Ainsley Harriott's salmon en croute with spinach, lemon and cream cheese
A meal to impress that’s surprisingly easy to make, Ainsley’s in the kitchen with all his tips for perfecting his delicious salmon en croute with spinach, lemon and cream cheese.
Salmon en croute
Olive oil, for frying1 banana shallot, finely chopped1 clove of garlic, minced60g baby spinach leaves, washedGood pinch of nutmeg100g cream cheeseZest from 1 lemon1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragonPlain flour, for dusting1 x 500g block of puff pastry4 x 175g salmon fillets, skinned and boned (each 2.5cm thick)1 egg, beatenSea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200CFan/Gas 6
2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the shallot for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant, then stir in the spinach until just wilted. Add the nutmeg and season. Tip the mixture into a sieve and press down on the leaves firmly to squeeze out all the moisture. Set aside to cool.
3. Place the cream cheese, lemon zest, tarragon and ½ tsp of both salt and pepper in a bowl and mash together
4. On a lightly floured surface cut the pastry block into 8 even-sized sections and roll each out into rectangles large enough to fit your salmon fillets with a border (approx 20-23cm x 15cm), trimming the edges if necessary. Place the salmon fillets in the centre of 4 of the rectangles and season with salt and pepper. Top each fillet with the cream cheese mixture, gently spreading to cover the fillets. Cover each with a quarter of the spinach mixture.
5. Brush the edges of the pastry bases with a little beaten egg and lay a second sheet of pastry on top. Press down to seal and crimp the edges with a fork.
6. Place a non-stick baking sheet in the oven to heat up for a few minutes. Meanwhile, make light slashes across each parcel with a sharp knife, taking care not to cut right through, then brush the pastry parcels with the remaining beaten egg. Put the parcels on the heated baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through and golden. Serve immediately.