Sumptuous salmon and asparagus en croûte
This magnificent dish doesn’t take long in terms of preparation time, and it makes an impressive centrepiece to a grand dinner party. However, we made it in the middle of the Covid 19 lockdown, and it did well as an informal supper for about three meals, one a very pleasant one watching the feel-good children’s film, Swallows and Amazons… treats all round. It’s also good, cold, for lunch.
This dish keeps quite well in the fridge for a couple of days (I have kept it for over a week), but it doesn’t freeze well.
Serve with a green salad, or with fennel á la grecque.
Recipe for a sumptuous salmon and asparagus en croûte
- 300g/10 oz asparagus
- 500g/1 lb 2 oz cream cheese
- 2 eggs
- zest of a lemon
- a few leaves of fresh chives, parsley and dill
- smoked salt and a pinch of Urfa pepper flakes or freshly ground black pepper
- 330g/12 oz sheet of puff pastry
- 1 kg/2 lbs 4 oz side of salmon, skinned
- 350-400g/12-14 oz mayonnaise – Dr Wills is my recommendation, follow this link for why
- a few strands of saffron, soaked in water
- Preheat the oven to 210°C.
- Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus (follow this link to read how) and blanch for three to five minutes in salty water. Drain, refresh, and drain again.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese, one egg yolk (save the white for glazing) and a whole egg, seasoning, lemon zest, and snip in the fresh herbs. Mix.
- On a floured surface roll the pastry sheet out a bit thinner so that it will just be able to envelope the fish and cream cheese filling.
- Line a baking tray with silicon. Put the pastry on top, central on the tray. If the side of salmon is very broad, you may need to feel for the centre spine and cut it in half down this centre spine. Take out any wayward bones (there shouldn’t be any).
- Place a piece of fish on the pastry, cover with half the cream cheese mix, place the second piece on top and cover with about half the rest of the cream cheese. Cover with the asparagus. ‘Glue’ the asparagus down with the remaining cream cheese.
- Pull up the pastry to meet in the middle and envelope the salmon. Brush with the egg white. Put in the oven for about 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 180°C. Leave in the oven for about an hour. Check after 30 minutes, and turn around in the oven. If it looks as if the pastry might burn, cover with foil.
- Keep warm and leave to rest for ten minutes or so.
- Add the saffron to the mayonnaise and serve with the salmon.