Saumon en croût
Updated: Jul 19, 2019
In my novel, An Argentine in my Kitchen, Catherine describes how Pedro found a recipe for salmon in pastry boats, and modified it. In the novel - written in the form of a travel memoir - each chapter ends with one of Pedro's recipes. But this recipe was only mentioned in passing, in Chapter 2: Peeling the Onion. Here is the modified recipe, in full.
400g salmon fillet
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic
2-3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil of good quality
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 red capsicum (red bell pepper), cut into thin strips, and then into thirds
4 Bocconcini or a similar amount of mozzarella
Salt and pepper
Make the pesto: Process all the ingredients listed under 'Pesto' above in a food processor. You can chop the walnuts and garlic first to minimise food processing time.
Sauté the capsicum in a small pan with olive oil and some salt and pepper until the capsicum goes soft and shiny. Don't let it colour the oil, or overcook.
Prepare the fish:
Remove the skin from the fish and remove the bones. Remove the brown area of the flesh along the midline of the fillet. Cut a 200g slice per person.
Place grease-proof paper on your baking tray so that the pastry does not break when you remove it later.
Cut a sheet of puff pastry in rectangles that will leave a 4 cm border around each piece of fish.
Place the fish on the pastry, skin side down, and cut two or three slits diagonally on the top of the fish, where it is thickest.
Pinch the pastry at the four corners, so that there is a wall 4cm high around the fish. This leaves the top of the fish exposed.
Add the topping:
Squeeze a small amount of lemon juice on the fish.
Spread pesto over the fish - 1 tbsp per serving. If any is left over, you can store it in a jar in the fridge for up to one week.
Place the capsicum on top.
Break up two bocconcini rounds per piece of salmon, or the equivalent in mozzarella, and place it on top of the capsicum.
Place 2-3 leaves of fresh basil on top. Leave the rest of the basil for serving.
Drizzle olive oil, and add salt and pepper.
Place in a pre-heated 180 °C oven on the middle tray for about 15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the salmon). The pastry will puff up a little and go slightly brown.
At this stage, if you have an oven with a grill, turn it on and at the same time, turn off the bottom element. The cheese will melt and some of the capsicum will turn brown.
Add fresh basil leaves or garnish, and serve with potatoes sautéed with mushrooms, and a green salad.
Instead of capsicum, you can use thin strips of semi-dried tomatoes. Or, easier still, and with a different flavour again, a couple of slices of fresh tomato. Both will add moisture.
If you are short of time, use bought pesto.
I hope you enjoy this delicious dish.
Find out more about my novel by clicking on this link: An Argentine in my Kitchen.
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