tarragon-leek-butter sauce totally guilt-free; serve it with boiled new potatoes and steamed Savoy cabbage.

Smoked salmon and crab roulades with a walnut vinegarette recipe

Serves: 4


Walnut Vinaigrette 

  • - 3 tablespoons roasted walnut oil 
  • - 1 tablespoon canola oil 
  • - 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 
  • - Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey 
  • 1 pound of fresh crabmeat 
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds 
  • 8 slices of smoked salmon
  • 3 cups mixed greens 
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 8 slices 
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Make vinaigrette. Combine oils, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a sealable jar; cover, and shake until blended. Set aside.

Make roulades. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and whiskey. Stir in crabmeat and fennel seeds. Spread crabmeat mixture onto slices of salmon, roll up into cylinder shapes, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

To serve, divide mixed greens among four salad plates. Place two roulades and two slices of avocado on each and sprinkle with walnuts. Drizzle vinaigrette over greens and serve with soda bread.

Guinness and malt brown bread

Makes one loaf


  • 1 cup fine whole wheat flour, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 1 cup coarse whole wheat flour or
  • 1 cup each quick-cooking Irish oatmeal or oat bran
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon barley malt extract (see Note)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cups Guinness stout
  • Softened butter for spreading


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 7-inch loaf pan and sprinkle with whole wheat flour.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, oat or wheat bran, sugar, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry cutter or 2 forks, work in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Make a well in the center, add malt, buttermilk, and Guinness, and mix with a wooden spoon to a porridge consistency. Do not overbeat. Transfer to prepared pan, sprinkle additional flour on top and bake for 30 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 325°F and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn the oven off and let the bread cool with the door open for 30 minutes. Remove bread from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Serve slices spread with butter.

Note: Malt extract, also called barley malt, is available in health food stores.

Poached salmon with tarragon-leek-butter sauce recipe

Serves: 6



  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup fish stock or clam broth
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 celery stalk with leaves, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh dill
  • 6 (6-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets with skin
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Lemon slices, fresh dill, and fresh tarragon for garnish


  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 leek, white part only, washed and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 12 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Make salmon. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine wine, stock or broth, carrot, celery stalk and leaves, and dill. Place salmon fillets, skin side down, in skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover skillet tightly and simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until salmon is barely opaque in the center.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer salmon to platter; discard poaching liquid. Cover salmon with plastic wrap and keep warm while preparing the sauce, or chill for at least 4 hours and serve cold.

Make sauce. In a small saucepan, bring shallot, leek, vinegar, and wine to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and then add the tarragon, salt, and pepper. Keep warm in a double boiler over hot water, or reheat over gentle heat. Serve salmon with sauce, potatoes, and cabbage.

You can learn more about Margaret Johnson and her recipes on story first appeared in the Irish Echo. For more, visit their website here