Salmon en Croute – Simple sophistication.

Salmon en croute (8 of 9)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.

Sophisticated simplicity. Or, is that simply sophisticated?

Sophisticated simplicity. Or, is that simply sophisticated?

Ingredients

  • 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.

The salmon can be cut away from the skin more easily than the reverse.

The salmon can be cut away from the skin more easily than the reverse.

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.

Pretty easy to do, if not so easy to write. It's self explanatory in the picture.

Pretty easy to do, if not so easy to write. It’s self-explanatory in the picture.

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.

Sophisticated salmon, simple construction.

Sophisticated salmon, simple construction.

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.

Trim the excess. That is, make cutbacks, leaving enough room to seal the pastry.

Trim the excess. That is, make cutbacks, leaving enough room to seal the pastry.

Have your chef seal around the edges with a fork, making a sophisticated pattern around the edge.

Once your chef has sealed the parcel, have your butler brush the parcel with egg.

Once your chef has sealed the parcel, have your butler brush the parcel with egg.

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.

Contact your shipper and have a few extra cases added to your cellar.

Contact your shipper and have a few extra cases added to your cellar.

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.

Elegant, sophisticated and worthy of having one's staff on the case.

Elegant, sophisticated and worthy of having one’s staff on the case.

Alternatively, you could cook it yourself. It takes practically no time to prepare and really is pretty sophisticated.

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Latest comments
  • One of our favorite dishes to celebrate special events… like “It’s Saturday!” 😉

    one modification we’ve been doing for years now is to use phyllo dough instead of puff pastry, which lightens it up a bit and we usually feel less stuffed at the end of the meal. We also like to top it with a little crab meat, just for fun

    • An excellent idea. Though, my below stairs staff tend to do a reasonably light job this way. Bless them.

  • That looks delicious – you do seem to have a large retinue to do your bidding 😉

    • Not enough of them in truth MD and none that will do my bidding.

      • Oh dear, at least they normally sound appreciative of all your efforts 😉

  • I have only one criticism. It’s too small. I’d eat the whole of that myself, being of a piggish disposition. Lacking the domestic staff, I’d have slaved away for whole minutes preparing it, and would be famished. Likewise, the Husband would feel shortchanged at only getting half, and since he has a large frame to nourish, I’ll be doubling the quantities….

    • You get the appetite from digging those big gardens Kate. Any reference to ‘large frame’ makes me suspicious…..

      • Using the picturesque Aussie vernacular, we’d say he’s build like a brick dunny. And there’s a significant balcony over the toolshed, as well.

        • Lol, I have never heard of the balcony over the toolshed. I will get great use out of that one. Love it!

  • This looks amazing! I had smoked salmon on a cedar plank this weekend. Love Salmon!

    • Interesting, I am planning a cedar plank experiment very soon.

  • What a fabulous combination. I could scarf that back single-handed, just like Kate.

    • It was bigger than it looks. It fed two of us once with enough for a snack left over. The cream cheese is pretty filling…

  • Very nice Conor. The dish looks remarkable and I love the flavor profile, especially the smoked salmon combined with the salmon.
    I love “en croute” dishes, especially now due the the abundant availability of good store bought puff pastry. I remember back to my restaurant years when you had to make the puff pastry. It always was a chore and I have the condition bakers refer to as “hot hands” which is not conducive to making puff pastry, pie dough or the like. (Baby Lady says they’re great for massages – 😉 ) Regardless, it always was delicious and considered a delicacy. There is something about a nice protein wrapped in flaky puff pastry that elevates a dish to fine dining.
    Now, knowing you never want to sound “common” you should rename your dish to “Salmon Florentine En Croute.” This will get you lots of oohs and aahs before they see anything other than the title. In turn, your subordinates will remain happy that everyone is duly impressed with your dish. 😉

    • Thanks Richard. I am thinking about a Beef Wellington. I haven’t done one here on the blog and I think I should rectify that. However, I would want to modify i in some way to “make it my own” as they say. Perhaps a Beef Martin (with laced pastry) or Beef Stiletto (Thin strip of beef) or such like. The addition of a French town name also has some merit. I might invent something along with an appropriate sounding history (and a counter history as is essential, it seems) to confound the world of bloggery.

  • I think Mrs Padmore would approve, as do I. I particularly like the smoked salmon mixed in with the cream cheese, as just salmon may have been a bit boring. Sophisticated indeed.

    • Thanks Stefan. Not being a watcher of the series, I had to Google her. Yes, she would.

  • Sorry ordinary guy, that looks fancy in a French kind of way 😀

    • Darnation! I was hoping to keep it ordinary and ‘of the people’.

  • This sounds great, I’ll add it to the “to do” list. I’m only worried my hall boy may find himself at a loose end during the prep.

    • Have him buff the brasses on the outer entrance doors. That will occupy him for a good hour.

  • Perfectly sealed edges! This is a great idea. It’s Copper River Salmon season right now and this will be delightful.

    • Excellent. Assemble the staff in the Great Hall and brief them on their duties.

  • Very bloody nice Conor. The upstairs staff ran me through the recipe and we all agreed it looked very nice indeed 👌

    • Have one of them print it, iron it, possibly while ironing your newspaper, and give it to the under-cook.

  • That looks quite elegant – great photos, by the way.

  • What substitute would you recommend for someone who doesn’t eat salmon of any kind!!

    • Hi Emma,
      Cod springs to mind. The smoked could be replaced with smoked haddock (actually smoked, not painted on smoke).

  • This dish looks perfect.

  • ‘Tautology’ Milord, tautology ’cause ‘sophistication’ by definition is always ‘simple’! Absolutely love this as it is a wee bit different to how I normally make it!! No downstairs staff needed 😀 !! But will be tasted soon!!!!! With your pastry or Sally’s . . . no way do I have time nor energy for home-made puff pastry!!!

    • The thought of all that rolling and buttering is pretty depressing. Particularly if one does not have the staff…

  • This looks absolutely lovely Conor! I will have to try this one! My best to you… ^..^

    • Thanks Barb,
      Healthy food like this helps keep us going.

      • I was describing this to my husband last night, and he agrees that this is a must try!

  • A puff pastry-making serf? You’re right! That’s exactly what I need!

  • Delicious simple idea…the very best kind. I hadn’t heard of Moulin Caresse before and googled it…have to try it.

  • Conor, this is all very well, but have you any tips for alternatives when one’s staff is on strike? One’s full complement is picketing one’s car parking space at present (nearest thing one has to an exclusive entrance) because one was forced to cut all pedicure benefit.

    On another note, Beef Martin please. Immediatement.

  • Gorgeous and simple. I think sophistication lies in the simplicity.

  • So where was your footboy in all these preparations?!?! He was probably out back having a smoke during all the preparations. ‘Twould be best to let that one go, the dosser! 😉 (p.s. what a beautiful presentation for salmon! Wish me luck in catching the “big one” this year!) 😀

    • The footboy was blackening the horses’ hooves so my carriage would be ready for a fishing trip. Hopefully to catch the elusive ‘big one’. His job is safe, for now.

  • hmm, elegant and fancy salmon pastry!!!

    • I can see you are not impressed because of the lack of bloody meat Dedy.

  • Gorgeous and very do-able. Now where to find decent unfarmed salmon…

    • The waters around there will be full of them ( we wish).

      • Ha, ha! You nearly got me there Conor. At first I read ‘we fish’!

  • Hi Conor, I decided to make this with filo pastry today and it was gorgeous. I had a largish side of salmon, so I made two pies. We scoffed the first one for lunch and I don’t think the second will see dusk. Thanks for a great idea.

    • Hi David,
      Delighted to hear it. I must give it a go with filo. It’s so easy and pretty flavoursome.
      Best,
      Conor

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