Meals and Courses

  • 25 g (1 oz) butter
  • 175 g (6 oz) asparagus, trimmed
  • 600–625 g (1lb 2oz–1lb 4 oz) salmon fillet, about 18–20 cm (7–8 inches) long, skinned
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 500 g (1 lb) ready-made puff pastry, defrosted if frozen
  • 100 g (3½ oz) medium-fat soft cheese
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1½ teaspoons green peppercorns, drained and chopped (optional)
  • 50 g (2 oz) sunblush tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
  • beaten egg, to glaze
  • salt flakes, for sprinkling
  • salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the asparagus and fry for 2–3 minutes until just softened, then season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the salmon with lemon juice and season.

Roll the pastry out thinly on a lightly floured surface and trim to a 35 cm (14 inch) square, then trim a 3.5 cm (1½ inch) strip off one of the sides. Put the salmon on top so that the long side of the salmon is parallel with the narrower side of the pastry rectangle.

Dot the cheese on top of the salmon, then sprinkle with the lemon rind, herbs, peppercorns if using, and tomatoes. Arrange the asparagus on top, alternating their direction.

Brush the pastry around the salmon with beaten egg, then fold the narrower sides up and over the salmon, pressing to seal. Cut the excess from the top ends of pastry, then fold and press to wrap the salmon like a parcel.

Brush the parcel with beaten egg and transfer to a baking sheet. Decorate (see page 16), and sprinkle with salt flakes, if liked. Bake in a preheated oven, 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6, for 35–40 minutes. Check after 25 minutes and cover with foil if the pastry seems to be browning too quickly. To test if the salmon is cooked, insert a knife into the centre, wait 3 seconds, then remove; if the knife feels hot it is cooked. Cut into thick slices and serve with lemon wedges.

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