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Salmon in Puff Pastry (En Croute)

Serves 4

The first time I had salmon en croute, sometimes called salmon wellington, was at a local restaurant. I immediately fell in love with it. So I had to try to make it myself. Not being a puff pastry expert, I messed up the first time because the dough was too thick and did not bake thoroughly. The salmon was still good, so it was not a total waste. The next time I was determined to get it right. Wow. It is so good and makes an elegant, relatively easy main dish for a special occasion. The salmon can be served as is, but the creamy dill sauce is a perfect accompaniment.


   Spinach-Mushroom Filling    Salmon

For the spinach-mushroom filling, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and oil. Sauté the onions until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, spinach, salt and pepper. Sauté until mushrooms are cooked through, about 5 minutes. There should be no moisture but, if there is, make certain it evaporates. Cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Season the salmon fillets on both sides with the salt, pepper and dill. Sprinkle the flesh side with some of the lemon juice. Set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out to a 14-inch square, or about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 4 equal squares. Place a piece of salmon, skinned-side down, on one half on each pastry. Top each fillet with about 1/4 cup of the spinach mixture. (You might have extra filling.) Brush the edges of the pastry with some of the egg wash. Bring the other half of the pastry square up and over the filling and match the edges with the bottom, stretching slightly if needed. Fold to completely seal the edges. Place the pastries on an ungreased baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut two slits in the top of each pastry. Brush the tops with the remaining egg wash. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, if using, make the sauce according to the recipe. Remove the pastries from the oven and let rest about 5 minutes. To serve, spoon some of the sauce on each plate, then top with the salmon. Any remaining spinach and mushroom mixture can be heated and served on the side.