Salmon en croute (salmon Wellington)
Salmon Wellington (en croute)
This dish can go by many names – Wellington, en croute, or simply puff-pastry salmon. Titles aside, this free-from take on the classic dinner recipe takes a hearty salmon fillet baked in a creamy, dairy-free pesto sauce, all wrapped up in a golden parcel of crispy gluten-free puff pastry. Serve with new potatoes and lightly toasted asparagus.
PREP TIME: 15 MINS
COOK TIME: 25 MINS
TOTAL TIME: 40 MINS
Salmon en croute, or salmon Wellington, tends to be reserved as a one-off deal for Christmas or the odd dinner party – but it can easily be simplified to make a hassle-free weeknight meal option.
This free-from version uses gluten-free Just Roll pastry and a simple vegan pesto sauce – no spinach or cheese in this recipe. The result is a 15-minute prep time that just needs a clean surface and a baking tray.
How to make
This recipe really is as simple as these quick steps:
- Unroll the pastry and cut into two rectangles – one to wrap up the base and sides of the salmon fillet, and a second one to seal the top (like a pie lid)
- Make the creamy pesto sauce by mixing together equal parts dairy-free green pesto and vegan cream cheese (I use the coconut-based Violife brand – I promise you can’t taste a hint of coconut in the finished sauce)
- Assemble the en croute – place the salmon fillet on top of the pastry base. Season well and top generously with the pesto sauce
- Seal the pastry by brushing the edges of the pastry base with water to dampen. Then place the second pastry slice on top of the salmon fillet and pull the base pastry layer up to meet it. Crimp the two sections together using your fingers
- Brush with a beaten egg to glaze, then bake at 180°C or 350°F for 30 minutes until golden brown
Which pastry should you use?
Baking with gluten free pastry can be a bit of a minefield, particularly when making your own from scratch. I will be putting out recipes and tips for this in the future, but for the sake of simplicity, this particular recipe uses Jus-Roll gluten-free puff pastry.
While I haven’t tried other pre-made pastry brands, this one is really simple to use. You literally just unfurl it on a clean surface and cut to size – no battling with sticky rolling pins required.
It’s not quite the texture of normal puff pastry that many of us used to love, but it wins on every other aspect. It’s buttery, holds together well and isn’t too chewy or too crumbly.
Although buying pre-made pastry does most of the heavy lifting for you, there are a few extra things you can do to really improve on it.
1. Avoid the soggy bottom – there’ll be no disappointing Mary Berry with this one. Make sure to poke a few small holes in the top of the pastry with a fork, to allow the steam to escape during baking
2. Use a pastry lid to minimise leakage – chances are you’ll inevitably have a bit of the sauce escape through the pastry seams, however you can prevent much of this by sealing it higher up.
Essentially this means using a pastry ‘lid’, crimped around the top edges, rather than the more common technique of sealing the pastry around the bottom instead. It works against gravity, as some of the liquid will end up pooling at the bottom of the pastry case during baking
3. Crimp edges properly – make sure to wet a 1cm wide band round all four edges of each pastry square before pinching together with your fingers to seal. The pastry border should be damp, but not soaked through, as this will cause it to tear
4. Use a glaze – for a lovely golden brown colour, beat one egg in a small bowl and use a pastry brush to coat the outsides of the puff pastry parcel (store the leftover beaten egg in the fridge). If intolerant to egg, use unsweetened soya milk or 10g melted vegan butter instead
What does it go well with?
Fresh asparagus – generally I try to avoid making meals that are too carb heavy, so I like to balance this one out with some fresh asparagus, lightly fried for 10 minutes in a small amount of dairy-free butter
Simple side salad – a really simple combo of lettuce, tomatoes and any other fresh veg you have on hand really compliments the rich, buttery flavours of the main en croute
Baby new potatoes – for an even heartier meal, pair with 3-4 small new potatoes. Boil them for about 10 minutes until soft, then serve with dairy-free butter and a pinch of salt
Preparing in advance tips – you can make this dish a day ahead by assembling the en croute, then wrapping in clingfilm and storing in the fridge for 24 hours. When ready to cook, place the en croute straight from the fridge into the oven and bake for 40 minutes
Freezing tips – to make even further ahead, you can freeze the uncooked assembled salmon en croute. Wrap the pastry parcel in clingfilm and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month, then bake from frozen for an extra 25-30 minutes (total 1hr 5-10min). If the pastry is browning too much or at risk of burning, cover with aluminium foil partway through baking
Reheating – chilled leftover en croute can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. You can reheat from chilled by zapping it in the microwave for about 1 minute until fully heated through, or oven baking for at 180°C / 350°F for 6-8 minutes. It’s worth noting, though, that doing so will probably dry out the salmon a bit, so this recipe is best served and eaten freshly baked from scratch
Salmon en croute (salmon wellington)
- Baking tray
- ½ pack of Jus-Roll gluten-free puff pastry (rolled into two rectangles of approx 15x25cm and 5x10cm)
- 1 large salmon fillet, approx. 7x15cm (or several smaller ones)
- 3 tbsp (approx 50g) green vegan pesto
- 3 tbsp (approx 50g) vegan cream cheese
- salt & pepper
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 200°C or 390°F (check this agrees with the instructions on the pastry box if using a different brand)
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the cream cheese and pesto until fully combined
- On a clean surface, cut the pastry to size. You should have two rectangular pieces of pastry - one larger one to cover the base and sides of the pie, and one smaller one to cover the top
- Place the salmon fillet on top of the larger rectangle, running vertically (if using several smaller fillets, just line them up end-to-end). If using a larger or different sized fillet than stated, make the sure the pastry base has enough overlap to reach up the sides. Season the fillet well with salt and pepper, then spoon the pesto mix over the top until thickly coated
- Fill a small bowl or eggcup with water, and use a pastry brush to dampen the borders of the pastry base. Place the smaller rectangle of pastry on top of the salmon fillets and carefully pull sides of the base up to meet it, crimping together with your fingers around all four borders until the parcel is fully sealed all the way around. Cut off any excess pastry from the four corners
- Beat together the egg in a small bowl and use the pastry brush to generously coat the outside of the pastry. Then, using a large spatula, carefully transfer the en croute to a baking tray and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown
- Serve with new potatoes and fresh asparagus fried gently in butter