Salmon en croute

Impressive but not really difficult, who can say no to moist flaky salmon when it comes in a buttery pastry parcel? I had been planning to make individual portions with fillets but when I saw whole sides of salmon at Easter time I couldn’t resist one large showstopper instead.

Serves 8

what you need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • one small brown onion, finely diced
  • a handful of pine nuts
  • 250g baby spinach leaves
  • 1 heaped tbsp creme fraiche
  • puff pastry, approximately 4 sheets depending on size
  • two whole sides of salmon, approx 1 kg each
  • one beaten egg for brushing on pastry
  • salt and pepper

what to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 C and begin by preparing the salmon. Firstly check for any bones and remove with large fish tweezers if any, then, with a thin flexible knife, remove the skin. Trim the salmon sides so that both pieces are the same length and width as they will be sandwiched together. Season each piece a little with salt and pepper and set aside while you make the spinach stuffing.

  • For the spinach begin by heating a little olive oil in a frying pan, and gently sweat the onion. When it’s softened and starting to turn golden in colour add the pine nuts and gently toast them, then add the spinach. Stir through the onions and pine nuts, and toss through until all the spinach has wilted. Season with a little salt and pepper, remove from the heat, and stir the creme fraiche through. Set aside.
  • I used four sheets of puff pastry {Borg’s brand}, leaving the plastic sheets on the bottom of each sheet, and overlapped the edges a little to give me a large square. {I also used a rolling pin to very gently flatten the joins and seal them a little}.
  • Place one piece of salmon on the pastry flatter side down, try to avoid the middle if there are joins as it’ll look a bit nicer when it’s cooked if there aren’t seams all over it. I placed my salmon closer to the bottom edge but still with enough space to seal around it and trim excess pastry later. Spoon the spinach mixture over the top.
  • Place the other piece of salmon on top. If the two pieces are of uneven thickness position the top piece top to tail, so that the overall thickness of both sides is even. Carefully blot away any creme fraiche that drizzles out.
  • Brush a little egg wash around the edges of the pastry where it will be sealed, and gently bring the pastry over the salmon, enclosing it. Very gently press down around the salmon to make sure there are no air bubbles, and press down on the pastry to seal it. Trim any excess pastry.
  • Using the plastic sheets backing each piece of pastry to help you, flip the pastry wrapped salmon onto a lined baking sheet so that the bottom side of the pastry is now on top. If you feel like it you can cut out some shapes to top the parcel, and I also crimped the edges shut with a fork, both for appearance and to make sure it was well sealed. Brush the whole parcel with egg wash.
  • Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden and gorgeous looking. Allow to sit for five minutes or so before carving into large slices, and you can use the baking paper it’s on to easily transfer it to a large platter or board for serving.

P.S. It heats up well the next day too, just give it around ten minutes in a hot oven. 😉

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