• Salmon baked in pastry with ginger & currants


    This recipe is based on Jane Grigson's tribute to Perry-Smith. It is from The Observer Book of British Cookery.

    Don’t be startled by the amount of butter, it’s a terrific dish, rich sure, but then you only need a small portion. 

    The dish can be prepared well ahead and refrigerated with the glazing and baking to do at dinner time.  This is advantageous as the salmon will be well chilled, guarding against overcooking while the pastry browns. The pastry in question was magnificent – really short and crisp – a result, I think, of the flavoured butter around the fish oozing gently into the pastry.

    Bitter greens and a piquant sauce are good accompaniments. I made a quick, cheat’s hybrid of  Greek egg and lemon sauce/hollandaise using up the leftover glazing egg and juice of a large, ripe lime, whisked together in the residue of cooking the silverbeet.

    Salmon baked in pastry with currants & ginger 

    (serves 4)

    Make the pastry first.
    250g plain flour
    140g salted butter, cut into pieces and brought to room temperature
    iced water
    1 egg, beaten for glazing
    Place the flour in a food processor or large bowl. Add the butter. Using the pulse action, or your fingertips, process until the mixture looks like very fine crumbs. Bind with just enough iced water to make rough clumps of dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, bring the dough together and pat out into a rough rectangle. Wrap in plastic film and leave to rest on the bench while you prepare the fish. Cut pastry in half and roll each half into a long rectangular shape .5cm thick.

    2×220g (each) fillets salmon, skin removed
    salt and pepper
    50g salted butter, well softened
    2-3 pieces preserved stem ginger in syrup, drained and chopped
    20g currants
    Season the salmon fillets well on both sides. Mash the butter with the ginger and currants until very soft and easily spreadable. Spread some of the butter on the top of one of the fillets. Lay the other fillet on top – thin end to fat end to even out the thickness of the whole ‘sandwich’. Cover the top piece of salmon with more butter. Place the salmon ‘sandwich’ on one piece of pastry. Brush around the salmon with a little beaten egg. Pop the other piece of pastry on top, sealing well around the salmon. Trim pastry to 1.5cm around the salmon. Score the outside decoratively, brush with the beaten egg and bake in a preheated 220C oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is cooked.

    small knob butter
    baby silverbeet leaves, shredded
    1 beaten egg
    juice large ripe lime or lemon
    In a medium saucepan sauté the silver beet in the knob of butter until just tender. With tongs remove the silver beet to a serving plate. In the same saucepan (without cleaning) add the beaten egg and lemon juice. Whisking all the while, heat over very low heat until frothy bubbles form and the sauce thickens slightly. This will take only a few seconds. Remove from the heat immediately and keep whisking. Add a little cold water if it looks like going too far. Pour the sauce over the silver beet.
    Place the salmon parcel on top and take the table to cut into pieces for diners.