J’Nee and I got together the other day with the intention of talking about personal branding and the crisis rocking the British Parliament. But as these things go, it quickly evolved into cooking, drinking a great Rose wine and a lunch time adventure that involved puff pastry and salmon. It was a day with an excellent and delicious outcome.
I had brought over a couple of salmon fillets as a hedge against eventual hunger, thinking that teriyaki would be a great lunch. But as we began to discuss and remember salmon from dishes past, the memories and the flood of options they raised were dizzying: baked in cream, pan sauteed with fresh asparagus, poached in vegetable broth, wrapped in puff pastry . . . well teriyaki seemed tired.
Our discussion turned to flavors and the plan began to take on new dimensions as we mulled over mirepoix and using the classic French herb Tarragon, but this seemed like too much effort. Vidalia Onions from Georgia and 1015’s from Texas are now available. Should they be caramelized? No! But sweet onions sauteed with olive oil and baby spinach? Yes! Along with that we could, on our mind’s palette, taste fresh dill along with lemon zest and juice for a touch of acidic brightness. All wrapped in puff pastry, served with a dollop of pleasantly spicy Adobo Sour Cream and fresh asparagus sauteed in olive oil with a touch of sea salt and a spritz of lemon juice. Heaven.
Lemon, Salmon & Spinach in Puff Pastry with Adobo Sour Cream, serves 6
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Medium Onion, quartered and thinly sliced
8 oz Fresh Baby Spinach
1/3 Cup Fresh Dill, Chopped
Zest of one large Lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
12 oz Salmon Fillets, skinned, and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
2 Sheets Frozen Puff Pastry — Thawed
1 Large Egg, Beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Roll out the thawed puff pastry on separate sheets of parchment paper — you want to be able to cut a 12″ circle from one sheet for the bottom and an 11″ circle for the top from the second. Reserve trimmed pastry pieces. Keep rounds and trims of puff pastry in the fridge until needed.
2. In a large frying pan, saute onion in butter until translucent over medium heat.
3. Add baby spinach a handful at a time, gently stirring until it is cooked down.
4. Reduce heat to Medium Low, add the chopped fresh dill, lemon zest and lemon juice to the pan along with the Salmon fillet, stir occasionally and cook about 5 minutes. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Remove rounds of puff pastry from the fridge; place the 12″ round on a baking sheet — removing the parchment paper from the round.
6. Place the Salmon-spinach mix on the pastry round — leave any additional accumulated liquid in the pan; a filling that is too damp will cause the bottom crust to be soggy. Spread the mix to within 1 1/2″ of the edge of the round.
7. Brush the edge of the bottom round with egg wash, and place the smaller 11″ puff pastry round over the mix and gently fold the edge down to come in contact with the bottom round. Firmly crimp the two edges together, to form a nice tight seal.
8. With a sharp knife, cut a vent or two in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Use the puff pastry trim: cut decorative designs from these scraps, affixing them to the top using the egg wash. You can brush the entire puff pastry with egg wash for shiny finish. With the dish prepared, you can refrigerate it for an hour or until you’re ready to bake it. Lightly cover it with plastic wrap until ready to proceed.
9. Bake at 400 degrees, until pleasantly browned: begin checking at 20 minutes for doneness, but baking may take about 25 – 30 minutes depending on your oven.
9. Let Rest for five minutes, cut into slices and serve with dollop of Adobo Sour Cream, recipe follows.
Adobo Sour Cream
To one cup of Sour Cream add 1 Tablespoon of Adobo sauce.
You’ll find canned chipotle chiles packed in Adobo in the Spanish section of your grocery store; reserve the chiles for another use, they can be successfully frozen for longer term storage.