I love cooking programmes that, as well as showcasing inspiring food, also give a sense of place and history. This is what happened when I watched a recent series on the favourite foods of the British Royal family – with recipes cooked by past royal chefs.
This is how I came to be cooking this salmon pie – and I really don’t understand why it is not a standard dish in everyone’s repertoire – it’s simply delicious! It also just so happens to have been one of Prince Philip’s favourite dishes that was regularly on the menu at Balmoral whenever a salmon had been landed.
The retired royal chef, who cooked this for the television programme, got me in by saying that it was infinitely versatile and open to ingredients that you had to hand – my kind of cooking.
I like to start with whatever I have in the garden and be inspired to go from there. The jug on my cooktop attests to this. Picked straight from the garden, I had tarragon, parsley, sorrel and fennel fronds
This recipe is a layered puff pastry salmon parcel. One layer is sauteed mushrooms. onion and tarragon with sorrel with rice, but you can substitute the onion for leek, the tarragon for dill/fennel and the sorrel for spinach. Now that’s my kind of recipe.
The other layer is sliced hard-boiled egg – the point of which is to soak up the juices from the salmon so that it doesn’t make the pastry soggy – and it doesn’t!!
- 4 Portions of skinless salmon (the royals would have used a whole side)
- 250g mushrooms, finely chopped
- half a brown onion, finely chopped
- knob of butter
- fresh tarragon or dill – about a handful
- small bunch of finely chopped sorrel or spinach
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
- 1 cup of cooked basmati rice (important to use a long grain rice so it doesn’t go soggy)
- 3 sheets of butter puff pastry (frozen and thawed)
- salt and pepper
- one beaten egg for glazing
- Heat oven to 200c
- Butter a baking tray
- In a large frypan, sautee the butter, onion and mushrooms until soft,
- Season with salt and pepper
- Add the tarragon/dill and sorrel/spinach
- Cook until soft, but quite dry
- Add to rice and combine
- Place one piece of pastry on the tray and layer with the rice, egg and salmon. Top the salmon with egg and finishing with rice mix.
- Get two sheets of pastry and twist one edge together covering the salmon and twisting up around the edges.
- Make diagonal slices through the pastry and brush with beaten egg.
- Cook on 200c for 20 minutes – then 180c for another 20 minutes. Take out of oven and rest for five minutes
- On the programme they made a simple roast pepper sauce to accompany this Russian salmon pie dish.
- I cheated and used a jar of chargrilled red peppers, finely chopped, and sauteed with the other half of the onion in olive oil.
- I added a glass of white wine, some fennel fronds – cooked it for about ten minutes – then whazzed it up with a stick blender adding salt and some spicy paprika. It was excellent with this dish.
I’m no food stylist – but you get the picture! This was totally scrumptious and I think we should be including this salmon pie in our regular repertoires? What do you think? Give it a try and let me know?
PS I served it with a cauliflower rice that I had added some finely sliced Brussels sprouts to. Recipe below.