Salmon en croute

Paul Merretts classic fish recipe makes a spectacular dinner party dish and is also delicious cold the next day with a little mayonnaise
By Paul Merrett
Salmon en croute
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 45 minutes chilling time
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 125 g long grain rice
  • 10 button mushrooms, finely sliced
  • knob of butter
  • 500 g block ready-made puff pastry
  • flour, for dusting
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 800 g skinless thick salmon fillet, pin-boned (see Cooks note below)
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • pinches caster sugar

For the sauce

  • 150 ml white wine
  • 100 ml chicken stock
  • 200 g butter, diced
  • squeeze lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped thyme

Tips and Suggestions

Cooks note:
Ask your fishmonger for half a side of fresh salmon, preferably the head end, which is often thicker. They might even pin-bone it for you too.

Method

1. Cook 3 of the eggs in boiling water until hard-boiled. Drain the eggs and set aside until cool enough to handle.

2. Cook the rice according to the packet directions, then drain and set aside to cool.

3. Melt a knob of butter in a heavy-based frying pan until hot, add the mushrooms and cook quickly until golden. Remove from the pan and leave to cool.

4. Cut one-third off the block of puff pastry. On a lightly floured surface, roll the 2 pieces of pastry out into 2 rectangles, both about 4mm thick. The larger rectangle should be about 30 x 22cm, and the smaller one, about 30 x 17cm. Put the pastry in the fridge for 15 minutes, to rest.

5. Peel the cooled eggs and chop them coarsely.

6. Put the eggs into a bowl with the cooled rice, chopped parsley, curry powder, and mushrooms. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and gently combine.

7. Line a large baking tray with a 35 x 20cm piece of baking paper.

8. Lay the smaller piece of pastry in the centre of the baking paper and lay the salmon fillet on top. Pack an even layer of the rice mixture on top of the salmon, pushing it down firmly.

9. Beat the remaining egg lightly and brush the edges of the pastry base with beaten egg. Lay the larger piece of pastry over the top of the salmon and rice, ensuring that you have an equal overhang on all sides. Use your fingers to pinch and seal the 2 layers of pastry together.

10. Add the milk and sugar to the remaining egg wash and brush all over the pastry. Transfer the finished package to the fridge and leave to chill for at least 30 minutes.

11. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Bake the salmon for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and bake for a further 20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. While the salmon is baking, prepare the sauce.

12. For the sauce: combine the wine and chicken stock in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.

13. Gradually add the butter and blend with a stick blender until smooth, adding a squeeze of lemon juice to taste. Stir in the chopped thyme.

14. To serve, cut the pastry-wrapped salmon into slices and drizzle each slice with a little sauce.

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