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Salmon baked in pastry with ginger & currants

Posted by michele round on September 18, 2007.

Salmon in pastry w currants & ginger

In The Observer Book of British Cookery author Jane Grigson introduces the recipe for salmon baked in pastry with currants and ginger by saying ‘This is the most famous of the Perry-Smith recipes. His pupils make it in their restaurants; his customers make it at home.’

Being keen to know more about Perry-Smith I flipped through to the beginning of the chapter. While Britain languished in the culinary drought that was the 1950s George Perry-Smith opened the famous Hole in the Wall restaurant in Bath with ‘a copy of Elizabeth David’s new first book, Mediterranean Food, in one hand’ and set about creating a style of food that focused on flavour and the best and freshest ingredients.
A scan of the ingredients here will tell you that the recipe hails from a bygone era when they didn’t take fright at lashings of butter. Don’t be startled, it’s a terrific dish, rich sure, but then you only need a small portion. For the cook a little effort yields spectacular results, as you can see.
The dish could be prepared well ahead and refrigerated with just the glazing and baking to do at dinner time. This would be advantageous as the salmon will be well chilled and therefore resist being overcooked by the time the pastry is done. 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.
Being such a rich dish, 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 the silver beet pan.

Enjoy with a classic cool climate white like 2006 Freycinet Vineyard Chardonnay

The Recipe

Salmon baked in pastry with currants & ginger (serves 3-4)

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.

Pinot Shop is located in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia at 135 Paterson Street down at the river end near Cataract Gorge, Stillwater Restaurant and The Mill Providore. We specialise in the best of premium pinot noir as grown so beautifully in the cool climes of Tasmania, New Zealand and southern parts of the big Australian continent. Our love for pinot extends to its sibling styles pinot gris and grigio and fizzy cousins sparkling wine and Champagne, even when they don’t contain pinot noir. That’s not to say we’ve become too exclusive - we also stock an interesting range of delicious wines for those (rare) times when you’re not drinking pinot…
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