Salmon en croute – new year to picnic


Salmon en croute with currants and ginger – Rick Stein

I made this last New Year which was great hot or cold and a great alternative after too much turkey or nut roast.

This time though I made this great dish for a family and friends’ picnic on the last bank holiday Monday. The group included 3 children and 16 Adults of all ages and taste preferences. I was unsure whether or not to risk the recipe as the flavours might not have been to everyone’s liking, but I decided to go for it. And I’m pleased to say it worked. So much so that there was none to take home for the following days lunch!

On Sunday morning I prepared the dish, so it was ready to lift the next day.

I bought my fish from Oxford’s Covered Market Haymans Fisheries, they had a whole fillet of salmon which weighed the
total amount needed.

As I was in a hurry on the Saturday of purchase I forgot to ask them to skin it, something they would have happily done! It was now left for my masterful other half to do this job, a task that was not easy, bearing in mind the weight that we were dealing with. It was done
with success, thankfully!

I halved the salmon and followed the recipe as written below. All the ingredients were easy to source you simply need a good fishmonger and a
supermarket!

The Recipe:

2 x 550g skinned salmon filet, taken from behind the gut cavity of a 3-4 kg fish
100g unsalted softened butter
4 pieces of stem ginger in syrup – well drained and finely diced
25g currants
1/2 tsp ground mace
750g chilled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten, to glaze
Salt and ground pepper
-Season the salmon fillet well with salt. Mix the softened butter with the stem ginger, currants, mace, ½ tsp of salt and black pepper. Spread the inner face of one salmon fillet evenly with the butter mixture and then lay the second fillet on top.

-Cut the pastry in half and roll one piece on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 4cm/1½in bigger than the salmon all the way around – approximately 18 x 33cm/7 x 13in. Roll the second piece out into a rectangle 5cm/2in larger than the first one all the way round.

– Lay the smaller rectangle of pastry on a well-floured baking sheet and place the salmon in the centre. Brush a wide band of beaten egg around the salmon and lay the second piece of pastry on top, taking care not to stretch it. Press the pastry tightly around the outside of the salmon, trying to ensure that you have not trapped in too much air, and then press the edges together well. Trim the edges of the pastry neatly to leave a 2.5cm/1 in band all the way around. Brush this once more with egg. Mark the edge with a fork and decorate the top with a fish scale effect by pressing an upturned teaspoon gently into the pastry, working in rows down the length of the parcel.

-Chill for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6 and put a large baking sheet in it to heat up.

Remove the salmon en croute from the fridge and brush it all over with beaten egg. Take the hot baking sheet out of the oven and carefully slide the salmon parcel onto it. Return it to the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Leave it to rest for 5 minutes.

Transfer the salmon to a warmed serving plate and take it to the table whole. Cut it across into slices to serve.

Book – Rick Stein’s Seafood, published 2001, page 140, Salmon en croute with currants and ginger

(Designed with a spoon!)

My thoughts:

Cons
I would suggest not using all of the pastry, simply put don’t go all the way around. Just use enough pastry to go on top of the fish (as a lid!).  I found at New Year this was good as a decorative feature and less filling. Removing the lid allows the pastry to be an option for your guests/party, to eat as much or as little as they wish.

Pros
It can be had hot or cold, and for the masses! I pre-made this for the bank holiday and then couriered it to its final destination with no hassle. I just needed a large enough container, being a roasting tray in my case!

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