This weekend I felt like doing something a bit more involved and trying something new. I’d done a James Martin salmon en croute a few years ago and that was delicious, but I decided to go it alone this time and see what happened.
The results were pretty good. The pie would have served four and we managed to finish it off between two. I think that’s a good sign.
What to use – serves 4 “normal” or 2 greedy people
- 375g puff pastry – I used this
- 450g salmon fillet – mine came skin on which I removed
- 8 king prawns
- a handful of green beans and a few boiled new potatoes to serve with
For the spinach filling
- a BIG handful of spinach, maybe two if you have small hands
- 2 big tea spoon dollops of creme fraiche
- a big pinch of soft bread crumbs (optional – I had them in)
- juice of quarter of a lemon
- big pinch of salt and black pepper
For the salmon mousse filling
- trimmings from the salmon fillet mentioned above – approx 50g
- 1 free range egg
- 1 generous tea spoon of creme fraiche
- pinch of salt
- juice of quarter of a lemon
For the sauce
- 15 cherry tomatoes
- 2 good-sized cloves of garlic
- a good glug of olive oil
- a glug of white wine
- 2 tea spoons of fish sauce
- table spoon of tomato puree
- 100ml double cream
How to use it
Put the oven on to 180C and put a baking sheet in there to warm.
Take your pastry out of the fridge in order to bring to room temperature for approx 30 minutes.
Take your salmon fillet and trim it into an oblong, taking enough off – around 50g – to make a mousse with.
Make your spinach filling. Wash the spinach – a BIG handful – and put it into a pan. The water that will be stuck to the leaves will wilt it without you needing to add anything else. Put the pan on and let the spinach wilt down. Will take a couple of minutes. Remove, squeeze away any excess water and put into a blender.
A note on blenders – I’m not embarrassed to admit that I have a small one. These are small amounts of ingredients to be blended. If you have a large one, hand held might be the way to go for best results here.
To the spinach, add two big oozing-over-the-side tea spoon dollops of creme fraiche, the juice of a quarter of a lemon, a big pinch of bread crumbs if you have them, and a generous pinch of salt and ground pepper. (Don’t put your pepper corns in whole like I did – they don’t blend and they will break your teeth.)
Pulse the mixture until blended. Scrape into a bowl and put into the fridge.
Wash the blender ready for the next stage – the salmon mousse filling. Put your salmon trimmings into the blender. Break an egg in there. Add a squeeze of lemon and one tea spoon of creme fraiche, salt and pepper. Put this on to blend constantly as you want it to whip itself up into a mousse. Will probably take about 30 seconds. Scrape out and put into the fridge until ready to bake.
Take your pastry and cut into two pieces – one a little larger than the other. This en croute is quite high, so you need a piece for the top that’s bigger than the one for the bottom. Roll out into two oblongs.
Place your salmon fillet in the middle. Spread the spinach filling over the top. Place the king prawns on top of the spinach. Spread the salmon mousse on top of the prawns.
Brush egg wash onto the pastry around the edges of the salmon. Lower the top layer of pastry on to the fish/filling/prawn pile, and gently fork the two layers of pastry together. Egg wash the whole pie.
Put the pie onto the hot baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes.
While it is baking, make the sauce. The sauce is a creamy tomato one and works really well with the pastry and the fish.
Put your cherry tomatoes, peeled garlic cloves and glug of oil into the blender and blitz. Put the mix into a non stick pan, and add a glug of white wine, 2 tea spoons of fish sauce, the tomato puree and a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Keep tasting it and adjust as you wish – you want quite a strong flavour as you’re going to add cream which will dilute it to a subtler level. Add the cream and keep simmering for another 5 minutes. Strain the sauce through a sieve/small holed colander, using a ladle to push it through. Put the sauce back into a pan and keep warm until the pie is ready to eat.
Serve with new potatoes and (hopefully not as flaccid as mine) green beans.