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An Irish Whisky Roasted Salmon Recipe for your St. Patrick’s Day


There isn’t anything wrong with the classic corned beef and cabbage, it’s a classic mainstay for St. Patrick’s Day, but here at Ivar’s, we just love our salmon, and it also has a great place in Irish folklore and history! The story is sure to entertain your guests at your fantastic St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Which will leave them clamoring to get a taste of this Irish Whisky Roasted Salmon recipe presented by our own Chef James Somerville of Ivar’s Salmon House.

Legend has it that centuries ago, a boy named Fionn mac Cumhaill, caught the Salmon of Knowledge from the river Boyne. While he was cooking the fish, the knowledge of the salmon became concentrated in the fats for which salmon is known. The fish became so hot that when Fionn went to turn the fish to be sure it cooked evenly, he burned his thumb.

To ease the pain from the burn, he put his thumb in his mouth and thus the knowledge of the fish was transferred to Fionn. From that point on, every time Fionn bit on his thumb he could access the knowledge of the world and he eventually became a great Irish poet, warrior and leader.

It’s interesting to note that salmon does have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which has been found to be important to cognitive performance and memory. So maybe this folktale has some basis, but don’t get too excited about becoming the next Fionn mac Cumhaill because we’re also going to be adding some whisky to our salmon recipe!

Start by mixing the whisky with honey, vinegar, thyme, lemon zest, oil, salt and pepper. Then pour over four salmon fillets and marinate for an hour at room temperature or for four hours in the refrigerator.

When you’re ready to begin cooking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven is ready, remove the salmon from the marinade and place it directly on the oven rack over a pan or you can use a cooling rack in a pan but make sure your cooling rack is oven safe.

While the salmon is cooking, baste once with the marinade and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the salmon is golden brown and white juices begin to appear.

The Irish Whisky Roasted Salmon goes great with boiled or roasted potatoes, wilted savoy cabbage and fennel infused milk gravy. It’s also an easy, fun recipe that’s sure to be a hit this St. Patrick’s Day!

Remember, if you begin to feel like you can access the knowledge of the world after feasting and partaking in the spirits of the day, just know it’s probably only the whisky.

Let us know what you think of this recipe in the comments or tag us in photos you post on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (we don’t want to see any burned thumbs!).

Irish Whisky Roasted Salmon

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Irish whiskey
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets


  1. Mix together honey, vinegar, whiskey, thyme, lemon zest, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over salmon and marinate 1 hour on the counter, or 4 hours refrigerated.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  3. Remove salmon from marinade and place on a rack over a roasting pan.
  4. Grill or Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, basting once with the marinade or until golden and white juices are just beginning to appear.

Serve with boiled or roasted potatoes, wilted savoy cabbage and fennel infused milk gravy