A traditional French dish, this is a hotel banquet favorite. Why? Probably because it’s easy and because you can prepare the salmon packets up to 2 hours before baking and storing them, covered, in the fridge. The puff pastry keeps the salmon moist, and the butter oozes out to add flavor.
5 tablespoons butter
1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 package frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
5 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup dry white wine
Dash lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Sauté leek and carrot until just slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Season salmon fillets with salt and pepper. In a small bowl whisk together egg and milk to make an egg wash.
Spread the sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Dust pastry lightly with flour and, using a rolling pin, roll pastry into a 14-inch square. Using a sharp paring knife, trim the edges of the dough and cut dough into 4 equal squares.
Place 1 tablespoon of the butter and then 1 of the salmon fillets in the center of 1 square and top with 1/4 of the leek and carrot mixture. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the dill.
Fold the edges of the pastry over the salmon and seal using a bit of egg wash along the edges of the pastry. Transfer the salmon packet to the prepared baking sheet with the seam side down. Repeat with remaining ingredients to form a total of 4 salmon packets.
Cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes to firm slightly. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.
Remove salmon packets from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Brush the top of each packet with egg wash. Bake until pastry is golden brown, about 20 to 22 minutes.
While salmon is baking, prepare sauce. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine wine and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is reduced by 1/2, about 5 minutes. Add cream and continue to cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes more. Whisk in remaining 1 tablespoon chopped dill. Taste and add salt and pepper, plus more lemon juice, if desired.
Transfer salmon packets to individual plates, cut in half on a diagonal, and drizzle with cream sauce immediately before serving.
Beverage pairing:Etude Rosé of Pinot Noir. This is an elegant dish that has the richness to call for an elegant white, but also the buoyancy to call for a light-bodied red. The perfect answer is rosé, especially a fine, perky one such as is made year in and year out by Etude in California’s cool Carneros region.