The 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croûte (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetables en Croûte) from Good Food Online.
Salmon en Croûte was a first for me. I was happy to learn that for such an elegant-looking dish, it’s not very hard to make. Salmon en Croûte is typically made with homemade short-crust pastry (similar to puff pastry) but many home cooks use store-bought puff pastry instead.
I have made puff pastry before (for the Daring Bakers, in fact), but I chose to try something different this time and made my Salmon en Croûte with an unusual, somewhat healthier pastry dough from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook.
The recipe below makes quite a but of dough; knowing that I was going to cook this dish just for myself, I cut the ingredients in half.
from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
1 cup plain yogurt
2 sticks organic butter, softened
3 1/2 cups organic whole wheat flour or spelt flour
2 tsp. salt
Cream yogurt with butter. Blend in flour and salt. Let stand, covered, overnight, and then wrap in plastic or parchment and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Use unbleached white flour to keep it from sticking when rolling it out.
For the Salmon En Croûte:
1/2 recipe yogurt dough, above (or use homemade shortcrust pastry or puff pastry or an all-butter store-bought puff pastry)
6 oz. wild salmon
2 large handfuls baby arugula (or spinach or watercress)
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 Tb. mascarpone cheese (or organic cream cheese)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 egg, beaten with a fork- for egg wash
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Put the yogurt and mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor or blender with the arugula and blend until you have a creamy green purée. Season with salt and pepper.
Roll the dough out so you can wrap the salmon in it completely (approx. 2-3 mm thick). Put the salmon in the middle. Spoon some of the sauce onto the salmon.
Fold the pastry over into a neat parcel (the seam 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, but make sure it is sealed or it may open up when cooking.
Make 3 neat cuts in the pastry to allow steam to escape and make some decorations with the leftover pastry to disguise the seam if you like.
Brush with the egg glaze.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. To test whether 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 more of the arugula puree as a sauce.