I love having guests over for dinner. Gathering around, chatting, drinking and having fun with good friends over a delicious meal is one of life’s greatest pleasures. What I don’t love is being stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is having a good time!
The secret to effortless entertaining is having a few recipes up your sleeve that you can have prepared in advance. Salmon en Croûte or Salmon Wellington is always a winner.
Salmon en Croûte is perfect for two reasons: Firstly, you can have this meal ready to go before your guests even walk in the door (more time for drinks and nibbles!).
Secondly, it looks and tastes like you’ve been slaving in the kitchen all day, when in fact, it only takes a few minutes to prepare. Hooray!
Salmon en Croûte is just a fancy French way of saying salmon wrapped in flaky puff pastry. To keep things interesting, along with the salmon we add a herby, cheesy sauce. You’ll need the following simple ingredients:
- SALMON: It’s common when making recipes ‘en croute’ to use a large piece of meat like a beef fillet (the famous Beef Wellington), pork tenderloin (Pork Wellington) or a whole side of salmon. With salmon, I much prefer to make individual parcels! It’s easier to prepare and it’s easier to serve (no awkward slicing at the table while everyone stares at you, am I right?) Per person, you’ll need a fillet of around 125-150g (4.5 oz.).
- SPINACH: Spinach is a classic partner to fish. I use baby spinach because it is quick and easy to prepare. Make sure you give it a really good wash before you use it.
- CREAM CHEESE: Cream cheese under the salmon cooks into a delicious cheesy sauce inside the pastry. I also mix it with horseradish to make a delicious dipping sauce.
- HERBS: I like to use dill and spring onion (green onions) in this dish, though you can use whichever soft green herbs take your fancy. Basil, parsley, or oregano are all lovely. You could add a little lemon zest for freshness.
- HORSERADISH: I love horseradish with fish. For simplicity, I use horseradish from the jar.
- PUFF PASTRY: I use ready-rolled puff pastry from the fridge at the grocery store. Especially if you are entertaining you have enough on your hands without fussing around with making pastry. Keep it simple.
The complete ingredient list and detailed instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
A salmon Wellington looks like it is much more work than it actually is! I always say that the oven actually does most of the work for you.
- First, trim the skin from your salmon fillets. It’s easiest to do this by pressing down with the palm of your hand on the salmon and using a sharp knife to cut the salmon skin from underneath. Pat the pieces dry and return them to the fridge.
- Next, blanch the spinach. Place the spinach in a heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over the top, stir for 30 seconds, then drain and refresh with cold water. Squeeze as much liquid as you possibly can out of the spinach (too much moisture can make your pastry soggy), then dice the spinach, dill and spring onions finely.
- Stir the chopped greens together with cream cheese, horseradish, egg yolk and a pinch of nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
- Roll out your pastry on a lightly floured surface, divide into 4 pieces large enough to completely wrap each fillet, and place a salmon filet skin side up in the centre of each. Spoon over the cheese filling, then wrap the pastry around the fillets. Flip over so the filling is on the bottom and tuck the shorter ends underneath.
- Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle over some sesame seeds, then transfer the puff pastry-wrapped salmon to an oven tray lined with baking paper and bake for 35 minutes at 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6 until puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately with a fresh green salad and a glass of icy cold white wine, rosé or Champagne.
Frequently Asked Questions
How far in advance can I prepare Salmon Wellingtons?
Up to 24 hours, though I prefer to make them in the morning of the day that I am cooking them. The longer they sit around, the higher the chance of your pastry going soggy. Only apply the egg wash an hour before serving.
Can I freeze Salmon Wellingtons?
Here in Germany, the supermarkets all sell frozen Salmon Wellingtons around Christmas time as it is a popular Christmas dish. I personally haven’t frozen them at home and I suspect home-freezing is likely to make them go a bit soggy.
Can I keep Salmon Wellington warm?
Yes! I’ve done this loads as dinner party timing doesn’t always go to plan. Just turn the oven down to around u003cstrongu003e70-80°C / 160°Fu003c/strongu003e (with the door ajar for a few minutes to let the heat out). They’ll keep this way for an hour or so, but they are considerably better served fresh.
Don’t fancy fish? How about making a Pork Wellington instead? This dish, made from Pork Tenderloin is an absolute showstopper and always impresses when you bring it to the table!
More Salmon Recipes
Not only is salmon delicious, but it’s good for you too! I love cooking with salmon, check out some of my favourite salmon recipes below!
Salmon Wellington Recipe
Salmon En Croûte (Salmon Wellington)
- 500 g salmon fillets, 4 pieces, 125g ea.
- 100 g baby spinach leaves
- 100 g cream cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp horseradish
- small bunch of fresh dill, finely diced
- 2 small spring onions, diced
- pinch of nutmeg
- sea salt and black pepper
- 4 tsp garlic or herb butter
- 350 g ready-rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 150 g cream cheese
- 2-3 Tbsp horseradish
- lemon juice
- PREPARE: Use a sharp knife to cut the skin from the fillets, pat dry with a paper towel, and chill until needed. Heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6 and line an oven tray with baking parchment paper.
- BLANCH SPINACH: Wash the spinach well, then place it into a heatproof bowl. Pour over boiling water, stir, for 30 seconds, then drain and refresh in cold water. Squeeze out as much water as you possibly can, then wrap it in a paper towel and squeeze again. Dice finely.
- MAKE CHEESE FILLING: In a medium bowl, stir together the spinach, cream cheese, egg yolk, dill, spring onions and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.
- ASSEMBLE: Roll out the pastry and cut it into 4 pieces large enough to wrap around the salmon. Spread a teaspoon of garlic and herb butter down the middle of each pastry rectangle, and place a salmon fillet on top, skin side facing up. Divide the cheese filling between the fillets, then wrap the pastry around the salmon. Turn the fillets over so the filling is on the bottom, then tuck the shorter ends underneath.
- BAKE: Place the salmon parcels onto the prepared baking sheet, brush generously with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. You can use a butter knife to gently press a diamond pattern on the top of the parcels if you like. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until well-puffed and golden brown.
- MAKE SAUCE: While the Salmon Wellingtons are baking, stir together the cream cheese, horseradish, and lemon juice, then season the sauce with a few grinds of salt and pepper.
- SERVE: Serve hot with the horseradish sauce and a fresh green salad.
Wine recommendation: A well-chilled dry white or sparkling wine.
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