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Salmon En Croute

The nice thing about this recipe is that it comes out looking totally spectacular for remarkably little work. Use ready-made bought puff pastry which you can get almost everywhere now. This is an impressive dish for dinner parties or buffets. Ask your fishmonger to fillet and skin the fish for you and give you the bones and trimmings for the sauce. Of course you don't have to make two sauces, that's just being flashy!

Image of Salmon En Croute

350 g/12 oz white fish (haddock, whiting or cod)
150 g/6 oz fresh white breadcrumbs
Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
1.25 kg/2 lb salmon, filleted and skinned
450 g/1 lb puff pastry
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 whole egg
4 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Beaten egg, to glaze

For the cucumber sauce:

large cucumber
100 g/4 oz fromage frais

For the lemon cream sauce:

Fish trimmings
Juice of half a lemon
4 peppercorns
4 tbsp double cream


Serves: 7


Pre-heat the oven to 400°F/200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6.

Put the white fish, breadcrumbs, lemon juice and rind, herbs, egg and oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Season well.

Roll out the pastry into a long oval shape 15 cm/6 in longer than the salmon fillets and about two and a half times as wide.

Season the salmon and place one fillet in the middle of the pastry, spread with the white fish paste and sandwich with the other salmon fillet. Cut diagonal lines along each side of the puff pastry about 1 cm/ ½ in apart, leaving 7.5 cm/3 in at each end uncut. Criss-cross the cut strips over each other as if plaiting them over the fish, secure strips with beaten egg. Fold the top flap of pastry into a triangle to make the shape of a fish head and cut a wedge from the bottom flap to make the shape of a tail. Carefully lift the fish on to a greased baking sheet.

Brush the pastry with beaten egg and bake for 35-40 minutes. To see if the fish is cooked, insert a skewer between the plaits; it should come out clean.

Serve salmon plain or with either of the following sauces.

Cucumber Sauce: Grate the cucumber and sprinkle with salt; leave for 15 minutes to allow the excess water to drain. Rinse and pat dry with kitchen paper. Stir the cucumber into the fro­mage frais and season. Lemon

Cream Sauce: Boil the fish trimmings in a little water along with the lemon juice, bay leaf and peppercorns for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid into a clean pan and boil rapidly until the liquid has reduced to 125 ml/ ¼ pint. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt.

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