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Salmon en Croûte - Serves 4-6

Salmon en Croûte

When making the sauce, it is important to use equal quantities of butter and flour. Also, always warm the milk first. Cooking the spinach quickly retains its colour, vitamins and nutrients.

Jean-Christophe Novelli A tip from
Jean-Christophe

Try to get wild salmon, even though this is a little more expensive, or use a good-quality Scottish farmed salmon. Pernod gives it a hint of aniseed flavour.

Method

1. Season the prawns and salmon well. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

2. Heat a heavy-based frying pan with 1 tablespoon oil. Quickly fry the salmon on both sides, together with half the thyme and basil, until pale golden brown, roughly 2 minutes. Do not overcook it.

3. Sprinkle over the pastis or Pernod (if using). With the lemon under the palm of your hand, roll it hard over the work surface to release the juices. Cut it in half and squeeze both halves over the fish. Lift out the salmon carefully and lay on a plate. Set aside.

4. In the same pan, fry the prawns until pink and set aside. Again, do not overcook them.

5. Rub the garlic around the pan used for cooking the salmon and prawns.Add the spinach and a splash of cold water. Cover with a lid and cook for 5–10 seconds or until wilted. Remove the spinach and carefully squeeze dry. Set aside.

6. Again using the same pan, make the sauce by melting the butter. Tip in the flour and stir well for 1–2 minutes to ensure that the flour is cooked. Add the milk gradually, stirring constantly. When fully amalgamated, stir in the cheese and remove immediately from the heat to allow it to melt. Season to taste.

7. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Make the egg wash by beating together the egg yolks with the water and salt.

8. Roll out the pastry to form a rectangle about 30cm long and 15cm wide. Place one pancake in the centre of the pastry and top with the whole cooked salmon. Spoon over half of the cheese sauce, top with the prawns, then the spinach. Carefully lay the eggs on top, yolk side down, then cover with the remaining cheese sauce, followed by the Cheddar cheese.

9. Carefully spoon the capers over the top. Finally add the remaining herbs and the last pancake. Press down firmly to compress all the layers.

10. Bring up the two long sides of pastry, brush the edges with egg wash and crimp together well. Fold the two ends of pastry up over the middle seam and seal well. Lay carefully on the prepared baking tray with the seam on the underside. Brush well with egg wash. Snip the edges with a pair of scissors to create a pattern, making sure not to pierce the pastry.

11. Bake in the preheated oven for 30–45 minutes or until well risen and golden brown.

12. Serve hot with new season boiled potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Ingredients

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 300g raw king prawns, peeled and thawed if frozen
  • 600g salmon fillet, skinned and boned
  • 3–4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3–4 whole sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3–4 leaves fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons pastis or Pernod (optional)
  • 1 lemon (see method)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 300g baby leaf spinach,washed and well drained
  • 300g all-butter ready-made puff pastry
  • 2 x 20cm cooked pancakes
  • 3 medium eggs, hard-boiled, shelled and
  • halved lengthways
  • 25g Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  • 2–3 tablespoons capers,well drained

Mornay sauce

  • 20g butter, diced
  • 20g plain flour
  • 200–250ml milk,warmed
  • 100g Brie (or similar cheese), broken into pieces

Egg wash

  • 1–2 medium egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon cold water
  • pinch salt

Preparation time: 20-25 minutes

Cooking time: 30-40 minutes