Every time I set out to make this recipe, I changed my mind. Always thought it might be too time consuming, fussy and complicated. I was so wrong. This is such a great dish in such a little time. You will have food on the table in one hour including cooking time. You can serve this gorgeous dish at a black-tie dinner or a casual lunch. I actually cooked it for my family on a boring Tuesday. It was the highlight of the day.
Get the best quality puff pastry you can find and always use fresh salmon for this. Frozen salmon is great and convenient for other dishes, but not this one. You can make your own basil pesto, but good quality store bought pesto yields equally good results.
You can make this into individual servings, but I find that the ratio pastry to salmon is not as balanced, unless you really like puff pastry. You can assemble the dish in advance and cook it 30-40 minutes before serving time. If you are a salmon fan, you will love this one.
- 150 grams fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 100 grams Philadelphia style cream cheese
- 2 T basil pesto
- 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
- 650 grams salmon fillet, no bones or skin
- 800 grams ready-rolled frozen puff pastry*, thawed
- 1 egg, slightly beaten with a fork
- Salt and pepper
*The puff pastry I bought consisted of 2 x 400 grams rolled sheets. If the puff pastry you buy comes in one piece, you will need to cut it in two equal pieces.
Preheat oven to 200 C, fan. Lay a piece of greaseproof paper on a baking tray, big enough to fit your salmon. Set aside until needed.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook stirring until onion is soft and beginning to colour. Add spinach all at once. Lower the heat to medium and cook stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted and cooked. Mixture needs to be dry so cook until all the water from the spinach has evaporated. Transfer mixture in a bowl and let it cool for 10 minutes.
Lay one sheet of puff pastry on the paper in the prepared baking tray. Spread Dijon mustard on the skin side of the salmon fillet. Season with salt and pepper. Turn fillet over and lay on the rolled puff pastry (mustard side down). Season top side of salmon with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl mix cream cheese with pesto. Add this to the spinach mixture and mix through. Spread spinach mixture on top side of the salmon.
Brush the surface of the puff pastry with the egg. Bring the other piece of rolled puff pastry on top and cover the salmon. Press with your hands to get rid of any air pockets and stick the two pieces of pastry together. Cut excess pastry. Press again all the way around to ensure that the puff pastry is sealed.
Brush the entire surface of the pastry with the egg. Using the back side of a knife, score the pastry diagonally taking care not to cut the pastry all the way through. Sprinkle pastry with some salt.
Bake salmon for 25-30 minutes, until pastry is golden and salmon is cooked. Serve within half an hour.