This recipe is inspired by Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver who both have very different versions of the classic Salmon en Croute. According to my google search the term “en Croute” refers to food cooked in pastry in the oven, most commonly salmon or beef. For the Salmon En Croute, Rick Stein in his recipe book Seafood Cookbook uses a butter with currants and mace spiced butter filling, whereas Jamie Oliver uses a spinach and watercress creme fraiche filling. As I decided to make this after I had already done the grocery shopping, I thought I’d try a filling with ingredients I had which I knew would go well with salmon.
The resulting pastry parcel with a homemade fennel, dill and chilli butter was absolutely delicious seved with a homemade kale,carrot and red cabbage coleslaw with avocado and tomatoes.
It was easy to make using store bought frozen pastry and you could just experiment with the type of flavoured butter filling you’d like. I would recommend using some substantial ingredients, like the thin fennel slices I added, to introduce some additional texture to the filling.
These parcels would be excellent with a crisp green salad and/some roast potatoes. Be aware of the size of the salmon fillets you use, as this quickly becomes a very filling meal. In fact we couldn’t finish our serves so next time I would probably just cut one large salmon fillet in half and make individual portions to serve 2, or use 2 large salmon fillets to make 4 individual parcels.
It’s advisable to let the parcels rest for at least 10 minutes after taking out of the oven – this lets the juices stay in the fish. This is a dish that would be just as impressive for a formal dinner, as it would be as a delicious buffet item or just lukewarm at a picnic!
Prep time: 15 minutes Chilling time: 1/2 hour Cooking time: 25-35 minutes
2 medium size boneless salmon fillets, skin removed
2 square sheets of stone bought (Pampas) puff pastry
1 small bulb fennel, tips and fronds removed, and very thinly sliced
1 medium size red chilli chopped (optional)
handful of dill leaves finely chopped
50g of unsalted butter softened but not melted
salt and pepper
1 egg beaten to use as egg wash
1 sprig continental parsley leaves roughly chopped
- Take 2 square sheets of puff pastry out of the freezer and packaging to defrost for about 10 minutes
- Blend 2/3 of the fennel with the chopped chilli in a spice grinder or blender until a rough, textured paste forms (not too fine)
- Mix paste well with softened butter, add chopped dill and ground pepper to your taste
- Pat salmon fillets dry with paper towel and make a deep slit in the thickest part of each fillet trying to make each “pocket” as deep as possible without cutting through to the other end
- Lay rest of thinly sliced fennel, fill pocket with herbed butter, and add a few parsley leaves before pressing salmon closed.
- Place each salmon topside down in centre of puff pastry, brush edges with egg wash then turn over long edges and gently seal creating a long “seam”.
- Turn over with “seam” on the bottom, trim short edges close to edge of filletand press with a fork to seal.
- Make decorative topping with leftover pastry and use a teaspoon to create a fish scale pattern across the parcel.
- Place parcels in freezer for 1/2 hour or fridge for an hour
- Put a large baking tray in oven and pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celcius
- Remove parcels from freezer/fridge and brush with beaten egg all over
12. Carefully remove hot baking tray from oven and cover with greaseproof paper, place parcels on top, Bake in oven for 25 -35 minutes, if pastry is browning too quickly cover with a tent of foil.
13. Remove from oven, allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving with salads and sauces of your choice