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The best salmon en croûte

The best salmon en croûte

Here is Martha Collison's luxurious centrepiece for your Easter table – beautiful salmon encased in buttery, flaky pastry. Salmon en croûte can be rich, so it's with a chermoula-style filling instead of the classic watercress. Curing the salmon maximises flavour and gives the best texture, but skip this step if you’re in a hurry. 

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  • Serves6
  • CourseMain meal
  • Prepare30 mins
  • Cook40 mins
  • Total time1 hr 10 mins
  • Plusovernight curing

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For the cure

  • 25g sea salt flakes
  • 20g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zest
  • 2 x 500g packs No.1 Scottish Prime Fillet of Salmon (look for pieces that are the same size)

For the filling

  • 1 clove/s garlic clove
  • 25g coriander
  • 25g pack flat leaf parsley
  • 2 preserved lemons
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 50ml Essential Olive Oil
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes, or to taste (optional)
  • 80g pack spinach
  • ½ x 250g mascarpone
  • ½ lemon, juice and extra wedges to serve (optional)

For the pastry

  • Plain flour, for rolling
  • 500g block puff pastry
  • 1 British Blacktail Free Range Medium Egg, beaten


  1. Prepare the cure the day before by combining the salt, sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl. Remove the skin from the salmon fillets, then run your fingers over the top to check for any small bones and remove.

  2. Place the salmon into a shallow bowl and rub both pieces with the cure. Cover with baking parchment or foil, then weigh it down with a couple of cans and chill for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight.

  3. Place the garlic in a spice grinder, mini chopper or pestle and mortar. Tear in the coriander and parsley (remove any thick, woody stems) and blend until finely chopped. Remove and discard the seeds from the preserved lemons and add what’s left to the mixture with the cumin, olive oil and chilli flakes. Blitz again until well combined, then tip into a mixing bowl.

  4. Finely chop the spinach and add to the herby paste with the mascarpone and lemon juice. Stir well, then set aside. Remove the salmon from the fridge, drain the liquid and rinse well to remove the cure. Pat dry using kitchen paper.

  5. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Lightly flour the work surface and cut ⅔ of the pastry block. Roll it out into a rectangle large enough to fully wrap around the salmon, approx 35x28cm. Place 1 salmon fillet into the centre, then top with the filling. Sandwich the second fillet on top, stacking the thinner end with the thickest part of the bottom layer to create an even-shaped block.

  6. Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg. Fold the long sides around the pastry, pinching underneath to create a seam, then fold the short ends up to create a parcel. Flip over and place onto the lined tray.

  7. Using the remaining pastry, create a lattice (see tip). Brush the top with beaten egg, then stretch the lattice to fully cover the top. Brush again with egg, then chill the en croûte until the pastry is firm. You can make and chill it a couple of hours ahead.

  8. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown all over and cooked through. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

Cook’s tip

The lattice top

Making a lattice top for the en croûte creates a professional, polished look – people won’t believe you made it from scratch. You can buy a lattice pastry cutter or go for the DIY approach. Simply roll the leftover pastry into a thin rectangle (28x10cm), then use a sharp knife to make a dashed line of incisions around 2cm long down the long edge, leaving about 0.5cm gap between each one. Continue with a second row, but this time make sure the incisions line up with the gaps. Repeat, alternating rows, until the whole piece is covered. Stretch it over your finished en croûte – it should create a pretty net pattern.

Curing the salmon

Curing the salmon has two purposes. The flavours need time to permeate the flesh, so 24 hours is ideal for seasoning the fish to perfection. Curing also removes moisture and firms up the salmon, so it has a better texture and you’ll avoid the dreaded soggy bottom. It isn’t essential, so skip it if you don’t have time, but I recommend giving it a go.

Time-saving tricks

To make the filling quickly (or to save washing up your food processor), try substituting the herb paste in the recipe for a 95g jar Cooks’ Ingredients Chermoula Paste. Add the spinach, mascarpone and lemon, then continue with the recipe.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


3,191kJ/ 766kcals



Saturated Fat












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