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Rach gives salmon the VIP treatment by baking it "en croute" (in a pastry crust), a method that's delicious and deceptively easy—basically the seafood version of her Beef Wellington. "This is a beautiful holiday meal, or date night meal or just a special supper," she says.
"I serve this with roasted broccolini, or I make a simple sautéed vegetable medley: blanched green beans sliced on bias with bias-cut celery and baby carrots, occasionally I add sliced baby turnips too. I use leek or shallots and sauté all in butter, then add broth to gently braise the medley. Sometimes I add tarragon or dill to serve." – Rach
Shopping tip: Rach likes DuFour's puff pastry.
- 1 pound spinach, stemmed, or one 16-ounce package frozen spinach, defrosted
- Salt and white pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- A splash of white wine
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ cup crème fraiche or 4 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ¼ cup toasted breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon softened butter
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 sheets puff pastry (Rach likes Dufour), defrosted in fridge 2 hours before rolling
- Flour, for puff pastry
- Four 6-ounce skinless salmon filets
- Salt and pepper
- 1 egg
Preheat oven 425˚F with rack at the center.
For fresh spinach, wash and stem the spinach, then bring a pot of water to a boil and place an ice water bath in large bowl on counter and a strainer in sink. Salt the boiling water, cook spinach 1 to 2 minutes, then strain, add to ice bath to shock, drain and wring out excess liquid in clean towel, then chop. For defrosted frozen spinach, wring out all excess liquid and finely chop, then loosen up with fingers.
Heat a skillet over medium heat with EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, add shallots and garlic, season with salt and white pepper. Add wine, let it absorb. Add spinach, nutmeg, lemon juice, crème fraiche or cream cheese, Parm and breadcrumbs, then remove from heat to cool.
For the salmon and pastry, combine butter, mustard, thyme, and dill. Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface just a bit to smooth seams, then cut each sheet in half across to form rectangles. Place 2 rectangles each on a parchment-lined baking sheet sprinkled with a little flour. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Place a piece of salmon on each piece of pastry and top with ¼ of the Dijon and herb mix, then turn over. Top each bottom side of salmon with a layer of ¼ of the spinach and gently set in place with your hands. Make an egg wash with 2 teaspoons water and a fork-beaten egg. Brush egg wash onto the puff pastry, then fold in long sides to overlap in the middle, stretching the puff pastry gently if needed, to form a seam. Press the ends to seal, then trim ends a bit and fold in to seal the packet, then turn and score the top in a crosshatch using a paring knife to vent and to add to the plate presentation. Brush completed packets with egg wash and bake 20 to 25 minutes.