Salmon & Baingan

Indian En- Croute

“Every record you hear, there’s a piece of me in it” it’s a paraphrased quote attributed to James Brown, the Godfather of Soul. There may be some truth in the statement, given that he’s the most sampled musical artist in history. When something’s good it can’t help but inspire and inform others who are also on their creative journey…re-mixed, sampled, plagiarism, whatever definition you choose imitation is widely regarded as the best form of flattery. Inspired by JB’s ‘Papa Don’t Take No Mess’ and the riff it carries, I took to re-mixing a classic, it’s a back-handed complement to French inspired cuisine. Taking the en-croute method and blending it with Indian style smoky Baingan Ki Burtha (crushed spiced aubergine). Layering the aubergine with big fat funky beats of prunes, citrus zest, mustard and fennel seeds it’ll make your taste buds slide, shimmy and perform the splits.

This French inspired Indian Salmon en Croute is no Codfather but it’s definitely the Papa when it comes to funked up fish.

Serves up to 6

  • 500g salmon side, skinned and butterflied
  • 3tbs olive oil
  • 1 x onion
  • 200g aubergine, diced
  • tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 200g prunes
  • I orange, zest and juice
  • salt to season
  • 320g puff pastry, ready made
  • 1 egg, cracked and fork whisked.
Baingan salmon en croute

How To Make Indian Salmon En-Croute

Using frying pan over a medium heat, warm the oil and soften the onions until translucent, now pop in the seeds frying until they pop a little then add the aubergine chunks and cook until it’s yielded its strength and become soft and mushed, around 10 minutes. Leave to cool. Then using a food processor, tip in the aubergine, onions, prunes, orange zest and juice, season with a dash of salt and pulse until you have a rough paste.

Take the salmon side and trim off the tapered ends and edges until you have nice even slab of salmon and slice lengthways along the thick edge until it opens like a book i.e. butterflied NOT cut into two separate pieces. Spoon the blender contents into the salmon side forming a sandwich with the filling in the middle of the salmon. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 1600.

Use a rolling pin dusted with a little flour and roll out the puff pastry so that it’s big enough to slice into two pieces i.e. one for the bottom of the salmon side and one for the top allowing for an overlap of 2-3cm of pastry on each piece. Place the salmon on the bottom pastry piece and fold the sides up over the salmon, lay the other pastry piece over the top and seal the edges with a little water, ensuring that the fish is encased without any gaps. Score the top gently and wash with the egg. Pop the salmon in a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry has risen and gorgeously tanned. Using a knife gently slide into the top of the salmon in the middle of the piece, removing it to test the heat of the knife, if it’s too hot to place on your lips it’s ready! Remove, leave to rest for 10 minutes and then slice into even pieces and serve with chaat masala fries and courgette sabzi.

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