“She’d put a little fishy on a little dishy when the boat comes in.” So sings the minstrel making his way through a Geordie town. This salmon pie is my version of the fishy on that dishy, 2017 style.
The Geordies were, and still are, a hardy lot. And above them, the cod fishermen from the north of Scotland are hardier still. Where did I get the idea for a salmon pie? Smack in the middle of Scotland, at Aviemore, snowed in, and whiling away the night with whiskey and fishermen.
“We are Vikings!” they’d say, after every round. The barman got sick of us, left us the keys and a notebook and pen to jot down our drinks, and retired. Wouldn’t happen here!
The next day was brutal, and the only thing that saved me from remaining forever in Scotland, a small puddle on the heather, was a salmon pie. I’ve played with it a bit, as all cooks do, and offer you two different ways of filling the pastry. Both work well.
1 packet of puff pastry
500 grams of smoked or cured salmon (I buy the offcuts from #Tassal in Salamanca, and they’re incredibly good value at around $15) cut into smallish pieces
Small bunch of dill, chopped
1 bunch of spring onions (or 1 medium red onion), chopped
1 dessertspoon preserved lemon, chopped finely
1 dessertspoon capers
1 tub approx. 300 grams plain yoghurt
1 egg, beaten lightly with a pinch of salt
#1: Combine ingredients from salmon down to the yoghurt, and mix gently in a large bowl.
With a small rice-bowl sized ring, cut 4 circles from each piece of puff pastry. This should give you 24 pies.
Place them on baking paper on a flat tray, and heat the oven to 180degrees C.
Place a dessertspoon full of the mixture on each circle, and fold over, pressing the edges together with the tines of a fork. Brush the tops of the pies with the egg wash, and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
These babies can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to two days, or if the salmon was fresh, you can freeze them for up to a month. They make a great and easy party snack.
#2: Place the salmon pieces on the pastry circles (or diamonds if you want to make big ones for a main course, cut the pastry across diagonally, and you’ll have 12 nice pies.)
And layer the filling instead of mixing it all together. This is a bit more refined, and don’t be frightened to play with the ingredients.
In the photo you’ll see I put salmon first, then red onion, mint as well as spring onion. Dill I always include, and capers. The preserved lemon is optional.
Then if you want to be really flash, melt a dessertspoon of butter in a hot frypan, toss in a cup of champagne, and then add about 200 mils cream and boil until thicker. Don’t overboil, or you’ll end up with caramel. This is a wonderful and light sauce to moisten the pastry and the salmon. Serve separately in a jug and pass around the guests.