With its beautiful pink-orange flesh, meaty, succulent flavour and numerous health benefits, it’s no wonder that salmon is such a popular fish. It’s also extremely versatile and holds up to almost any cooking method weather it’s served raw as delicate sashimi, smoked with a variety of aromas, vividly cured with salt, gently poached, roasted or fried, this oil-rich fish is a popular restaurant choice but you can work wonders with it at home too.
Over the Christmas period, it’s a great idea to have some simple, stress free dishes to turn to when you really don’t feel like spending all morning slaving in the kitchen cooking for family and friends. It’s also a nice idea to have some meat free, healthy options that don’t leave you feeling bloated and ready to burst as you flit from one long feast to the next.
This year we are offering salmon wellington as one of our special Christmas dishes from our Fosh Food at Home delivery service. A beautiful salmon en croûte is a real centrepiece, some of my favourite dishes are the ones that require little effort to cook, but create a big impact and a perfectly cooked Salmon Wellington definitely falls into that bracket. Two thick salmon fillets, made into a sandwich with a filling of spinach, herbs and crème fraîche, then wrapped in pastry and baked for half an hour until golden brown...delicious!
In my view there is no substitute to seasonal wild salmon in terms flavour and texture. The very appearance of a wild salmon is a joy to behold. It’s had a life that’s been full of adventure. Swimming up and down stream, out to sea and back again, leaping waterfalls and gorging on small prawns and other crustaceans developing that beautiful, pinkish colour and wonderful flavour. Unfortunately, wild salmon is very difficult to find these days but farmed salmon is extremely abundant and a relatively cheap alternative.
Although it is not big on flavour, it is very easy to cook. Its fatty make-up allows you to overcook it slightly without spoiling the texture of the fish. Salmon can be flavoured with anything from fresh dill to juniper berries, pink peppercorns, orange, cauliflower and earthy beetroot.
Asian flavours such as soy, sesame, chilli and ginger are also perfect partners for salmon.
· 500g two thick salmon fillets, skinned & de-boned
· 125g spinach
· 125g crème fraîche
· Juice of ½ lemon
· 2tsps chopped chives
· ½tsp grated nutmeg
· 320g puff-pastry sheet
· 1 egg yolk
Cook the baby spinach leaves gently in a little knob of butter for one minute. Squeeze out all the excess liquid by pressing the spinach against the side of a sieve.
Transfer the dry spinach to a mixing bowl, add the chopped chives, lemon juice and the grated nutmeg. Add the crème fraîche and mix well and season with salt and pepper.
Now prepare the salmon. Make sure the skin has been removed and there are no pin bones left. Lightly dust a non-stick surface with plain flour and roll out the puff-pastry sheet.
Place one of the salmon fillets towards an edge of the puff-pastry rectangle, skin side up and then spread the spinach mixture over it. Place the other salmon half on top, skin side down like a sandwich.
Fold the pastry over the salmon to make a parcel. Use your fingers to push together the edge of the pastry and then cut away any excess. Any leftover pastry can be rolled into shapes to decorate the outside. Brush the parcel with an egg yolk to glaze and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Move the salmon parcel onto a non-stick tray. Brush once more with the egg yolk and bake the preheated oven to cook for 20–25 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Serve with buttered new potatoes and green beans.