Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
Ingredients do not recognize national boundaries -Iron Chef Michiba
…After dinner at one of Morimoto’s restaurants, diners often say to him, ‘We love what we’ve eaten, but it was not Japanese food.’ His response, ‘Why isn’t it Japanese, and why must it be?’ –Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking (p. 7)
So now that we’re fully into the autumn, I was thinking of a ‘hearty’ dish that I could do. I’d done at the beef wellington at beginning of the year and I thought, “why not do a seafood version of it?” After looking about the web, I finally decided to do a salmon in puff pastry with a leek/swiss chard stuffing and lemon/dill sauce. After going over to Ebisuya in Medford to pick up a special order item, I saw that they had fresh yuzu. At that point, I thought I’d see if I could twist the dish and replace the lemon with the yuzu.
As I saw it, the dish had three major components, the sauce, the leek/chard stuffing and then the assembly with the puff pastry (Dufour’s) and salmon.
For the yuzu dill sauce –
1/2 cup Creme Fraiche (could use sour cream)
2 1/4 t of yuzu juice
1 T finely minced fresh dill (about 8 sprigs, fronds only)
zest from 1 fresh yuzu (optional – Ebisuya just happened to have fresh yuzu today)
1/8 t of 4:1 salt/pepper mix
So I began by cleaning and zesting the yuzu skin and then mixing that with the 2 1/4 teaspoons of yuzu juice
By the way – ever wonder how much juice there is in 1 yuzu fruit? About a tablespoon at most (I used that to make a yuzu version of lemonade!).
So I rinsed the dill, de-stemmed it, finely minced the fronds and mixed all of the sauce ingredients.
For the chard/leek ‘stuffiing’ –
rice oil 3 tablespoons
white part of a large leek (or tokyo negi) finely minced
3 oz of chard (leaves only) minced
Fresh Thyme 1 sprig (or 1/8 teaspoon dried)
So I began the stuffing by isolating the white part of the leek and trying to do a fine mince on it.
I had to do something similar with the chard; but the stems were a bit tough so I removed the central stem/rib to isolate the leaves. The leaves I then stacked, rolled and did a chiffonade. I tried to ‘mince’, as best I could the chiffonade.
To get the stuffing ready, I sauteed the leek whites for about 5 minutes to soften them in a bit of rice oil and then added the chard to cook down for another 5 minute, making sure that any exuded liquid was evaporated.
With the sauteed leek whites/chard softened. I added the crushed thyme and stirfried the whole thing until the liquid is gone. Now it was just a matter of assembling the puff pastry parcel of salmon and the leek/chard stufffing. I couldn’t do that until the stuffing cooled to room temperature (otherwise it would cause the puff pastry to melt/degrade – remember it’s only flour and butter!)
So for the puff pastry assembly, it was –
salmon fillet 6oz/person
Puff Pastry 500 g
Flour several tablespoons (to dust the surface of the cutting board)
Egg Yolks 2
Water 1 tablespoon
Salt & Pepper 3-4 pinches of 4:1 salt/pepper mix
(the egg yolks/water would be combined and beaten to become the eggwash)
To build the individual ‘wellingtons’, I would brush the entire salmon-side puff pastry surface with the egg wash, salt and pepper it, lay down a bit of the leek/chard filling, then the salmon and then wrap the puff pastry. You can see how Chef Ramsay packages the salmon/puff pastry here:
Chef Ramsay’s online recipe can be found here: http://www.redonline.co.uk/food/recipes/salmon-en-croute
I used steps 4-6 from the online recipe (that’s pretty much shown in the video). The individual salmon en
croute packages had to cook in preheated 400 degree F oven for about 20-25 minutes. Once they were
pulled from the oven, the ‘wellingtons’ needed about a 5 minute rest .
My wife loved the dish. She was so surprised how well the yuzu dill sauce paired with the broccoli and the salmon/leek/chard en croute. This turned out rather nicely, though I think I’d let it cook about 5 minutes more to really get that pastry crust nice and super crisp. It’s nice to know how to do this kind of dish and be able to add that twist with the rice oil and yuzu ingredients. If I had to add one more twist, it would be replace the leek with tokyo negi!