Smoked Salmon en Croute

The Somerset smoking adventures continue…

Paid another flying visit to my friends in Somerset last weekend and was rewarded with a side of maple-smoked cold salmon.  I love the care packages I get to come home with…. they also sent me back with smoked cheese and butter… so I’m also working on a smoked cheese scones recipe.

They’ve upgraded the kit – the smoking bin now features a hot plate in place of the charcoal we were using. This allows for a more controlled temperature to smoulder the wood shavings.  It also means that we can start trialling hot-smoking!

After about two hours we were too hungry to wait any more so we pulled out the two sides of salmon we were hot-smoking and fried them instead.  Served with an “everything but the kitchen sink” salad and a potato salad, they were yummy.

We left the two sides of salmon that we were cold-smoking in the smoker all night, and pulled them out early the next morning.  The texture was right, but the flavour just wasn’t strong enough.  We suspect that the problem was that they’d only been brined for 3 hours… clearly we need to brine for longer.

Once home, I pondered recipes for a side of slightly smoked salmon.  Hannah, the awesome housemate, commented that her mum would do something with pastry and the idea for salmon en croute took root.

Cooking the salmon seemed to activate the smoked flavour – it came through much more strongly than when the fish was raw.  But the taste of salmon still came through, and it was perfectly cooked.  It took three of us three days to finish the meal, but it was worth it.  As good as it was when it was first pulled out of the oven, it was even better cold the next day!


Smoked Salmon en Croute
Makes: 6 portions  Takes: 1 hour

Ingredients:
1 side of maple-smoked salmon
1 tbsp. cooking oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
4 large florets of broccoli
salt & pepper to taste
200ml tablespoon crème fraiche
375g puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
85g watercress

Place the onion and celery in a medium sized saucepan or frying pan and place over a medium heat.  Pour over the tablespoon of cooking oil.  Sauté lightly until the onion turns translucent.

Snip the tips of the broccoli curd off and into the pan, leaving the majority of the stems to be discarded.  Fry for 2-3 minutes, or until the broccoli is just cooked.  Add the salt and pepper to the pan, followed by a tablespoon of crème fraiche.

Stir the crème fraiche through until it has fully mingled with the vegetables.  Remove from the heat and allow the filling to fully cool.

Preheat your oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.  Roll out your pastry to a rough rectangle shape.  Score a deep line down the length of the salmon in the middle, then flip the salmon over so that it closes like a book.

Place the salmon just off to the centre of your rolled out pastry so that when it is closed it will be exactly in the middle.  Spoon the chilled filling along the length of the salmon on one of the sides, and then close the salmon over it.

Wrap the pastry around the salmon, crimping the ends and tucking the edges underneath.  Brush with the beaten egg to glaze.  Cover a large baking tray with greaseproof paper, and place the wrapped salmon on top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden.  If the pastry starts to turn too brown, cover with tin foil.

Meanwhile, make a watercress sauce by blitzing the remaining crème fraiche in a food processor with the water cress.  Pour into a bowl and chill until the salmon is ready.

Serve the salmon hot, with steamed broccoli, garlic mushrooms and the watercress sauce.  Keep going back for leftovers until it’s all gone.

An Introduction

Hi!  I’m Kizzy.

When I was 12, after I managed to reduce an innocent casserole to a charcoal briquette, my home economics teacher told me in front of the whole class that I’d never be a good cook.  When I got home, I cried.  While comforting me, my mum suggested that I prove her wrong.  Inspired, I returned to the classroom and promptly churned out a truly disgusting Christmas cake.

It was the start of a lifelong journey to improve my cooking abilities.  Over the years I’ve had some spectacular successes, and countless more inedible atrocities.  Despite every setback my love of good food has stayed with me, pushing me to go further, learn more, and experiment with unfamiliar techniques and ingredients.

That same love affair with food led me to relocate over a hundred miles to Devon, seduced by the lure of fresh, high quality ingredients and some truly sublime restaurants and producers.  This blog aims to chart my progress as a cook.  My failures and my triumphs, experimental recipes, new techniques, reviews of suppliers, books and festivals.  I hope you enjoy it.

Bon appetit!