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Rick Stein’s Salmon Wellington with a White Wine and Cream Sauce

A show-stopping Christmas Eve dinner or impressive dinner party main, Rick Stein's Salmon Wellington is served with a delicate white wine and cream sauce.

From the book

Introduction

I am quite a sucker for salmon in puff pastry, as is indeed virtually everyone I know. In the 80s at the Seafood Restaurant, I used to do individual parcels of wild salmon in puff pastry with tarragon and butter and served it with the same sauce as below. The problem that I almost didn’t want to admit was that the internal butter and juice from the salmon made the pastry a bit soggy. The point of a beef wellington, and this fish version, is to surround the flesh with something that will encase the moisture, so now the pastry is really nice and crisp and vies for star status on our Christmas Eve dinner menu.

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Ingredients

1 kg side of salmon, skinned
500g block of all-butter puff pastry
flour, for dusting
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
For the mushroom filling:
20g unsalted butter
1 tsp sunflower oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
300g mushrooms, finely chopped (shiitake, oyster, portobello or whatever you like)
120g mascarpone cheese
zest of ½ lemon
3 or 4 tarragon sprigs, leaves stripped from the stalks and chopped
small handful flatleaf parsley, chopped
small handful chives, chopped
salt and black pepper
For the white wine sauce:
20g butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
100ml white wine
300ml fish stock (see page 306 of At Home) or Chicken stock (see page 307 of At Home)
150ml double cream
40g unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 tbsp chopped chives
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Method

Start by making the mushroom filling. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and when the butter has melted, add the shallots. Let them soften for a minute or so, then add the mushrooms and cook over a medium heat until they have released their liquid and it has evaporated. Allow to cool completely. Stir in the mascarpone, lemon zest and herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the salmon fillet in half and trim, then set it aside in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C.

Cut about a third off the pastry block, then wrap the rest and put it in the fridge. On a floured board, roll out the pastry third to a rectangle a little larger than one of the pieces of salmon – they will be stacked one on top of the other. Put the rolled-out pastry in a shallow baking tray lined with baking paper and prick it all over with a fork to prevent it from rising too much. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until crisp and golden, then remove and leave to cool.

Take the remaining piece of pastry and roll it out into a rectangle a couple of inches larger than the first piece. Smooth half of the mushroom mixture on to the cooled, cooked pastry base and top with both pieces of salmon, one on top of the other. Spread the remaining mushroom mixture over the top piece of salmon and around the sides. Now drape the remaining pastry over the fish and tuck it under the pastry base as if you were making a bed and tucking the sheet in. Using the rounded end of a teaspoon, mark the pastry all over to replicate fish scales. Brush all over with beaten egg, then cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 220°C/ Fan 200°C. Remove the wellington from the fridge and glaze again with the remaining beaten egg. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 200°C/Fan 180°C and cook for a further 15 minutes until the pastry is crisp, risen and golden. Using a temperature probe, check that the thickest part is 55°C. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

While the fish is in the oven, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and soften the shallot. Add the white wine, bring to the boil and reduce by a third. Add the stock and cream and bring back up to the boil, then reduce the heat and whisk in the butter, a cube at a time, Season with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped chives and parsley. Keep the sauce warm and serve alongside the salmon, with a crisp watercress salad or green beans and buttered new potatoes.

TIP 

This dish can be made 24 hours ahead of time. Prepare it to the stage where you cover it with cling film and put in the fridge to chill, then cook as required. It is also delicious served cold the next day with mayonnaise.

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From the book: Rick Stein at Home: Recipes, Memories and Stories from a Food Lover’s Kitchen

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