Salmon En Croute (Daring Cooks Challenge December 09)

Salmon & chicken en croute

The 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetable en Croute) from Good Food Online.

These were really simple but absolutely delicious! I made these twice using different fillings. I used salmon & chicken in my first attempt and topped off my parcels with teddy bears for a kitsch appeal. I also made mini en croutes using a circular cookie cutter. I forgot to slash the pastry so the juices came running out the sides…never mind.

I made ghost shaped lamb en croutes for my second attempt. I really don’t know why I decided to use this shape and consequently discovered that ghosts aren’t the best shapes for filling as their ‘arms’ are too narrow to put anything in…anyway, they looked cute and the pastry was yummy. For the short crust pastry, I was inspired by Nigella Lawson – using orange juice instead of water & popping the flour/butter mix into the freezer before rubbing into bread crumbs. The resulting pastry was very light & crisp.

Lamb en croute

Salmon En Croute

Recipe source : Good Food online

A few notes first:
1.If you are making the short-crust pastry yourself; make sure not to add too much water as that will render the pastry too hard, making it impossible to roll out into the needed size. I made that mistake for the first batch and ended up using store-bought instead.
2. If you cannot find short-crust pastry (a I did) and don’t want to make it yourself, you can substitute with puff pastry. Do not use the packages that are available (at least in the Netherlands) for pies… Not the right dough! (I did make that mistake and the taste was just not that good)
3. The recipe does not call for adding any extra salt or other seasonings to the salmon. I found that the salmon could use just a little bit of extra flavor, so feel free to add some seasoning to your liking. Be careful not to use too much as the topping also adds flavor.

Variations allowed: Mandatory for this challenge is to cook with pastry.!If you do not like fish or are allergic to salmon, you can substitute the salmon for the Beef version, which is Beef Wellington. Recipe below. Salmon can be substituted for another type of fish, although I am not sure which fish would do well in pastry. Vegetarian versions are also allowed. For a vegetarian version check out this recipe on my blog and leave out the chicken

Preparation time: Total prep time incl. cooking for the Salmon is 50 minutes
Total prep time for the Beef Wellington is 3 hours
Shortcrust pastry : 50 minutes (optional)

Equipment required:
For the Salmon en croute
oven
foodprocessor
rolling pin
For the Beef Wellington
Blender or food processor
Frying pan
15 cm crepe pan or small frying pan or griddle
cling film
oven

Salmon en croute:
Ingredients
Mascarpone or creamcheese 5.2 ounces/150 gr
Watercress, rocket (arugula) and spinach – 0.6 cup/4.2 ounces/120 gr
Shortcrust pastry – 17.6 ounces, 500 gr. Use a butterversion such as Jus-rol which is frozen or dorset pastry. or… make your own!
Salmon fillet (skinless)- 17.6 ounce/500 gr
egg – 1 medium sized

Directions:
1.Heat the oven to 200°C/390 F. Put the mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor with the watercress, spinach and rocket and whizz the lot until you have a creamy green puree. Season well.
2. Roll the pastry out so you can wrap the salmon in it completely (approx. 2-3 mm thick) and lay it on a buttered or oiled baking sheet (it will hang over the edges). Put the salmon in the middle. If it has a thinner tail end, tuck it under. Spoon half of the watercress mixture onto the salmon. Now fold the pastry over into a neat parcel (the join will be at the top, so trim the edge neatly), making sure you don’t have any thick lumps of pastry as these won’t cook through properly. Trim off any excess as you need to. Make 3 neat cuts in the pastry to allow steam to escape and make some decorations with the off-cuts to disguise the join if you like. Brush with the egg glaze.
3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. To test wether the salmon is cooked, push a sharp knife through one of the cuts into the flesh, wait for 3 seconds then test it against the inside of your wrist; if it is hot, the salmon is cooked. Serve with the rest of the watercress puree as a sauce.

Shortcrust pastry

While this is not mandatory to do, I highly recommend making your own shortcrust pastry as it is very simple to do! As mentioned in the notes; please make sure to not add too much water as that is the key to having a successful shortcrust pastry.

Making shortcrust pastry

Ingredients:
450 gr (15.8 ounces or 3.2 cups ) of plain all purpose flour
200 gr ( 7 ounce) cold butter
pinch of salt

Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Stir in the salt, then add 2-3 tbsp of water and mix to a firm dough. Knead the dough briefly and gently on a floured surface. Wrap in cling film and chill while preparing the filling.

For best results make sure the butter is very cold.

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10 responses to “Salmon En Croute (Daring Cooks Challenge December 09)

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