Sunday, 3 February 2013

Salmon in pastry with currants and ginger

This is a really interesting recipe. Almost certainly ye olde English in origin, with it’s combination of spice, sweet fruit and fish, it became something of a signature dish in the 1950s-60s for George Perry-Smith at his groundbreaking Bath restaurant, The Hole in the Wall. Later, Chef Stephen Markwick who’d trained with Perry-Smith also had the dish on his menu, right up until his recent retirement. Interestingly, it doesn’t end there, Chef Andrew Griffin, at Tart Cafe in Gloucester Road, Bristol, who previously worked for Stephen Markwick has also been known to cook it. So, it’s been passed down through different restaurants and chefs for at least 60 years. How about that for a dish’s lineage, eh?

As for the recipe itself I doubt I’m the only one that struggles to envisage the combination of salmon with the sweetness of currants and preserved ginger, but what the hell, I gave it a go anyway and found it works ridiculously well. In fact it’s surprisingly subtle.

I served it with new potatoes, little gem (inspired by my recent lunch at Green Man & French Horn), and Hollandaise…that split, repeatedly just as I was about to serve up. Bastard.

The recipe below is pinched from the incomparable Roast Chicken & Other Stories by Simon Hopkinson; who credits George Perry-Smith.
Salmon in pastry with currants and ginger

Serves 4

You’ll need:-

375g puff pastry
3-4 globes of stem ginger
2 tbsp currants
110g butter, softened
salt and pepper
pinch of ground mace
4x 175g pieces filleted salmon, skinned and boned, cut from a central piece.
1 egg yolk

Divide the puff pastry into four 75g pieces. Roll out very thinly (approx 2-3mm) to approximately 15cm squares (this is of course, dependent on the dimensions of your salmon pieces). Chill on a lightly floured tray in the fridge.

Cut the stem ginger into slivers, and pour a little boiling water on the currants and leave to swell up for 5-10 minutes.
Drain the currants and stir into the butter together with the ginger, salt and pepper, and the mace.

Spread the top of each piece of salmon with the seasoned butter and chill.

Mix the egg yolk with a splash of water and with a pastry brush, paint one side of each piece of puff pastry. Place a piece of salmon in the middle of the egg washed side, butter-side down, and then form a parcel around the fish with the joint on top.

Turn the parcel over, so that the butter side is uppermost. Chill again for 30mins.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

Brush the salmon parcels with more egg yolk and if you fancy it, mark a criss-cross pattern on the top using the blunt side of a small knife.

Place on a buttered baking sheet and cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Apparently George Perry-Smith used to serve this with sauce Messine (A herb and cream sauce) but Simon Hopkinson prefers Hollandaise lightened with whipped cream).


Fiona Beckett said...

Lovely! One of my favourite dishes ever. I always used to order it at Stephen Markwick's

Dan said...

Fiona - This is the one dish that leaves me gutted that I never got to eat at Culinaria.

Lucy said...

I cook Stephen's recipe for dinner parties, really simple, looks professional and always a hit. You must have the slightly tart Sauce Messineto go with it though, and shortcrust pastry helps to mop up the juices.

Rebecca said...

This looks really good! There's a salmon pie in an ancient 70's book of Delia's which uses capers, orange zest olives, sultanas and pine nuts before it is encased in puff pastry - perhaps on a similar vein and also very very delicious.

Dan said...

Lucy - I was thinking it would be good for a dinner party as all the prep can be done in advance. I hear Sauce Messine is what George Perry-Smith served with it.

Rebecca - That defintely sounds like it's in the same spirit. Some of these old recipes are absolutely cracking.

Mark Taylor said...

Good to see you reprising this classic, Dan. Like Fiona, had this many a time at Markwicks and Culinaria - always with sauce messine, one of my favourite sauces. It's also very good the next day served cold as a summery lunchtime snack.

Alicia Foodycat said...

I've been fascinated by that recipe for years, but never been game enough to try it. I am so impressed!

Dan said...

Mark - I'm absolutely apalled I never got to eat at Culinaria before it closed (Markwicks of course being before my time living in Bristol). I'll have to try it with sauce messine next time.

Foodycat - You should give it a go, it's cracking.

Graphic Foodie said...

Very interesting. Admittedly the idea of fish and fruit really twists my melons but it sure looks good.