Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Daring Cooks December 2009: Salmon en Croute

The Decemeber 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetable en Croute) from Good Food Online.

I really enjoyed doing this Daring Cooks, I love eating salmon en croute but usually just get it out of a packet from the supermarket, so it was nice to try it from scratch. I cheated and used ready made pastry and I did have a small problem with the puree. I only have a tiny food processor big enough to make hummus and that sort of thing. So I had to use a hand blender to make the puree, it made the puree really liquid. I tried putting it in the fridge for a bit to see if that would stiffen it up, but that didn't work! So I tried to carefully pour it into the salmon parcels, but lots of it oozed out! So I heated the remainder of the sauce and put it in a jug to pour over, and then it thickened up! Very bizarre.

I made this for my parents when they came for dinner, and they really enjoyed it. I served it with celeriac mash, runner beans and sugar snap peas.

Salmon en Croute
(Serves 4)

Mascarpone or cream cheese 5.2 ounces/150 gr
Watercress, rocket (arugula) and spinach - 0.6 cup/4.2 ounces/120 gr
Shortcrust pastry - 17.6 ounces, 500 gr. Use a butter version such as Jus-rol which is frozen or dorset pastry. or... make your own!
Salmon fillet (skinless)- 17.6 ounce/500 gr
egg - 1 medium sized

1.Heat the oven to 200°C/390 F. Put the mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor with the watercress, spinach and rocket and whizz the lot until you have a creamy green puree. Season well.

2. Roll the pastry out so you can wrap the salmon in it completely (approx. 2-3 mm thick) and lay it on a buttered or oiled baking sheet (it will hang over the edges). Put the salmon in the middle. If it has a thinner tail end, tuck it under. Spoon half of the watercress mixture onto the salmon. Now fold the pastry over into a neat parcel (the join will be at the top, so trim the edge neatly), making sure you don’t have any thick lumps of pastry as these won’t cook through properly. Trim off any excess as you need to. Make 3 neat cuts in the pastry to allow steam to escape and make some decorations with the off-cuts to disguise the join if you like. Brush with the egg glaze.

3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. To test whether the salmon is cooked, push a sharp knife through one of the cuts into the flesh, wait for 3 seconds then test it against the inside of your wrist; if it is hot, the salmon is cooked. Serve with the rest of the watercress puree as a sauce.

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