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Recipe Development: Cold Smoked Salmon

Daniel takes you through his creative process and his approach to putting his own contemporary twist on classic Irish dishes. The main thing is to not be afraid to mix and match and have fun with the trial and error process, playing with the smoke, the cure and flavourings.

Development Stages

Key components:

Texture - soda bread adds an extra chewy texture to the dish which balances well with the silky, smooth texture of the fish.

Appearance - Daniel creates height to the dish with the way he folds the salmon over itself and tops with fresh herbs for a fuller look to the dish and to add a splash of green colour against the bright orange salmon, and the red from the pickled onion.

Flavour - the brown soda bread is lightly toasted to bring the flavours out of the oats. Daniel also adds fresh tarragon, parsley and dill to the cure to impart grassy and citrus flavours onto the fish. The creme fraiche adds a creaminess to the dish and brings a nice acidity that balances the fatty fish. Daniel is a big fan of mixing sweet and salty so he decided to add a decent amount of sugar to his pickled vegetables.

Local Influences - for smoking the fish, Daniel uses a local Irish black tea blend which brings a mixture of floral and citrus notes to the salmon.


  1. Cold smoking - Learn how to cold smoke salmon. Follow the process of creating a cure, curing and cold smoking using tea.
  2. Fish mongery - Learn how to breakdown a whole salmon. From descaling the fish to filleting, skinning and pin boning
  3. Pickling - Learn how to pickle. This technique that is used across the world brings flavour to recipes as well as preservation properties

Make It Your Own:

  1. Bread Base - Alison's Dillisk seaweed bread works wonderfully for this dish with its seaweed twang. You can also use Kerry's Guinness treacle bread but Daniel recommends using less creme fraiche if you do as it's a richer loaf.
  2. Cure Mix - have a play with the cure flavouring, using Middle Eastern flavours of coriander and cumin seeds or add lemon, orange or grapefruit zest for a citrus twist. Typically flavours that work well with fish would work well in the cure mix, alternatively you could keep the cure plain.
  3. Smoking - instead of tea you can play with different hardwoods like lemon, orange, cherry, apple, oak. If you're using wood it's best to use either pellets or wood dust for cold smoking, and make sure not to use a resin wood like evergreen which can leave an unpleasant flavour on your fish. You can also burn hard herbs like thyme, rosemary or sage instead of the tea for a fragrant smoke.
  4. Seasonal - when coming up with ideas, it's always best to work with the seasons for example, for your pickle you could play around with seasonal herbs, chives, dillisk seaweed, cauliflower and other vegetables that can be lightly broken down with acidity.
  5. Local Influences - Daniel uses Irish salmon but you can look to your local geography for inspiration using fish breeds that are in abundance near you (sea trout and monkfish work well but if using the latter it will need a longer cure and thinner slicing) or you could even use the same cold smoking technique for beef to make pastrami. You can also mix in local flavours into your creme fraiche or swap it out for mayonnaise and chop through herbs or trout roe.
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Daniel Hannigan
I've worked in both Michelin and casual dining, working with meat and cooking over fire. Now, I own my own coffee and food business.