December 12, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 3:42 pm

The height of kitchen silliness…

Pastry Fish

 pastry fishy! \o/

 It’s supposed to be salmon en croute but I think it looks more like a blow-fish.

I first spotted the idea for this recipe on the BBC food site and, after Googling, I found lots of variations. In short, skinless salmon fillets are combined with a mix of stem ginger, currants and spices infused with red wine then wrapped up in pastry. As you can see I got a bit carried away with the decoration. 

My recipe was an amalgamation of all the ones I found with a few subtle changes. I took about 2 cubic inches of stem ginger and minced it finely. Then I simmered it in a little port with about 15 currants, a couple of cloves and some ground cinnamon for five minutes before turning the heat off and leaving it to infuse for an hour.

While I was waiting, I dusted my salmon fillets with allspice, ground cinnamon and nutmeg and made some crisped new potatoes and red cabbage.  When the currants and ginger had been sitting for long enough, I strained off the port and drank most of it, keeping just a little to drizzle over my salmon fillets.

To make the pastry fish I first made a sandwich out of my two salmon fillets and the currant-ginger mixture and drizzled over the remaining port. I encased this in two bits of fish-shaped puff pastry then made an eye, some fins and a tail out of the trimmings. Finally I used a knife to make scales and other details, glazed the whole thing with egg and then baked it at 220 C  for about 15 minutes.  

My favourite bit of this dish was the ginger butter sauce. I adapted this from HFW’s recipe here. It was almost identical, except I was lazy and just threw the beaten yolk and butter mixture together rather than drizzling the butter in slowly. I guess I’m lucky it didn’t curdle!  Also, I didn’t think it needed any lemon. Guess it must just be personal preference. :)

  salmon en croute meal

I think this was my biggest cooking success since this term started. I’d never used stem ginger before but I think it’ll become a storecupboard staple. I had no idea it went so incredibly well with salmon. The ginger butter sauce was amazing too. It was made nice and rich by the egg yolk- butter combination and the stem ginger gave it the most fabulous flavour. Shame the cabbage turned out to be quite so disturbingly blue. I guess I should have given it some vinegar as well as just the juniper flavouring. :/


  1. ahahahhaha!! That cabbage looks WAY cool… shame things dont turn out so technicolor when you want them to! ;-)

    Thats unlike any salmone en croute I’ve ever had- and I’ve only ever had it in the UK! Go figure! It is one of Dave’s favorites, except I’ve only seen them in a creamy sauce inside the pastry… LOVE the idea of making the pastry shell into the likeness of a fish! so cute! ;-)

    Comment by Lea — December 12, 2006 @ 5:03 pm

  2. I love salmon en croute! Yours looks really good too.
    It is a hard dish to get right, but the salmon looks perfectly cooked.

    Comment by Franka — December 12, 2006 @ 6:11 pm

  3. Oh what a lovely pastry fishy! That looks so good.

    Comment by Julia — December 12, 2006 @ 6:41 pm

  4. Beautiful pictures for an excellent meal!

    Comment by Garrett — December 12, 2006 @ 7:01 pm

  5. That’s a cute little goldfish you’ve got there…;)

    Comment by Brilynn — December 13, 2006 @ 3:28 pm

  6. Lea -I did I quick scout around for salmon en croute recipes just now and it looks like people put pretty much anything into them! The most common one I found has a creamy dill type sauce but there are pepper and basil ones and lots of others. I wasn’t particularly thinking of doing anything pastry related before making this but I loved the idea of the salmon and mulled wine type combination - it seemed really ‘Christmassy’ and the pastry casing just made it seem a bit more special.

    Franka & Julia- Thanks! I probably would have liked the fish slightly more rare, but I always say that don’t I?

    Garrett - Thanks for the compliment. I’m having a hard time with my camera now - the damn thing has a scratch in the top left corner of the lens. :( Ah, well, I know what to put on my Christmas list!

    Brilynn - After reading about your feelings about cute little things, i’m not sure how to take that. ;) Rest assured though, there was nothing little about this fish. It was holding about 4 salmon steaks as well as the currants and things. Actually, it does look a bit like a goldfish doesn’t it?

    Comment by ros — December 13, 2006 @ 4:09 pm

  7. The famous signature dish from the Hole in the Wall, Bath, England….
    thought not with puff pastry please, it is a classic simple dish, use wild salmon. To be honest yours looks like a dreadful accident.

    Comment by Andrew Collins — December 24, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

  8. Unfortunately, I’ve not heard of the “Hole in the Wall” in Bath… Maybe it isn’t that famous? The reviews online say it’s mediocre and pretentious so maybe this reflects on the previous commenter?

    Coming home from work to see a pastry fishy like that on the table is fun and it made me laugh. That was the whole point. It wasn’t made to impress a bunch of picky food snobs.  

    Just because you don’t like puff pastry doen’t mean we won’t! It  worked really well; and although it wasn’t wild salmon.. it still tasted great. How is a student supposed to afford wild salmon anyway?

    I vote for Ros’ cooking over the Hole in the Wall any day… the food is really good… not mediocre or pretentios at all.

    - Goon

    Comment by Andy — December 25, 2006 @ 1:35 am

  9. To be honest, it looks like Mr Collins has missed the point of this food blog, if indeed he is familiar with what a food blog is. I would hope that he is under the impression that this was cooked for a large party, or is in some other way ‘professional’ - in which case he would have had a point. I would, of course, pay more careful attention to presentation if I was cooking in a situation like that and not just for myself and Goon.

    However if he is arrogant enough to come to someone’s site and make such a ridiculous and insulting statement about their home cooking, I don’t think any excuses can be made for him.

    Comment by ros — December 26, 2006 @ 9:20 pm

  10. Have been looking for a salmon en croute recipe as didn’t want to do one with prawns or cheese. Found one with ginger, raisins, herbs and asparagus!!! So when I saw this one, it confirmed the idea. so thanks.

    Comment by Liz — April 27, 2009 @ 7:34 pm

  11. looks good mate, might have to make on myself :p :)

    Comment by Paddy — April 20, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

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