“Salmon en Croute“, such an urbaine sounding title for a very tasty dish. But, let’s just forget the ‘Francification’ and call it ‘salmon in a crust’. Without the fancy title, the elegant dish becomes pretty ordinary sounding. When it’s sounding ordinary and ‘of the people’, I find I can write about it. Let’s face it, I’m an ordinary guy and I just can’t handle fancy. Though, I hope you can because this is one sophisticated tasting treat.
The ingredients list for this lovely meal is short and to the point. Have one of your upstairs staff read it to you.
- A half kilo fillet of salmon
- 120 grammes of great quality smoked salmon
- 100 grammes of uncooked spinach
- Zest of half a lemon
- 70 grammes or so of cream cheese
- One sheet of pre-made puff pastry (Or have a serf make it from scratch)
- Salt and pepper to season
- A beaten egg to seal and paint
First, skin the fish. This can be done by yourself or you can pretend to be too refined to do so. If you are, have your man conduct the procedure.
When your houseboy had removed the salmon from the skin (that’s the best way to do it), have him trim the slim side of the fillet and place it on top of the side of the fillet to make a more cubic piece of fish. I’m too simple a chap to explain it in words. Look at the picture below.
Have one of the maids steam the spinach and squeeze the liquid out of it. Then have her squeeze it again and again. Spinach holds a lot of water. Get the kitchen porter to slice the smoked salmon into small pieces and mix it with the cream cheese. Have him also roll out the pastry and place the salmon on one end, leaving enough margin to form a seal.
Get the chef to spread the cheese mixture on top of the salmon. Have a kitchen underling assist by sitting the spinach on top. Then have the groundskeeper paint around the salmon with some beaten egg. He can also fold over the pastry, avoiding any trapped air. Trapped air can cause problems, no matter how cultivated you are.
Have your chef seal around the edges with a fork, making a sophisticated pattern around the edge.
Instruct chef to place the dish in a 200ºC oven for 20 minutes or so. Repair to the dining room. Your sommelier will probably recommend an appropriate wine to accompany. If you have a quality wine man, he will have opened a bottle to the standard of this lovely tipple.
Allow a faithful retainer prepare your meal, serving some seasonal asparagus and baby potatoes. The salmon, spinach and cream cheese work well together. You will appreciate them as much as you should appreciate the efforts of your burgeoning staff.
Alternatively, you could cook it yourself. It takes practically no time to prepare and really is pretty sophisticated.