And now for my first recipe on this blog;
I call it Scrumptous Salmon Pockets. An absolutely gorgeous treat for any night of the week that is suprisingly easy to make (for any level of “chef”), and looks like a gourmet meal when presented right. Afterall, presentation IS everything, whether you’re cooking for one, or serving it up at a dinner party.
First up, the ingredients:
- Salmon (a fillet each per person, and skin removed)
- Fresh Thyme (chopped finely and used sparingly)
- Fresh Tarragon (chopped finely and used sparingly)
- A packet of low-fat cream
- Swiss Brown mushrooms (about 3 or 4 per salmon pocket, sliced)
- Leek (one stalk per salmon. Get the whitest you can find. They just taste better. Chopped finely too)
- Dijon Mustard (about half a tablespoon per salmon, but this depends on your taste)
- 1 egg (beaten, just to use as an adhesive for the pockets)
- Low-fat Butter (melted, to brush over the pockets to help them brown)
- Filo Sheets (use 5 sheets per salmon pocket)
- Salt & Pepper (to taste)
- Optional: Rocket salad and cherry tomatoes.
Now, I rarely EVER use measurements so I couldn’t give you the “proper” amount for any of the above. I use my own sense of taste (and once in a while, the tastebuds of those around me), to judge whether I need more of this, or less of that. I like to call it “trial and error”, and more often than not, it comes out PERFECT. 🙂
Here’s what you do:
- After removing the skin of the salmon with a very fine, sharp knife, wash the salmon and then season with a little salt and pepper. I hardly ever use salt in my cooking except when working with fish. Set aside.
- Heat up a non-stick frying pan and sear the salmon on each side for about 30 seconds. If you’re not using a non-stick, then coat the bottom of the pan ever so lightly with EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). Set the salmon aside.
- In the same pan, add the mushrooms and leek and fry till the leeks are translucent. Add the thyme, tarragon, cream and mustard to the vegetables. Let the cream sauce come to a boil, then turn off the heat and let cool a little (not cold, just cool enough to add to the filo sheets and not “burn” through).
- Once done, turn the heat of your oven to about 180°c, and set the timer for about 30 minutes while you prepare the packets. Or you could also set the oven on a preheat setting, if your oven allows you to.
- While the oven is doing its thing, coat your workspace (couter-top, large dry chopping board or baking board) with flour so the filo doesn’t stick.
- Carefully separate 5 sheets of filo (together) from the rest of the sheets. You may need to cut the sheets in half if they’re very large. Just make sure it’s big enough to fold over the salmon and mushroom/leek mix, like an envelope.
- Lay the ready filo sheets and spoon the mushroom mix onto the middle of the sheet. It will act like a bed for the salmon.
- Lay the salmon fillet on top of the mix.
- Now …. fold the sides in, and brush some egg mix on the inside of the folds (so that when you fold the remaining sides, they stick)
- Now fold the other two ends over and brush the egg mix again to seal the pocket.
- Before doing anything else, brush the melted butter over the whole side with the folds. Then carefully flip it over (folded sides down) and brush the whole top with butter as well)
- Repeat with all your pockets.
- If you have a baking dish or tray, fantastic. Coat lightly with butter, or EVOO, to prevent the pockets from sticking. If you don’t have a tray or dish, just place the pockets onto coated foil and place them in the oven.
- The pockets should only take about 10-15 minutes. But the best way to tell if they’re done, is to open the oven and check if the filo sheets have browned evenly, and are crispy when you “prod” them with a fork or knife.
- Once you’re satisfied with how they look, get them out of the oven. Remember that everything else has been cooked, so essentially all you’re doing is crisping the filo.
- Once your pockets are ready and out of the oven, use an extremely sharp knife and carefully slice them in half (so that everyone can see the beautiful insides!!)
- Place them strategically on a clean, flat plate and add some rocket leaves on the side. For more colour, chop some cherry tomoatos in half and place them on the leaves.
Voila!!! Your very own gourmet meal at home!! Ready to be devoured. I know the instructions may seem daunting, but they are detailed and it is a surprisingly easy recipe.