Salmon en Croute

Creating what I call the Pescatarian version of Beef Wellington, this entree gives a spectacular presentation, but with surprisingly little effort. It requires no more than a baking sheet and some parchment to bake; a small bowl to mix herbs and butter. Then if you can fancy the puff pastry into the shape of a fish you’ll have your maritime guests amazed!

Salmon en Croute

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2 salmon filets, about 1.5 lbs, skinned

3 tablespoons butter, softened
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Small handful each of fresh basil, dill and parsley
Truffle salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons wholegrain dijon mustard
1 sheet puff pastry
1 tablespoon flour, for dusting
egg yolk, beaten with a little water

Preheat your galley oven to 375º or anything over 350º. Soften butter. Have you done this before? I’ll bet you have!

Remove the skin from the salmon, It’s probably best to have your fishmonger do it but I forgot today. Make a small slice right under the skin and you should be able to peel the skin right off. Cut the filets in half if needed to fit a dimension of about 4 inches wide by 8 inches tall. Generously salt with truffle salt and add some fresh grated pepper. Set aside.
Grate the lemon rind. Mince the herbs. Place in a bowl with the softened butter and muddle together until into a soft, spreadable consistency.
Lay the puff pastry out on a floured pastry sheet (preferably not on the chart table!) and roll to about 1/8″ thickness. With a sharp knife cut even, diagonal slits one third of the way into the crust on both sides. Keep same number of strips on each side. See below. The bottom two strips can be used to create the “tail.”
Slather the mustard down the middle of the pastry sheet and place salmon filets on top.
Smear the butter-herb mixture over the filets. (I neglected to get a photo of that!) Alternating from one side to the other, bring each strip diagonally across the salmon filets. Form the bottom triangles to create the “tail.” Cut out a hole for his eyeball, if so desired. Or be creative with olives…whatever.
Mix the egg with a little water and brush over the pastry. It’s now ready for the oven!

Bake the salmon for 20–25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. To test if ready, insert a skewer into the middle. It should feel warm for perfectly cooked salmon. While that bakes get your side dishes ready. Today was a simple heirloom tomato and basil salad. My secret to the perfect tomato salad is to sprinkle a little sugar on the tomatoes before grating on fresh sea salt. Your guests will think they are the best tasting tomatoes ever and not even exactly know why!

When the salmon is done let it rest for 5 minutes and slide onto a serving platter.

Cut gently into serving pieces using a serrated knife.
Presto! Serve with a light salad and perhaps a Rosé! Cheers!

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