I made a Salmon en croûte once. It wasn’t great. The reason? I didn’t salt it enough. I often fall for that trap. The trap of being ‘healthy’. Trying to avoid my blood pressure raising to the roof from adding a pinch of salt to my meat.Trying to avoid having an immediate heart attack from adding a touch of salt to the boiling water. Sheesh. It’s exhausting. But ask yourself this… what’s more important? Food that has the potential to kill you but tastes great? Or food that is so bland it ruins your day but gee, at least you’re healthy! I think we both know the answer. It’s amazing how many supposedly tasty foods taste absolutely lame without salt. Admit it you health-tards! A lot of people have issues with salt but recently I became very lucky. A doctor told me I don’t have enough salt in my body. Therefore I can now add salt too all my meals guilt free. Yay me. Don’t get me wrong, some people do massively over-salt their meals. And eating processed food is the worst as you don’t even know how much salt you are consuming. I know too much salt can cause all sorts of problems, so it’s good to be cautious. But too little and your food can taste grey and you wake up in the middle of the night with terrible cramps. Be sensible people.
Check me out getting all preachy! Back to the matter in hand. This salmon tasted immense. My brother said it’s one of the nicest salmon dishes he’s ever had. He doesn’t often compliment my food, so for him to say this was praise indeed. It’s a Fabulous Baker Brothers recipe with tiny alterations.
- 500g of salmon fillet. No skin or bones
- Large shallot or half a small onion
- 4 Chestnut mushrooms
- 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
- Crème fraîche
- Juice of half a lemon
- 500g block of all butter puff pastry*
- 1 egg, beaten
- First make the filling. Finely chop the shallot and gently fry in a knob of butter with the finely sliced mushroom.
- Then add the spinach and wilt. Add the lemon juice and a table spoon of crème fraîche and a generous pinch of salt and pepper and stir in.
- Once it has softened and mixed together, drain the lot in a sieve over a pan to catch the juices. With a wooden spoon, squeeze the juice out and save them for a sauce. Allow the filling to cool a bit.
- In the meantime, take the salmon fillet and butterfly it open cutting across the width of the fillet so it opens up flat. Then add the filling and fold the fillet back as it was (except now with the filling running through it). Season both outsides of the fillet.
- Roll out the pastry to 5mm thick, cut a piece that’ll fit your fillet with a 2.5-3cm border and place it onto grease proof paper on a baking tray.
- Place the filled fillet on top and with a wet finger, moisten the rim. Then roll out a slightly larger piece for the top. This should cover the whole lot, seal it to the bottom bit of puff and try to minimise air bubbles/gaps. Trim the edges so that you have a rim around the fillet and crimp the edge with a fork.
- With the pastry offcuts cut out a fish onto the surface and brush the whole lot with a beaten egg. Place in the fridge for 5 minutes and brush again with the egg (I came across this tip from Gordon Ramsey). Then bake the whole lot in a medium oven for about 25 minutes or until golden, and serve.
- Use the spinach and lemon juice from earlier to make a sauce to go with the en croûte. Warm through with more crème fraîche and a glug of white wine (says the Baker Brothers. I just added a veggie stock cube and the water from the broccoli I had just cooked. Perfect gravy!)
*I used to always get the ready-rolled puff pastry. I used to always have soggy, flat, non-puff puff pastry. But after buying the block and rolling it, I had pastry success for the first time! Woo. I think the double-egging helped make it so flaky too. Thanks Gordon. You’re a d**k, but you know your food.