I get so happy when I try something totally out of the ordinary, new to me and out of the box and it works.
Actually it not only just works – but, it exceeds all of my expectations.
Then there is totally a happy dance in my kitchen (and my tummy!)
Case in point – this week’s choice for our Gutsy Cooks club.
I could have gone totally safe with the Creamy Pot Roast Chicken – no brainer. Or totally walk the yeast path again with the Brown Mushroom Tortano – I wasn’t feeling the mushroom elements. But, I have always wanted to try making Salmon wrapped in something, and puff pastry seemed to be the best wrapping vessel – so it was going to be the Salmon en Croute all along –another one off the bucket list!
No, really – it’s that easy. And I’m giving an imaginary “look” to Steph over at Faked Goods that was at my house on Sunday and said to me when she asked me what I was making this week, “the Salmon? Yikes! Oh, that is the HARD recipe”.
Steph, let me tell you - it was not – in fact I made that recipe for our dinner tonight.
It took me 20 minutes to put it together and 25 in the oven baking it.
And I got all gutsy on it too.
And it was pretty, and tasty and I rocked it.
Salmon is a mild fish and when I read the recipe I knew I needed to put my own spin on it in order to infuse more flavor into the fish. I also had to “pump up” the flavor on the other components as well. I started with the pea puree – I sautéed the peas with onions over butter and a bit of olive oil and seasoned them well with salt and pepper. I did not have mint, so I replaced it with basil instead. I seasoned the salmon with a bit salt, pepper and my secret ingredient - a sprinkle of chicken bouillon granules – yep, you read it right, bouillon granules. Last but not least, I also added a couple of slices of Prosciutto.
The end results? A little pocket of heaven!
Tom told me “I feel like I’m eating at a fancy restaurant, instead of in front of our TV watching cartoons!”
SALMON EN CROUTE WITH PROSCIUTTO AND PEA PUREE
Inspired by this recipe
- 2 cups fresh peas or frozen peas
- 1-2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- ½ yellow onion - chopped
- 1 tablespoon each chopped flat-leaf parsley and basil
- ½ cup crème fraiche (you can use sour cream or yogurt as well)
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon and some juice
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 package of puff pastry, thawed
- Plain flour, to dust
- 2-4 pieces of salmon, skinned, pin-boned (preferably center cut)
- 2-6 slices of prosciutto
- ½ chicken bouillon granules
- 1 egg, beaten to wash the puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 400°F; place a baking tray inside to the oven to heat up.
For the pea puree: In a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat, warm the butter and olive oil, when the butter is bubbling, add the chopped onions – season with salt and pepper. Cook until translucent. Add the peas and stir, season again with salt and pepper and cook until tender (not mushy!). Remove from the pan and add the lemon zest, half of the chopped basil and parsley and the green onions.
In a small bowl, combine the rest of the basil and parsley with the crème fraiche and season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Place 1 tablespoon in a food processor with the pea mixture, pulse to roughly chop – it needs to come together like a smooth puree (a couple of pulses should do it) – add a bit of more crème fraiche if needed. Keep remaining crème fraiche refrigerated until ready to serve.
Prep the salmon. Pat the salmon with a paper towel and make sure its dry. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and sprinkle about ¼ teaspoon of chicken bouillon granules, set aside.
Roll out 1 sheet of pastry on a lightly floured board to a piece slightly larger than the size of the salmon. Place on a sheet of baking paper. Pile pea mixture down the center. Spread it out so that it is the same width of the salmon. Next cover the puree with a couple of slices of the prosciutto. Place the salmon, best-side down, on top of the pea puree/prosciutto spread. Roll out the remaining pastry on a lightly floured board to 1/8” thickness. Cut a long strip from the pastry the same width as the salmon and lay it on top. Brush exposed bottom piece of pastry with egg, then fold in the 4 sides and press down gently to enclose the filet neatly (any remaining pastry can be used to decorate the croute or discard). Carefully turn the package over and, using a small knife, score the top of the pastry in a crisscross pattern, taking care not to cut all the way through. Brush with egg and transfer to the hot baking tray.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Rest for 2 minutes before serving with the reserved herbed creme fraiche.
And there you have it, a FANCY dinner in less than one hour. These little pockets are full of flavor, the prosciutto adds it a bit of saltiness, and the cool, tangy herb crème fraiche is a nice compliment. We ate them all alone, but you can serve it with a nice salad or even roasted lemony potatoes. Whichever way you decide, your family (or guests) will totally think you slaved over them, instead of chilling in the kitchen.
The trick is to make sure the salmon remains moist inside the enclosure, so make sure you wrap the pastry tightly around it, and seal it well all around.
You can also use cream cheese, instead of the crème fraiche. Spinach instead of the peas.
If your puff pastry is a bit soft after you did your salmon pockets, before you bake, place back in your freezer for about 15 minutes. This blast of cold will make your pastry PUFFS higher during baking.