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Salmon en croute is the perfect special occasion meal for those who don’t want to splash out too much, or if you just fancy a mid-week treat. Similar to beef wellington, salmon en croute is considered a luxury recipe and has been around for ages. It is always to be found on the menus of high-quality restaurants and for good reason, it is delicious. Despite how delicious it is, to make this a balanced meal you will need some side dishes of equal quality to pair nicely.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Salmon En Croute?
- 2 Side Dishes to Pair With Salmon En Croute
- 3 How to Make Salmon En Croute
- 4 FAQs on Salmon En Croute
What is Salmon En Croute?
Salmon en croute is often called salmon wellington due to its similarities with beef wellington. En croute is french and roughly translates to “baked in a pastry crust”. Salmon en croute is two salmon fillets that have been placed on top of each other with a layer of cream cheese in between, and then wrapped in puff pastry before being baked until fully cooked. The decadent pastry exterior is often famed for how golden brown it is, this is thanks to it being brushed with egg wash before being baked. The puff pastry typically has a second layer which will be decorative and can have a lattice or cross-hatch pattern.
The typical salmon en croute recipe doesn’t have anything too out of place for a beginner chef, yet the actual instructions on how to prepare it and make the iconic shape can be quite complicated, similar to a beef wellington which is famed for being difficult to perfect. This makes a salmon en croute a very good dish for beginner chefs to try and cook as it will test them, give them a challenge, and hopefully improve their cooking skills.
If you are someone that pays close attention to your nutrition, calories, and general food intake, then you will be pleased to hear that salmon is ridiculously healthy. It is so healthy that professional dieticians recommend adding it into your diet multiple times a week.
Salmon is known for how rich it is in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids provide a whole list of health benefits such as maintaining and developing brain functions, heart health, maintaining vision, healthy joins, and healthy cholesterol levels.
Alongside the omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is also rich in vitamin B. More specifically there are both vitamins B12 and vitamin B3 in salmon which add up to 50% each per 100g of salmon. Vitamin B is essential for the brain’s nervous system and maintaining its optimal function.
Salmon is of course also very rich in protein. While most meats and fish are known to have a lot of protein in them, salmon has 20g of protein per 100g of salmon. This is a good amount of protein for that quantity of food, and this recipe will certainly give you a lot of protein thanks to the salmon inside.
Potassium is also found in salmon and just 100g will contain 12% of your daily recommended potassium intake. Potassium is great for heart health and your muscles, and also helps offset some of the negative effects that sodium can have on blood pressure.
When to Serve Salmon En Croute
As mentioned, salmon en croute is a bit of a luxury dish so it would be a bit much to make one for any old occasion, although you can do that if you want. No one can stop you. It can be quite filling so salmon en croute can be a family meal or the main course in a larger dinner. Salmon en croute also takes a while to prepare, make, and cook so it is best left for a day where you know you will have time to make it. Salmon en croute is considered a luxury dish as it can be quite expensive when compared with more standard meals.
Side Dishes to Pair With Salmon En Croute
When it comes to finding the perfect side dishes, you have to think about how they help the meal as a whole when paired with the main food. Balancing a meal so that it is nutritious and gives you everything you need is always a good idea. Salmon en croute is high in protein mostly so the side dishes should make up for any nutrients that it lacks, such as fiber.
When made properly, mashed potatoes can be so creamy and smooth while still being delicious and healthy. They have a lot of fiber and carbohydrates in them which pairs well with the high protein main dish. Not only this, but the flavor of mashed potatoes is also quite different from the salmon dish so there is more diversity during the meal which can make it more satisfying and enjoyable. The sweet flavors of the puff pastry and cream cheese go very well with a more hearty dish such as mashed potatoes.
While the majority of this is the same as mashed potatoes, such as the high fiber and carbs, new potatoes can be flavored differently to make an even more interesting side dish. New potatoes are exceptional when cooked with garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs. They are bite-sized and if cooked properly, can have crispy skin on the outside with a fluffy interior. After being cooked, they can be brushed with butter as it pairs perfectly with them.
While broccoli on its own may seem a bit dull, it can be turned into something so much better. If you oven bake the broccoli with lemon juice, lemon zest, and parmesan cheese on them you will be left with a delicious, crispy snack with a citrus burst. Anyone who is familiar with cooking salmon will know that the fish pairs incredibly well with citrus flavors. With that being said, broccoli will have a flavor that goes with the main dish and will also provide some fiber and other nutrition to make the meal more well-balanced.
Nothing can pair better with salmon en croute than a nice green salad full of all your favorites. Green beans, min peas, asparagus, and chopped dill will make a nice salad to go with your meal. It can also be seasoned or you can add a dash of Worcestershire sauce to it.
How to Make Salmon En Croute
While there are more recipes out there that will have different ingredients, instructions, and notes; all salmon en croute dishes are basically the same as they all stick to salmon being wrapped in puff pastry. As for general equipment you will need;
- Saute Pan
- Baking Tray
- Mixing Bowl
- Serrated Knife
There are pretty common in any household thankfully. A serrated knife is used as once the salmon en croute has been oven-baked, it will be difficult to cut with a normal knife no matter how sharp. To cut it into servings you will definitely want to use a knife with a serrated edge.
As for ingredients, I will simply list what you need and not the quantities as this will change depending on who you are cooking for and how many people there are. The ingredients you will need are;
- Baby Spinach
- Cream Cheese
- Fresh Dill
- Fresh Parsley
- Lemon (for both lemon juice and lemon zest)
- Sea Salt
- Black pepper
The salmon en croute recipe can be broken down into different parts yet must still be completed in the set order. The different steps are going to consist of preparing and making the filling, preparing the salmon, preparing the pastry, assembly, and cooking.
Step 1. Making the Filling
This step is going to be focused on making the cream cheese filling that goes on the salmon. You are going to want to place your saute pan over medium heat and saute your diced shallots for about 5 minutes or until they have been significantly softened. Once they are softened, you can dice your peeled garlic and add that to the pan as well. After the garlic has been sauteed for a minute, add your spinach, salt, black pepper, and wait for the spinach to wilt.
Once the spinach has wilted, you can drain any excess liquids and place your mixture in a mixing bowl. This is where you now add the rest of your filling ingredients such as cream cheese, dill, parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Thoroughly mix all of these together with either your hand or a wooden spoon until they all mix around evenly. This bowl can then be covered with cling wrap, or the contents can be transferred to an airtight container, either way, the mixture now needs to go in the fridge to cool.
Step 2. Preparing the Salmon
This step does not need to be completed directly after the filling has gone in the fridge. Once the filling is in the fridge, it can stay there for as long as it needs to before you are ready to make the rest of the dish. Alas, preheat your oven to 392f and line your baking tray with baking paper or parchment paper.
This is the last step where you can examine your salmon for any bones. It is rare that they will be left in there, but double-checking can never hurt. If there are bones, remove them with tweezers. After this, get the filling mixture from the fridge and gently spread it over one of your salmon filets. The other salmon fillet should be pressed down on top of this, but make sure it is placed with the thin part on top of the lower fillet’s thick part. This will ensure there is an even thickness throughout so it cooks well. If any cream cheese filling has spilled out from the salmon, it should be wiped off and discarded.
Step 3. Preparing the Pastry and Assembly
If you want to make your own puff pastry, you can. However, this can be quite difficult and tedious at first so there is no shame in using store-bought alternatives. Roll your puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface and keep rolling until it is large enough to enclose the salmon while still being 2-3mm thick.
Place the salmon in the middle and season it with salt, as well as a few sprinkles of salt on the pastry itself. Now you will want to brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash. Egg wash is just a beaten egg, so you can easily crack it into a glass and beat it with a fork until it is fully beaten.
After your salmon is placed, fold the width side of the pastry on top of the salmon and lightly press the edges down. Brush the top edges with more egg wash and fold them over. Gently press on all edges to fully seal the pastry, and then gently flip the salmon onto your baking tray that is lined with parchment paper. You can now opt to score the pastry with a knife to add patterns to it, and once that has been done you should give it a final all-over with egg wash so that it turns the iconic golden brown.
Step 4. Cooking
As your oven should be done preheating by now, you want to bake the salmon en croute in the center of your oven for 15-20 minutes. A visual indicator of when it should be done is that the pastry will be golden brown and crips. An electric thermostat can be used, but inserting a metal skewer and seeing if it is hot is still a solid way to check if the salmon is cooked.
You can now garnish the salmon en croute with sea salt, herbs, and anything else you want. Let it rest for a few minutes and then cut it into slices with a serrated knife and serve it with whatever sides you have chosen.
FAQs on Salmon En Croute
What do you eat with en croute?
En croute is a dish that is food wrapped in pastry, so it typically does not have the most balanced nutrition. A great pairing for en croute would be a green salad or some potatoes.
How do you stop salmon en croute going soggy?
The main reason a salmon en croute will go soggy is if you have used too much egg wash and saturated the pastry. Gentle brushing is all you need and will result in a golden brown and crisp en croute.