A Delicious (and easy!) Work Night Meal

And as some meals are completely disastrous, other meals just work in perfect symbiosis, without the cook even really trying.
When I left for work yesterday morning, I had not the foggiest notion of what to prepare for that evening’s supper. I knew that I had minced beef, frozen peas, bags of mystery produce and some fish, all crammed into my once-seemed-large-but-now-seems-tiny freezer.
Well, we haven’t had salmon in a while, I thought and I knew that I had some lovely red Wild Alaskan Salmon tucked away somewhere, underneath some frozen blackberries. Now, what to do with it?So, I got to work and started scrolling through pages of salmon recipes until I came across one that caught my eye (and tastebuds): Salmon En Croute! Of course! I love salmon, I love pastry! Perfetto!
The recipe used Filo Pastry, of which I had half a packet left over from the Chickpea Filo Pie that I made ages ago. The recipe also made a pea puree and a herby butter which you slathered the salmon with before encasing it in pastry.
Now, I didn’t have half the ingredients for all the additional fripperies (i.e. the posh peas and the fancy butter) so I utilised my previous knowledge of cooking similar things and came up with slightly-posher-than-nornal-but-not-that-posh mushy peas and shallot butter (which you will remember I smeared on toast topped with herring roe).
I served this with some Courgette Fritters which sound complicated but were so easy. I had a pack of 10 day old Courgettes going sad rapidly in the fridge so this was perfect. Courgettes can get a bitter taste when they become a bit old but grated with some red onion and prinked with a teaspoon of dried mint they become so much more than just bulk for Ratatouille.
The fritters were probably not the best accompaniment to the salmon, probably a salad or, in my case, some potatoes in any variant, would be preferable but those Courgettes were not getting any younger.
Anyway, the outcome of the dish was this: my husband raved about it, I raved about it, the dogs raved about the skin from the salmon that they got – everyone happy.

2 Salmon Fillets (I used Wild Alaskan but whatever you can get is fine). Remove the skin. Give to your dogs if you’re feeling kind.
About 16 Sheets Filo Pastry (that’s about half a pack, you can freeze the rest if you wrap it up well).
30g Butter, melted, for brushing the Filo Pastry with
For the Shallot Butter:
30g Butter, unsalted
2 Shallots, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper
Click Here for the Mushy Peas Recipe
Preheat Oven to 200c
Make the mushy peas as per the recipe.
To make the Shallot Butter, simply squidge together the butter with the shallots and season well.
On the baking tray that you intend to bake the fish parcels on, carefully lay two sheets of the parchment-like Filo. Brush it with the melted butter, lay another two sheets, brush with butter, and so on until you have used eight sheets up.
Put a smear of the mushy peas, roughly the size of the salmon, in the middle of your pastry layers. Lay one of the salmon fillets on top of the pea-green sauce, then smear half of the butter on top of the fish.
Bring up one side of the pastry over the salmon, brush with butter, then repeat with the opposite side, and finally the shorter sides. Your salmon should now be completely encased. Brush once more with butter and turn the parcel over so that the seams are facing downwards. Brush the top with butter.
Repeat with the second salmon fillet.
Bake in the over for 10-12 minutes, or until the filo has started to go golden and crisp. Any longer than this and you run the risk of the fish drying out.
When you cut the fish open, the delicately flavoured butter will ooze out onto your plate. Delicious!
This would also make a really simple dinner party dish because they can be made in advance (providing you keep them wrapped up and refrigerated otherwise the pastry will dry out) because they look quite flash really.

COURGETTE FRITTERS Makes about 16 fritters
3 Courgettes grated. Squeeze out any excess liquid.
1 Medium Red Onion grated
1 Teaspoon Dried Mint
1 Egg
Salt and Pepper
75g Breadcrumbs (I used wholemeal bread but that’s all I had, white will be fine)
Some Flour for dredging
Mix together the onion and the courgette and the teaspoon of mint. The smell of Greek cooking really hits you at this point. Not that I have ever eaten in Greece but sometimes a smell can be evocative of the pictures you form in your head, whether misinformed or not.
Now, stir in the breadcrumbs and egg, combining thoroughly. Season well. Courgettes are quite bland and love being salted (not assaulted).
On a plate, pour out some flour.
Flour your hands and start to form the Fritters, about the size of walnuts. I had some that were much bigger than walnuts but all this achieves is harassment when flipping them in the pan. Now coat them in the flour. I found it easier to do about 6 at a time on the plate.
Heat 100ml Vegetable Oil in a deep frying pan (not a saucepan).
When it starts to look hazy, the oil is ready to work its magic on the pale green raw fritters.
Drop them carefully into the hot oil and fry on each side – about 2 minutes – until light brown and crisp.
Drain on kitchen paper and serve! These would be great with a Tsatsiki ype sauce or, as my husband, the eternal American suggests, Ranch Dressing.
Perfect for late night movie watching snacking!


Kathryn said...

Freya - I've never made salmon en croute (always been scared of it) but that looks insanely good. Yummmmmmm... I also love courgette fritters (and have never had Ranch dressing, Paul! but I love tzatziki).

I am definitely wanting a Kitchenaid by the way...
I want to make some of Paul's bread.

Kathryn x

Francesca said...

Also I prepared a salad cake witn salmon, ideal for christmas brunch

FreyaE said...

Hi Kathryn,
Blogger is playing up again. I just did a long response and it ate it up! So, the fish is very easy to make so you should give it a whirl. You could change the butter around, add some herbs, capers, omit the mushy peas if you want (but why would you want to?).
Yes, you must drop some titanic size hints for the Kitchenaid!! The lure of fresh bread is usually impossible to resist!

Francesca, that sounds delicious. I was planning on making salmon for our Christmas Eve meal but I'm not sure in what form yet! Fish always seems suitable for Christmas!

Freya x