Herbed Salmon en Croute
Salmon en Croute is much easier to prepare than its elegant name suggests. Many recipes call for chopped greens like spinach or watercress combined with butter or creme fraiche, or the addition of blanched asparagus. We like a somewhat simpler preparation that combines fragrant fresh tarragon with lots of lemon zest and plain old cream cheese. The flavor is delicate and cuts the richness of the dish a little bit.
- 2-1/2 lbs skinless salmon fillets, 3/4 to 1-inch thick (see notes)
- 3 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsely, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 package frozen puff pastry dough (2 sheets), thawed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the salmon fillets into six equally sized portions. Season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper and place on a platter.
- In a small bowl, thoroughly combine the cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, shallot, tarragon, parsley and pinch of salt. Spread the mixture evenly over the top of each piece of salmon. Refrigerate uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- Gently unfold the pastry sheets onto a lightly floured surface and cut each into 3 equal pieces (approximately 5 x 10-inches each). Roll out slightly to form 7 x 10-inch rectangles.
- Place a piece of salmon, topping side down, on each pastry rectangle. Fold the edges up over the fish and press to seal the seams, stretching gently if necessary. Place on the prepared baking sheet, seam side down, and brush the tops with the egg wash.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the salmon is cooked through.
Ask your fishmonger to cut your salmon from the thickest parts of 2 tail-end fillets. This way your portions will be of relatively equal thickness. Also, if you're not experienced at removing the skin yourself, get him to do that as well.