The first time I made Salmon en Croute it was to impress a boy. I was 19, inexperienced in the kitchen and thought it seemed sophisticated (unlike me). I’m not sure I impressed the boy but I definitely impressed myself. I learnt a valuable lesson that day; nothing is ever as complicated as it seems in the kitchen. Surprisingly simple to put together, the flaky puff pastry and the asparagus sauce keep the fish juicy and tender. There’s not much that isn’t improved by being wrapped in pastry and salmon is no exception. Make it in advance and just pop it in the oven 20 minutes before you’re ready to eat. Served with a simple salad and some boiled new potatoes, it’s perfect for a dinner party.
Salmon en Croute
1 salmon fillet (about 1 1/2 lbs, skinned and boned)
1 lb fresh asparagus, cut just below the tips
4 tablespoons crème fraîche
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 sheets of puff pastry (about 10″x 8″)
1 egg lightly beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2. Poach the asparagus tips in boiling water for 3 minutes and drain well.
3. In a food processor, purée the asparagus, crème fraîche, dill and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper and lay down one sheet of the puff pastry. Lay the salmon on the pastry and season with salt.
5. Spread the asparagus crème fraîche mixture on top of the salmon.
6. Brush the rim of the pastry around the salmon with egg and then lay the second sheet of pastry over the salmon. Press down the edges to seal. Trim the pastry leaving a 1″ border around the salmon. Use a fork to press around the edges to ensure the layers of pastry are well sealed.
7. Cut 3 small diagonal slits along the top of the pastry to allow the steam to escape.
8. Brush the pastry all over with the remaining egg and bake in the oven until the crust is golden brown – about 20 minutes.