This salmon en croute with dill cream sauce is a real show-stopper of a centerpiece dish. A whole side of salmon is covered in spinach and cream cheese before being encased in flaky puff pastry and baked until golden brown. Then, we serve with a delicious dill cream sauce that perfectly complements all the rich flavors. It is definitely a dish to feed a crowd (and leave them all satisfied!).
The puff pastry is crisp, the salmon light and moist, and the cream cheese filling adds a decadent richness to the proceedings. Deciding what sauce to serve with salmon en croute can be a tough one, and I made this dill cream sauce for salmon en croute that works perfectly.
The key to a successful salmon en croute is to avoid too much moisture, as it will leak out the sides and make everything soggy. Therefore be warned of the cream cheese as unless you buy very high quality from a farm shop or similar, it will have so much water in it - so be sure to squeeze it all out first. Read on for all my tips on how to avoid a soggy salmon en croute.
Cream cheese filling
- Sautee shallot in butter over medium heat until translucent, then add the chopped spinach leaves.
- Turn the heat down to low and cook until the moisture has completely evaporated before removing it from the heat and allowing it to cool completely.
- Blend the sauteed spinach and shallot, and cream cheese in a food processor until smooth and all incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice and set to one side.
Assembling and baking salmon en croute
- Skin and trim the salmon to the right size for the puff pastry sheets if needed (you can use any leftovers to make fish cakes or even a fish pie).
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius / 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and grease it with butter. Lay one of the puff pastry sheets on top.
- Lay the salmon on top of the piece of puff pastry and smooth the cream cheese and spinach filling over the top using a spatula.
- Brush an egg wash around the edges of the puff pastry and lay the second sheet on top of the fish and filling. Press it down around the salmon and use a fork to crimp the edges together, sealing them.
- Using a sharp knife, gently score a fish scale pattern into the surface of the puff pastry, making sure you don't cut all the way through it.
- Brush the egg wash over the whole salmon en croute, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown and glossy. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Dill cream sauce for salmon en croute
- Heat butter in a pan over medium heat and fry the diced shallot until translucent.
- Add the white wine and bring it to a boil, allowing it to cook down by two-thirds in volume (around 10-15 minutes).
- Add the heavy cream and turn the heat down to medium-low before bringing it back to a simmering point. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes to thicken.
- Add the Dijon mustard, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste before stirring through the fresh herbs and serving the dill cream sauce for salmon en croute.
How to stop salmon en croute going soggy?
- Blot the salmon with kitchen paper thoroughly before use to absorb any excess moisture from the fish.
- Strain the cream cheese through cheesecloth/muslin to get rid of any water content, and make sure it’s really thick and dense. I have found that most cream cheeses, bar the expensive organic ones you find in farm shops, have so much water in them.
- Cook off the spinach's liquid on low heat until all of its moisture has evaporated; it also holds onto a lot of water! Blot with kitchen paper, too, if necessary.
- Avoid using a high-sided baking tray, as this will create additional steam around the puff pastry.
- Try not to bake salmon en croute in an oven at the same time as anything else with a high water content, like vegetables which will also create steam.
- Do not open the oven whilst the salmon en croute is cooking, as it lets in moisture (which creates steam) and also alters the oven temperature.
A showstopper like a whole salmon en croute should be presented to guests in all its glory, so bring it out on a large platter or even a wooden chopping board before slicing it up and serving it at the table. You can even present it on top of a bed of fresh dill to dress the plate. Pour the dill cream sauce for salmon en croute into a warm serving jug and allow guests to drizzle over their food before devouring.
As I mentioned, I served this salmon en croute as part of a special occasion lunch menu, and if you're keen to recreate it, then I made these parmesan biscuits served with a champagne aperitif and a greengage and hazelnut crumble to finish.
Wine pairing for salmon en croute
Try a Sancerre, Mersault, or an unoaked Chardonnay, which will complement the buttery puff pastry and rich salmon flavors. We need to cut through the dill cream sauce so these white wines will pair wonderfully. Read more of my basic food and wine pairing tips here.
I'd recommend using a large but shallow baking tray for this easy salmon en croute recipe, as you don't want too much steam around the puff pastry as it won't crisp up. You will also need a large mixing bowl, food processor or blender, and a saucepan to make your filling and your herb cream sauce.
Store any leftover salmon en croute covered in the fridge and eat within 2-3 days. It can be enjoyed hot or cold. To reheat salmon en croute, place it on a baking tray in the oven at 180 C/355 F for around 15 minutes, but try not to overdo it as it can dry out.
Other recipes to try
Simply put, a food that is wrapped in pastry and baked in the oven is known as 'en croute,' which is French for 'in crust.'
Yes, salmon en croute works well as a cold lunch or picnic item.
Yes, simply reheat in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the puff pastry is hot and crispy.
Other dinner party recipes
Salmon en croute with a dill cream sauce
- food processor
- Frying pan
- Oven tray
- Baking parchment paper
Salmon en croute
- 1 kilogram salmon (whole side)
- 500 grams puff pastry (or use 2 ready rolled sheets)
- 180 grams cream cheese
- 150 grams spinach
- 1 shallot
- 1 egg For egg wash only
- 10 grams Butter
- salt and pepper
Dill cream sauce
- 400 ml Double cream
- 250 ml White wine
- 1 Shallot
- 10 grams butter
- 2 tablespoon parsley
- 2 tablespoon dill
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ lemon
- salt and pepper
Cream cheese filling
- Finely dice the shallot and fry it in the butter over medium heat, before adding the spinach. Cook until the moisture has gone, before allowing it to cool completely.
- Place your cream cheese into a muslin cloth and squeeze out all the excess water. Then add the cream cheese, spinach and shallot to a food processor and blend until smooth and all incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set to one side.
Make the salmon en croute
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C / 400 degrees F.
- Roll out the puff pastry into two rectangles so that both pieces are slightly larger than the salmon.
- Prepare the salmon. Remove the skin carefully with a sharp knife (or fish filleting knife), and trim it if needed (you can use any leftovers to make fish cakes or fish pie).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease it lightly with butter. Lay one of the puff pastry sheets on top.
- Lay the salmon on the puff pastry and spread the cream cheese and spinach filling all over the top, right to the sides.
- Brush an egg wash (one egg mixed with a tablespoon of water) around the edges of the bottom puff pastry sheet and lay the second sheet on top of the fish. Press it down around the salmon and use a fork to crimp the edges together, sealing them.
- Decorate your salmon in puff pastry. Using a sharp knife, gently score a scale pattern into the top making sure you don't cut too deep.
- Brush the egg wash over the whole salmon en croute, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.Rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Dill cream sauce
- Whilst your salmon en croute is in the oven, make the sauce.
- Heat some butter in a pan and fry the diced shallot. Add the white wine and bring it to a simmer, allowing it to cook down by half (around 10-15 minutes).
- Turn down the heat and add the cream, before bringing it back to a simmering point. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes, stirring continuously before adding the dijon mustard.
- Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper just before serving.
You may also like...