IT’S APRIL Fools day this week, a day that’s normally associated with childish acts of foolishness, so beware! There’s nothing foolish about my recipe though, a delicious Salmon Coulibiac which is a French adaptation of a savoury Russian recipe often made in loaf form. This is an excellent dish for entertaining as it can be made in advance. It presents beautifully too, I serve it with a hollandaise sauce and some broad beans. An alternative to the Hollandaise would be to melt some butter and add the same amount of lemon juice, very simple and delicious. Any leftovers can be served cold for lunch with a light salad. Salmon is such a versatile fish, it can be grilled, pan-fried, poached and baked. It’s one of those fishes that pairs well with so many different flavours, it works extremely well with Asian flavours such as soy, chilli and ginger.
Serves4 2 Sheets Puff Pastry, thawed 600g Side of Salmon, skin removed 2 Shallots, thinly sliced 400g Spinach, sautéed and drained 225g Mushrooms, thinly sliced 25g Butter 2 Eggs, hard boiled and peeled 1 tbsp fresh dill 1 tsp lemon thyme 1 egg, for egg wash Salt and freshly ground black pepper. Hollandaise Sauce: 3 large egg yolks 5ml/1 teaspoon white wine vinegar/Lemon juice 8ozs/225g butter-melted completely 2 dessertspoons of boiling water (if required) Ground white pepper To make the Coulibiac: Preheat the oven to 180C/350G/Gas Mark4. Saute the mushrooms in some butter, then remove and pat dry with some kitchen paper. Roll out the two sheets of pastry on a lightly floured surface, and brush the surface with egg wash. Place the spinach on to the pastry leaving approximately 1” around the edge, the place the sautéed mushrooms to top. Lay the salmon onto the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl mixed the eggs and shallots, then place on top of the salmon. Sprinkle with the herbs then brush the edges of the pastry with the egg wash. Place the top sheet of pastry on top of the salmon then seal tightly. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes, then remove and allow to stand for 15 minutes. In the meantime to make your hollandaise, firstly melt the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat. In a separate saucepan heat some water and place a glass or stainless steel bowl on top. Pour in the white wine vinegar and lemon juice then add the egg yolks and beat continuously until light and creamy in consistency. You need to be very careful at this stage because the line between creamy and scrambled is very fine. Remove the bowl from the heat then pour in the melted butter, whilst continuing to whisk at all times. If after adding all the butter the sauce is still a little thick for your liking whisk in some boiling water and a squeeze of lemon. Season to taste. To Serve: Place the Coulibiac onto a serving platter, and serve with Hollandaise Sauce. Tip: For a vegetarian alternative use vegetables that are in season from the garden —in spring try adding wilted greens, asparagus, peas and artichoke hearts.