Greatest Recipes Ever: Darina Allen’s kelp and seafood salad

‘All too often, the “forgotten skills” have been forgotten for a very good reason, as they bear no relation to the way we live now. Darina Allen’s book is an honourable exception. Turn to the “foraging” section and there is this complex recipe combining smoked fish and kelp. This dish is both extravagant and subtle-you’ll never view kelp in the same way again’

Kelp and smoked seafood salad

Extract from Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills of Cooking Published by Kyle Cathie Limited in 2009

To serve 6-8

My nephew Ivan Whelan used to serve this lovely salad at his restaurant, Grapefruit Moon, in Ballycotton. If you can’t find kelp, try wakame, a Japanese seaweed that can be found in health-food shops.


50g (20z) of dried kelp or wakame
150g (5oz) cold-smoked salmon
150g (5oz) smoked eel, weighed after skinning and boning
50g (2oz) pickled ginger (gari)
60g (2 ½oz) pine nuts
3tbsp soy sauce
3tbsp sesame oil
1½tbsp rice wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1tbsp freshly chopped coriander
30 smoked mussels

Recommended videos for you


Soak the seaweed in cold water for about 30 minutes to reconstitute. Drain very well in a colander and press out all the excess water. Put into a large mixing bowl.

Cut the smoked salmon and eel into small pieces and chop the ginger. Add these to the seaweed, along with the pine nuts, soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar, coriander and salt and pepper to taste.

Mix gently to avoid breaking up the fish. Serve stacked on a plate with smoked mussels dotted around.

Charles Campion is a food critic. His new book, Eat Up! Seeking out the best of British home cooking, is published by Kyle Cathie at £16.99