New Years Eve is often the last big party of the year and if you're cooking for pals you want something you can prep in advance and that isn't too heavy! James' whole salmon en croute feels like food for a special celebration.
1 x kilo skinless and boneless whole salmon fillet
500g x short crust pastry
1 egg yolk, beaten
50g soft butter
2 tbsp chopped dill
3 tbsp chopped basil
1 tbsp grain mustard
zest of a lemon
salt and black pepper
1 large leek (top removed and cut in half lengthways, washed, finely sliced and blanched in salted boiling water for 1 minute then refreshed under cold water and drained)
350ml double cream
2 sliced shallots
125ml good red wine (merlot is good)
200ml reduced beef stock or vegetable stock
Pre heat oven to 200°c, gas 5
Take the whole salmon fillet cut in half lengthways and pat dry all over with kitchen towel
Mix the lemon zest and herbs with the soft butter. Season the two fillet pieces and spread the herb butter over the top piece of the salmon, then spread mustard over the bottom piece of salmon. Sandwich the two together and set aside.
Roll out the pastry to a rectangle large enough to wrap the salmon fillet roughly around half a cm in thickness. Lay the salmon onto the pastry and egg wash around. Fold the pastry over to cover the salmon, trim off any excess so its nice and neat and you have created a parcel. Carefully roll and lay the salmon side onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Any joins in the pastry should now be underneath.
Egg wash the top of the pastry parcel and score a criss-cross on the pastry. Season lightly, cover with cling film and chill for 10 minutes in the fridge, When ready to cook, pop the salmon in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden. To check its cooked in the centre put a skewer into the salmon; if it comes out warm its ready!
Remove and rest the salmon for 5 minutes before serving
Whilst the salmon is cooking prepare your remaining ingredients. Put the cream in a pan, season and reduce by half then set aside
Sauté the shallots in a saucepan with a splash of oil, add the wine reduce quickly by half then add the stock, reduce and season to a sauce consistency. Keep warm and set aside.
Warm the blanched leeks in the reduced cream
Slice the salmon en croute with a serrated knife into equal portions and arrange on warm serving plates with a pile of creamed leeks and a drizzle of wine sauce