Wednesday 6AM – Flight back home from yet another business trip. Thursday 6AM – Waking up in my own bed….a very beautiful thing. Thursday 12 noon – Uh-oh! It’s Valentine’s Day and I am making dinner! Quick dash off to our little nearby market where a beautiful pink side of freshly caught salmon winked back at me from the fish case. Add in puff pasty (elegance in a box!) and asparagus and my romantic dinner for two was born! I spied this recipe earlier in the week on the Cooking Channel and with a few simple modifications, was able to surprise my sweetie with an impressive meal. This dish is incredibly easy and fast to prepare (shhh, don’t tell) and is sure to get a few ‘wows’. The salmon stays wonderfully moist encased in its pastry blanket. Definitely a keeper for future dinner parties. It would be great to try substituting spinach for the asparagus perhaps or maybe add in some sun-dried tomatoes. Great backdrop to experiment. Buon appetito!
Salmon and Asparagus in a Puff
Adapted from ‘Salmon en Croute’ by Laura Calder
1 salmon filet, about 1½ pounds
1 pound asparagus (trim off any woody stems)
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup mascarpone cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
1 pound of puff pastry (2 sheets, thawed)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
- Skin and bone the salmon and set aside. Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Poach the asparagus in boiling salted water until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well. Add to an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Drain completely.
- Cut the tips off the asparagus, measuring so they just fit across the top of the salmon. Set aside enough to cover the top of the salmon filet.
- Purée the remaining asparagus. Add in the pine nuts and puree until smooth. Place in a bowl and stir in the mascarpone, and lemon zest, to blend. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Lay a sheet of puff pastry on a damp baking sheet. Lay the salmon in the middle of the pastr. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spread the asparagus puree on top of the salmon. Lay the tips of the asparagus on top of the puree.
- Brush the margins of the pastry with the egg wash. Lay the top pastry over the entire salmon and press the edges to seal.
- Trim the edges, leaving about a 1-inch border. Press with the tines of a fork to seal. Make two or three slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
- Brush all over with the egg wash and bake for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cover pastry with foil to keep the pastry from burning. Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!