Salmon & croûte with spinach and almonds

*Serves 6 
*20 mins to prepare and 30-35 mins to cook

  • 1 side of salmon, approx 1kg (2lb)
  • 500g (1lb) spinach
  • 20g (3/4oz) butter, cubed
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 50g (2oz) blanched almonds, chopped
  • flour, for dusting
  • 500g (1lb) puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

  • Method:

    • Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Use a sharp knife to remove the skin from the salmon and remove any bones. Cut in half lengthways. Set aside.
    • Place the spinach, butter and nutmeg, with seasoning, in a large pan or wok. Cover with a lid and put over a low-medium heat. Allow to wilt a little, stir well and continue cooking – stirring occasionally – until the spinach is fully wilted (about 5 minutes). Sieve to remove the liquid. Allow to cool a little, then place the spinach between sheets of kitchen paper and squeeze out any excess liquid.
    • Roughly chop the cooked spinach. Place in a bowl with the crème fraîche and lemon juice. Add seasoning to taste and set aside.
    • Heat a frying pan over a medium flame. Lightly toast the almonds for 3-5 minutes until golden, stirring frequently. Roughly chop.
    • Lightly dust a surface with flour. Roll the pastry out to 30cm x 50cm (12in x 20in). Cut a 5cm (2in) strip off the short end for the decoration, then cut the large rectangle into two across the length. Gently roll out one half so it’s large enough to cover the salmon fillet (this will be your top piece).
    • Place the smaller piece of pastry on a nonstick baking sheet. Put one half of the salmon on top. Cover with a layer of spinach, then the chopped almonds. Add the second piece of salmon, placing its thicker end above the first half’s thinner end.
    • Brush the edges of pastry around the salmon with beaten egg. Lay the second piece of pastry on top, pressing round the edges to seal. Neaten the edges by cutting through the very edge of the pastry with a long, sharp knife, then crimp with two fingers. Brush with beaten egg.
    • Roll out the remaining strip of pastry. Cut out holly leaves or stars to decorate the top of the pastry. Brush these with beaten egg too. Cool in the fridge for 20 minutes before baking.
    • Place the tray in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden. Slice along the width to serve.

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