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Merry Salmon Christmas!

Jamie Oliver’s Salmon en croute

Serves: 4

We did a seafood themed-dinner the evening of Christmas Eve and one of the dishes we prepared was this number from Jamie Oliver.

It is something I have wanted to try for a while and with a beautiful side of salmon right from the fish markets (we doubled the recipe) it was a real hit: the sauce, the pastry, the thick, flaking salmon and the wonderful watercress and spinach filling.

Complete with Christmas pastry-work by Nat, it looked and tasted just like Christmas and it was just as good as a cold snack on Boxing Day.

I’m slightly sad thinking it will be almost a year until I can cook this number again…

Ingredients

Olive oil
2 French shallots
100gm baby spinach
1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
200gm baby leaf watercress
1 tbsp butter
1 lemon
1 whole nutmeg , for grating
200gm crème fraîche
500gm thick, skinless salmon fillet, pin-boned
500gm puff pastry sheets
1 large egg, whisked

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper and brush it with a little oil.
  2. Peel and finely chop the shallots, roughly chop the spinach, then pick and chop the parsley leaves. Chop half the watercress, leaving the rest whole.
  3. To make the filling, warm the butter and a splash of oil in a pan over a low heat. Add the shallots and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft but not coloured.
  4. Add the spinach, parsley and chopped watercress to the pan with the zest and juice from the lemon. Season to taste and stir in a good grating of nutmeg.
  5. Cook down the leaves for 3 to 5 minutes, then mix in 1 tablespoon of the crème fraîche.
  6. Tip it into a sieve set over a bowl and press to squeeze out the juices. Leave the filling to cool.
  7. To make the sauce, blitz the remaining watercress and crème fraîche in a food processor with juices from the bowl. Season and transfer to a bowl and chill until needed.
  8. Slice the salmon fillet in half sideways, so you can open it like a book.
  9. Spoon the cooled filling down the middle, fold the fish back over to close and set aside.
  10. Prepare enough pastry sheets to fully wrap the salmon: 2, maybe 3.
  11. Place one piece of pastry on the baking tray and lay the salmon on top in the middle. With your finger, dab water around the edge of the pastry, then lay the other piece on top.
  12. Mould the pastry around the fish with your hands, then press the edges with a fork to seal. Score the top with a knife, then beat and brush over the whisked egg.
  13. Bake the salmon in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp.
  14. Serve with the watercress sauce.

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