SALMON A LA WELLINGTON, REVISITED


You know you’ve been blogging for a while when you got more than one recipe for Salmon Wellington… My previous take is pretty much our default method, because using phyllo dough considerably reduces the richness of the dish.  We make it regularly. It is interesting how once you keep making a recipe that seems quite involved at first, it becomes so easy to prepare you act as if it’s just like grilling a steak. First weekend of the year (with Salmon Wellington in my mind), I asked Phil if he had any particular recipe he’d been craving. I could not believe my ears when he picked it, almost instantaneously.  That’s when fate worked against us. We could no find phyllo dough at our store. Only phyllo cups. Drove to store number 2. No luck. Plenty of boxes of phyllo cups, empty shelf where the sheets would be. In despair, drove to Wal-Mart, a place I almost never visit. No cigar. Once you have a craving, you have a craving. Puff pastry it would be.  And since we started messing up with our classic, I changed a few more things and here I am to share this new version with you. It turned out excellent, and it might take the default spot for a while… An extra session of aerobics and we’ll be fine.

SALMON WELLINGTON
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

3 pieces of salmon filet, about 6 ounces each)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
1 large stalk celery, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup cooked crab meat, shredded (from 2 small crab legs)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
1/2 block cream cheese, at room temperature
minced fresh cilantro, to taste
1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted in the fridge for several hours
flour to roll out the pastry
egg wash made with 1 egg, 1 tsp water and a pinch of salt

Heat oven to 375 F (see notes).

Prepare the topping by sauteing the celery and shallot pieces in olive oil over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. When all soft and translucent, transfer to a small bowl to cool down slightly. Add the cream cheese, lemon juice, shredded crab meat and fresh cilantro, mix all gently but well and reserve.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Roll out the puff pastry over a counter top lightly dusted with flour. Try to get it really thin, ideally one sheet should be enough to wrap three small salmon filets. Place the salmon filet over it, make sure it is dry, blot it with paper towels if necessary.  Season with salt and pepper. Place a good portion of cream cheese mixture on top. Wrap the filets with the dough. I actually found it easier to flip the pieces after the photo was taken, so that the filling is on top, and the edges of the pastry meet at the bottom of the parcel.

Cut a slit in the center of the packages. Brush with egg wash. Bake for about 22 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Let it cool slightly and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: A few pointers for success. First, if your pieces of salmon are not uniform in thickness, simply fold the thinner part underneath the piece, to prevent it from getting over-cooked and dry.  Second, roll the puff pastry as thin as you can without tearing it or making it too hard to wrap around the filets. One sheet of puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm in the brand I got) will be enough to wrap three small filets of fish.  Third, do not bake for more than 25 minutes, so that your salmon will still be moist and flavorful. With the pastry rolled thin, it will be long enough to fully bake it. The fish will be perfect inside, protected by the nice layer of crab and cream cheese mixture.

We enjoyed two of these babies at dinner, and next day shared the third one for lunch. I am very picky about eating leftover salmon, rarely find it tasty. This time was an exception, we placed it in the microwave for 2 minutes, to jump-start heating from the center, then immediately transferred it to our small oven at 400F. Worked great, the meat was still perfectly cooked and moist.

This would be a perfect dish for entertaining, as you can assemble it all in advance. When it’s time to eat, place in the oven and get the side dishes ready. Your guests will be impressed, I am sure… And let’s not even forget that Valentine’s Day is coming up fast… Salmon Wellington followed by a little chocolate lava cake sounds like a dream come true. Although we all know that real dreams are made of macarons…

NOTE ADDED AFTER PUBLICATION: A reader made this recipe and found that cooking at 400F works better because the puff pastry will benefit from it. If you shorten the time to 21 minutes in the oven, you won’t have over-cooked salmon and the puff pastry will be gorgeous.  So consider that change.  Thanks blackbird for the feedback…

Dinner is served!
Salmon Wellington, buttered asparagus, fresh oysters, a little Caesar salad…

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36 thoughts on “SALMON A LA WELLINGTON, REVISITED

  1. Wow, these look fantastic! I think I would almost definitely prefer this to more fussy – and frankly, cacophonous – coulibiac (or kulebiaka, if you’re a stickler for origins). I looooove the addition of the crab and cream cheese. So unctuous! Lovely, just lovely.

    I will say however, because I’m a crab myself, that I kind of cringe whenever people attach names of famous dishes to recipes which are NOT that dish, as if the suffix were a signifier to be applied to any foodstuff with a remote similarity. I mean, why not call this “Salmon Empanadas”? “Pasztecik”? “Pirozhki”?

    “Beef Wellington” includes, aside from the eponymous beef, a duxelles, foie gras pâté, paste (I use a short paste for the base, which soaks up juices, and puff for the top), etc. Calling this salmon dish “Wellington”, delicious though it might be, is…well, I think it’s one of the signs of the Apacalypse, right? I mean, look it up. I’m pretty sure it’s in the Bible somewhere. In the back, with the 9-headed horses and stuff.

    Ok, don’t look in the Bible. Watch this instead. Unlike the Bible, this is based in fact: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEgxk88KNDg&t=41s

    See? When even a dermestid beetle takes objection to something, you know it’s serious!

    Of course….I’m really just complaining out of frustration that I can’t eat these right now. Damn you. DAMN YOU FOR TORTURING ME AGAIN!

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • funny, because I also dislike the abuse of naming dishes, but often commit the sin, calling hummus a dip made with (gasp) cauliflower, and now the Wellington… See how I listen to you? I changed the title of the post… 😉

      sorry you can eat this right now, I hope whatever the reason is temporary…

      and that dish you mentioned? kulebiaka? I had it once made by a Polish woman in Paris (yeah, I am fancy like that sometimes, what can I say?) – I’ve always wanted to try and make it myself. And, another one I’ve never made but it’s on the list… gravlax….

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t eat it because I’M NOT WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF YOUR HOUSE. Rectify that for me, will you?

        Lol! Ok, the “a la” changes everything. Well done!

        Oooo, you had real kulebiaka made by a real Polish woman! I think the original dish was Russian if I recall (legend being that Escoffier used to cook for Russian soldiers/sailors at his first French restaurant, learned it from them, then added a few French twists (ie: sneers) and called it “Coulibiac”. He didn’t fool anyone.).

        I like Coulibiac as a buffet dish, as it can be quickly assembled compared to individual products, looks impressive, and cuts very nicely. The downside is that most examples I’ve had – including, I must admit, many of my own – tend to be rather on the dry side. That’s why I really like the addition of the fatty cream cheese and crab to yours. That may be a trick I steal if I ever have to make the larger version in the future. Damn tradition, full speed ahead!

        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • there you go… that’s the idea! 😉 Now I need to make a Beef a la Wellington with phyllo and go full circle (I think I already have that on the blog, but will have to check – Fine Cooking had a nice version)

      Like

  2. Enjoyed this recipe very much. Flavor was excellent, salmon perfectly cooked, beautiful presentation. One suggestion. Raise the baking temperature to 400 degrees. My oven temp was accurate but the puff pastry I used recommends 400 instead of 375 degrees. Mine looked a bit anemic and would have benefited by a higher initial temperature. The time suggested would be spot on at 21-25 minutes.

    I did add another element, however. Sautéed spinach (moisture pressed out) for the bottom layer. I also added a dusting of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to the top of the pastry. We found a 6 oz portion of salmon too much and would cut it to 4-5 oz., especially if serving other sides. The beauty of this recipe is much prep can be done ahead with last minute wrapping in pastry, fast cooking and easy service. Great company fare for a crowd. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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