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Salmon Fillet in Puff Pastry w/Citrus Beurre Blanc

Salmon Ingredients:

Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 (3-ounce) salmon fillets, skinned and boned
1 egg
1 teaspoon water
Pinch of salt
2 (17-ounce) packages frozen puff pastry, thawed

This is definitely a special occasion dish. It can be made early in the day and then taken from the refrigerator to the oven. We always have a lot of fun in our kitchen cutting out the fish design and snipping scales with the scissors. Halibut, sea bass, or any other firm white fish can be substituted. This is not only easy, but impressive.

Salmon Directions

Whisk together the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper in a bowl. Brush this mixture over the salmon fillets; set aside.

Make a cardboard cutout of a fish with a tail by referring to the picture on page 99. Make sure that your cutout is slightly larger than the salmon fillets so that it will completely encase the fillets, plus have a small border beyond them to allow you to seal the pastry.

Beat the egg, water and a pinch of salt in a bowl; set aside. Roll out each sheet of puff pastry, 1 at a time, on a lightly floured surface. Cut out a total of 8 pastry fish, 2 per sheet, by tracing around the cardboard fish with a sharp knife. Place the pastry fish in a single layer on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet or a lightly sprayed sheet tray. Refrigerate the trays of fish as they are completed.

Work with 2 pastry fish at a time, keeping the remaining in the refrigerator. Lightly brush each pastry fish with the egg mixture. Place 1 salmon fillet on 1 of the pastry fish. Mold the salmon fillet to follow the shape of the pastry fish cutout. Brush the egg mixture lightly around the edges of the pastry. Cover the fillet with the second pastry fish, making sure the fillet is completely covered. Press the edges of the pastry together with fingertips, and then use the tines of a fork to make a tighter seal. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (The recipe can be prepared several hours ahead to this point. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to bake.)

Brush the egg mixture lightly over the entire fish. Repeat with the remains pastry fish and salmon fillets.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with citrus beurre blanc.

Note: Before baking the fish, you can make them look more whimsical by making little snips with a sharp scissors over the bodies for scales and a few strokes with a paring knife on the tails. Also, a single caper can be inserted to simulate a fish eye.

Citrus Beurre Blanc Ingredients

1 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon (3 tablespoons)
1 shallot, minced (3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 16 chunks
Salt to taste

Combine the wine, lemon juice and shallot in a small saucepan. Simmer until the mixture is reduced to 1 tablespoon. Add the heavy cream and simmer until reduced by half. Remove from heat and add 1 piece of butter at a time while whisking constantly. You may need to return the saucepan to heat in order to incorporate all the butter. Be careful not to get sauce too hot or it will break. Strain sauce through a fine mesh sieve. Season with salt. Makes 1-1/2 cups.

Note: This sauce can be made ahead and kept warm in a thermal container.