Sunday, March 20, 2011

Salmon en Croute...special stuff for special people

My neighbors are going through a major remodel and have been without a kitchen for nearly a month. We decided to treat them to a home cooked meal last night. Of course, as always I want to give my guests the best I can produce. A little wow factor is nice too.

Salmon en Croute..literally salmon in crust was the option I went for tonight. Its really simple, a little laborious but worth the results. Its actually pretty easy to do...wrap a par-cooked salmon portion in puff pastry much like one would wrap a Christmas gift using a little egg wash as glue to hold the seams together.

Presentation is everything and its the little things that elevate the wow factor of the final product. In this case not only did I glaze it with an egg wash, but I cut out little fish from the pastry scraps to make decorations for the top of the package to give a little visual interest as well as hint of what is inside.

When working with puff pastry dough one does need to keep it cool so you don't melt the butter separating the layers within the pastry. Working with one sheet at a time does help you keep from getting your dough to soft and ruining the layers. Simply put the sheet you don't need at the moment in the fridge to keep it cool while working with the other. Also, its very important that the dough be cool when put in the oven for maximum puff during baking so the resting period in the refrigerator is really important, but that's a good thing as it means you can have assembled in the afternoon before you even have to worry about your guests arriving. Do aheads are a good thing.

The puff pastry though loaded with butter can stick to a baking sheet. I use a silpat to prevent sticking and tearing of the salmon en Croute when removing it from the pan. If you don't have a silpat then do get yourself some parchment paper to put down on your baking sheet to prevent sticking. Nothing is worse than working hard to make a pretty looking dish only to have it ruined because of sticking. Easy fix.

Salmon en Croute
  • 1 pkg Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry
  • 4 4-6oz salmon fillets
  • onion salt
  • pepper
  • whole grain mustard
  • dill weed
  • Sea salt
  • 1 egg beaten

Trim salmon fillets into neat squared off edge pieces. Season both sides with onion salt and pepper. Add to microwave safe baking dish. Microwave on high for 4minutes. Let cool to room temp. Very important to cool to room temp as if its too warm it will melt the pastry and you will have a mess on your hands.

Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry. Cut in half. Take 1 salmon fillet. Sprinkle both sides with the dill weed to taste. On one side spread 1 t grainy mustard (I use grey poupon whole grain mustard) on one side of the salmon. Brush edges of puff pastry with egg wash. Place the fillet on a piece of puff pastry. Bring up one side and then the other, trimming off extra for making a surface a fish maybe? Take the open ends of the puff pastry and fold as if gift wrapping on a package, pressing lightly to seal. Make decoration with scrap and attach with egg wash to top of bundle. Repeat with remaining dough portions and fillets.

Place bundles in fridge and let rest a minimum of 1 hour.

Place salmon packages on a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush egg wash all over the bundles and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 425F for 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden brown all over.

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