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Cullen skink with wholemeal oat rolls and kale and lemon pesto

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for cullen skink with wholemeal oat rolls and kale and lemon pesto.

By Alice Storey
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 20 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
  • Print
Cullen skink with wholemeal oat rolls and kale and lemon pesto
This wonderfully named soup originates in Cullen on the Moray coast in the north-east of Scotland, although ours isn't entirely traditional. And while the wholemeal rolls, inspired by a Dan Lepard recipe, are a take on Irish soda bread, the two go hand in hand.


  • 600 gm smoked haddock, skin removed
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 40 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks (white part only), thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 150 ml dry white wine
  • 450 gm floury potatoes (about 3), such as sebago, cut into 4cm dice
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Wholemeal oat rolls
  • 250 gm (1 cup) plain flour
  • 200 gm (1 cup) wholemeal flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 350 ml milk
  • 190 gm Greek-style yoghurt
  • To garnish: poppy seeds and rolled oats
  • 30 gm melted butter, for brushing
Kale and lemon pesto
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • 50 gm curly kale, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon


  • 1
    Bring haddock, bay leaf and 1.5 litres cold water to the simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat until fish is cooked through and flakes apart easily (10-15 minutes), then strain, reserving stock. Flake the haddock and set aside.
  • 2
    Heat butter in a large saucepan over low heat, add onion, leek, fennel and garlic, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender (10 minutes). Add wine, bring to the simmer, then add 1.25 litres reserved stock, bring to the simmer, add potatoes and cook until tender (30-35 minutes). Coarsely crush half the potatoes with a masher or fork, add cream, nutmeg and haddock, stir to combine, season to taste and keep warm.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, for wholemeal oat rolls, preheat oven to 200C. Stir flours, baking powder, sugar and 2 tsp sea salt flakes in a bowl to combine and form a well in the centre. Whisk together milk and yoghurt in a separate bowl, add to flour mixture, then mix to form a wet dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, shape into 9 balls, place on a tray lined with baking paper, scatter with poppy seeds and oats, and bake until golden (15-20 minutes). Brush with butter, scatter with sea salt to taste and set aside.
  • 4
    For kale pesto, process ingredients in a small food processor to combine. Serve alongside hot Cullen skink and wholemeal oat rolls.


Drink Suggestion: Peaty, smoky Islay single-malt whisky. Drink suggestion by Max Allen