Salmon Pot Pies

Salmon, leeks and fennel melt together in a silky sauce flecked with herbs and sweet peas. Topped with a flaky pastry crust, Salmon Pot Pies are the ultimate comfort dish.

Image by Caroline West

Salmon & Leek Pot Pie
Serves 4 – 5

You’ll need four 10 oz, or five 8 oz ovenproof containers

3/4 pound of chilled puff pastry or flaky pastry dough, preferably homemade
1/4 cup unsalted  butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, whole or 2%
kosher salt
1 pound fresh salmon, skin and pin bones removed
2 Tbsp oil
3 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only, about 3 large stalks
2 1/2 cups finely diced fennel, about 1 large or two small fennel bulbs, stalks and cores removed
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup shelled peas, thawed if frozen
2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1  Tbsp freshly chopped herbs
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425

Roll the pastry about 1/4” thick and cut into 4 or 5 circles about 1/2” larger than the containers’ rim.  Score the pastry with a knife, cover and refrigerate.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter then add the flour and cook on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes or until the mixture turns golden and smells nutty. Add the milk and whisk continuously until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes.  Season with 1 tsp salt, stir and remove from heat.

Cut the salmon in 1 1/2 inch chunks, cover, and bring to room temperature.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the leeks and 1/2 tsp salt, stirring to coat the leeks with oil. Cook on medium to medium-low heat, partially covered, for about 8 -10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent browning.

Add the fennel, celery and 1/2 tsp salt, stir, and continue cooking, partially covered for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and sweet, stirring occasionally to prevent browning. Don’t rush the cooking of the vegetables; they need time to coax their full flavour potential.

Add the garlic, and stir until aromatic, about half a minute, then add the wine and reduce until no liquid remains.

Transfer the leek and fennel mixture to the white sauce. Add the peas, lemon juice, and tarragon and stir. Check the seasoning, adding more salt or lemon, if necessary.

Season the cubed salmon with 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper if desired, and gently fold the raw fish into the sauce.

Portion into containers and top with a disk of chilled pre-cut pastry, pressing the pastry to the container’s edge. Brush with beaten egg and place on a baking tray.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, rotating the pan during baking until the pastry is puffed and golden.

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