Thursday, October 21, 2010

Salmon Wellington

This Thursday's recipe comes from one of my most favorite cookbooks, the Bon Appetit Fast, Easy, Fresh cookbook by Barbara Fairchild.

Having never tried a professionally-made Salmon Wellington before, I'm going to try to leave this unbiased and encourage you to try this recipe too and see how yours turns out. Except I'm not very good about being unbiased.


Because mine...sadly, not very tasty.


The recipe was great - easy to execute, there was just something about the flavors that didn't float our boats. And I should also have a disclaimer that I tend to have bad experiences with salmon. Tarragon also vaguely reminds me of licorice, which would be strike two, since we don't like licorice. I don't think that it had anything to do with the quality of the recipe, and I still am in LOVE with this cookbook.


So! That being said, I actually would genuinely like you to make this recipe and let me know if you like it - or even let me know if you've ever had Salmon Wellington before.


Here's how everything worked out.


Ingredients:
1 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
4 6-ounce salmon fillets (each about 3/4" thick)
6 tbsp minced shallots, divided
4 tbsp plus 2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)


1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter, diced


Directions:
Prep your vegetables!
Scallions are pretty aren't they?
I'm a cheater and I used my chopper
instead of mincing.

Chopped and ready to go!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out each pastry sheet on lightly floured surface to 12-inch square. Cut each in half, forming four 12x6 rectangles.
These each unfold to be a 12"x12" square.
Place 1 salmon fillet in center of each rectangle, about 3 inches in from and parallel to 1 short edge.
I had purchased frozen salmon, which explains why mine
isn't that pretty.



Sprinkle each fillet with salt, pepper, 1 tbsp shallots, and 1 tbsp tarragon.
A picture of the chef, courtesy of the husband.
Glamorous, eh? We have to have evidence
that I was actually doing this, I suppose.
Brush edges of rectangles with some of egg glaze.
Brushie Brushie.
Fold long sides of pastry over fillets. Fold short edge of pastry over fillets and roll up pastry, enclosing fillets. Seal edges of pastry. Place pastries, seam side down, on baking sheet. Brush with egg glaze.
This part was actually a lot easier than I thought
it would be.
This was my interpretation of what they were supposed to look like.
Anyone know?
Bake pastries until crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.
More evidence that I put nonstick foil under
EVERYTHING. Because I hate to scrub pans.
Meanwhile, boil wine, vinegar, and remaining 2 tbsp shallots in heavy small saucepan until mixture is reduced to 6 tbsp, about 8 minutes.
Pre-boiling.
Post-boiling, and reduced.
Remove pan from heat. Add butter 1 piece at a time, whisking until melted before adding next piece. Whisk in remaining 2 tsp tarragon. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Did you catch on that this sauce is almost PURE BUTTER?? Woah.
So much for my pledge for healthy recipes.
Cut pastries into thirds. Place pastries on plates; spoon sauce alongside.
Final product!
Tricks of the Trade:
  • You might want to consider making your own puff pastry, as this was almost $5 for the box. Definitely not cost-effective, but does make it a lot easier and looks impressive.
  • Frozen Puff pastry has to thaw for 45 minutes. Factor this into your cooking time.
  • My frozen salmon had skin on it, and being too lazy to research (bad planning on my part), I took forever and tried to peel the skin off RAW SALMON. Yeah, um, don't do this. Ever.
  • I tend to put way more "flavorings" into recipes than they call for - garlic, onions, etc. In hindsight, I would have only put on the 1 tbsp shallots and 1 tbsp tarragon like the recipe called for. I'm thinking this may have been why the flavor was overwhelming to us.
  • The sauce comes out VERY vinegar-y tasting. Personally, I'd put more wine and less wine vinegar, but who knows. Maybe this is how it's supposed to taste?
  • I wound up moving the pot back onto the warm burner but not turning the heat back on to help my butter melt faster.
  • You can see in the picture that my salmon looked grainy when it was cut. If I was a master chef, I probably would have known how to roll it up the salmon so that when I cut it, it would be with the grain or some such thing. It was still well-cooked though, not dry like it looks.
So, final verdict? This is a VERY flavorful dish with quite a vinegary bite to it, and you need to make sure you're a fan of tarragon, shallots, and vinegar before you make it. I could barely taste the salmon at all - it was hidden behind all the other flavors. It looked very impressive, and I'm already brainstorming ways that I could modify this recipe to use that DELICIOUS puff pastry again. (Let's just say that I wound up eating most of the pastry off the dish and scraping off the shallots.) I probably won't be making it again, but I still think it's worth exploring, and is very easy for your first time doing something with puff pastry.

And don't forget to comment and let me know about your experiences with Salmon Wellington! :)

1 comment:

  1. Um, it LOOKS really yummy! lol

    Kristen@TheFrugalGirl

    ReplyDelete