I try not to make your lives any harder dear foodies--truly, I do. But around the holidays is when even the most timid cooks will search for complicated, impressive recipes to wow your guests and feed your loved ones decadently. Salmon En Croute, a traditional French dish is basically puff pastry covered salmon fillets with par-cooked vegetables. There are many different takes on this dish. Here is mine. For the sake of presentation I used rainbow carrots and julienned my mirepoix mixture, which I par-sauteed with fresh thyme in a small amount of butter. This was the top layer of my puff pastry packet. On the other side of the salmon was my shallot and leek paste, along with several very thinly sliced pats of butter. The sauce was a bit tart, but absolutely transcendent. I used a lot less butter, so it didn't thicken like a proper beurre blanc, but at least it wasn't as rich.
The salmon can be folded into puff pastry packets several hours before cooking.
Stone Ground Mustard Beurre Blanc
7 Tablespoons cold butter, separated
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1/2 lemon
3 Tablespoons sherry
1 Cup dry white wine (I used Gallo's Chardonnay)
1 shallot clove, diced
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1. In a heavy bottom saucepan add wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, sherry and shallots and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer to reduce liquid for about 30 - 40 minutes. Wine should reduce to just 3 or so Tablespoons.
2. Reduce heat to lowest setting and whisk in cream. Puree mixture, then return to saucepan.
3. Whisk in butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, allowing it to just melt before you add more. You want to be careful not to allow that butter to heat too much and melt instead of emulsifying.
4. Whisk in mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm over your en creute salmon fillets.
Salmon En Creute
Makes 4 servings
1 sheet puff pastry
4 salmon fillets, approx 5.6 ounces each (I cut a 1.3 lb piece of salmon belly into 4 fillets)
1 purple carrot (or regular carrot), scrubbed and julienned
1/2 medium yellow onion, julienned
2 stalks celery julienned
1 shallot clove, diced
1/2 large leek, chopped
1 Tablespoon sherry
3 small sprigs thyme, leaves only
3 Tablespoon cold, unsalted butter
1 Teaspoon olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 egg, beaten (for wash)
1. Over medium heat, melt 1/2 Tablespoon butter and combine with 1/2 teaspoon oil. Add julienned onions and a little salt. Cook for 2 minutes. Add julienned celery and carrots and thyme leaves and saute for another 3 minutes. Season with pepper and set it aside to cool.
2. Over medium heat, melt 1/2 Tablespoon butter and combine with 1/2 teaspoon oil. Saute leeks and shallots until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently. When the sugars from the leeks and shallots starts to brown the bottom of the pan, deglaze with the sherry. Allow the sherry to cook into the leeks and shallots. Set aside to cool, then puree.
3. Dust a clean surface with flour and roll your puff pastry out gently until it is 18" x 18". Cut it into four equal squares.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Assemble the en croute fillets: place a layer of 1/4 of the leek and shallot paste across the center of each square, attempting to cover as much area as the salmon will take up. Cover with a paper thin layer of butter pats, then cover with salmon fillet, skin side down. Top non-skin side of salmon with julienned vegetables and fold edges of puff pastry over everything to seal. Use egg wash along the edges to be sure and get a snug seal.
5. Bake for 20 - 22 minutes, or until puff pastry begins to turn golden.
6. Drizzle with mustard beurre blanc and serve.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and I welcome your feedback!