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Air Fryer Salmon En Croute Extract taken from Poppy Cooks: The Actually Delicious Air Fryer Cookbook by Poppy O’Toole (Bloomsbury, £20 Hardback) Photography © Haarala Hamilton
October 2023
Reading time 2 Minutes

Salmon wrapped up in a lovely bit of pastry - you can't go wrong

Yes, we love a bit of fast food, and yes, a takeaway is nice every so often, but a homely plate of salmon en croute with asparagus? I'm instantly taken home with my nan, having a lovely ol' time.
  • 160g watercress
  • 30g flatleaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 egg yolk, plus 1 lightly beaten egg to glaze
  • 1 side of skinless salmon fillet (about 800g)
  • 2–3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 sheets of ready-made puff pastry
  • salt and ground black pepper

Set a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the watercress and cook for three to five minutes, until any water has been released and evaporated. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out any excess water, roughly chop and add it to a mixing bowl. Add the parsley, crème fraîche, lemon zest and egg yolk to the bowl, stir to combine and season generously.

Unroll the puff pastry sheets and place one of them on a piece of greaseproof paper.

Trim the salmon to fit onto one puff pastry sheet and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Lightly season it with salt and pepper, then smear the top with Dijon mustard. Sit the salmon in the middle of the pastry and spread the watercress mix across the top. Top with the second sheet of pastry. Using your hands, smooth out any air bubbles and crimp the edges, sealing it all up. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the air fryer to 200C. Take the salmon parcel out of the fridge and brush the pastry with the beaten egg. Use a knife to make a small incision in the top.

Using the greaseproof paper, lift the salmon into the air-fryer basket and bake for 20–25 minutes, until golden. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Keep it classic with this dish. I serve it with a green salad or air-fryer asparagus, herb butter and a glass of cold Champagne. Why not? If you’re whipping this up, it’s a special occasion.

A side of pickled cucumber is also a classic serving. To make a quick pickle, cut a cucumber in half lengthways, use a teaspoon to scoop out and discard the seeds. Thinly slice the cucumber and place it in a colander. Sprinkle with one teaspoon of sea-salt flakes and leave for 10 minutes, then squeeze dry. In a saucepan add 50ml/three tablespoons of white wine vinegar, two tablespoons of white sugar and one tablespoon of water and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once cooled, add in the cucumber and leave for a further 20–30 minutes before eating.

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