What’s Freezer Week?
It’s freezer week! Every few months I pick a week to do a deep clean of my freezer and I think of ways to use up food items that have been lingering in there for too long. This week I found a package of puff pastry hiding in there that needed a good home. While puff pastry tends to lend itself to sweet recipes, it is also the key ingredient to one of my favorite, more elegant dinner recipes. The Wellington: a pie of English tradition made with fillet of steak topped with pâté (typically mushrooms) then wrapped in a blanket of puff pastry and baked.
Not Your Typical Wellington
However, this is not your typical wellington recipe, since I have no steak and no mushrooms. What I do have though is a nice big bunch of Swiss chard and a few leeks kicking around. Plus, I was craving some trout this weekend. Can a wellington be pescatarian? Hell, ya, and you know what, I like it better this way. In this recipe I get a perfectly cooked tender filet of fish topped with a layer of Swiss chard and then leeks covered in layers of rich buttery flaky puff pastry. It is lighter and brighter than the classic meat and mushrooms. You might even say healthier as well. I have eaten this hot, warm, and cold from the fridge, all equally great.
No trout you say? No problem. I have made this Pescatarian Wellington recipe with both salmon and cod when sustainable is available. You may just have to wrap it up in the puff pastry a little differently, depending on shape and size of filets or sides of fish.
My Pescatarian Wellington recipe can be all prepped up to 24 hours ahead of time. Just remember that after assembling, place wellington in a sealed container in the fridge until your oven is hot and ready to go (see cool fact below). Also remember to brush wellington with egg wash just before baking.
COOL FACT: WHY PUFF PASTRY LOVES TO BE KEPT COLD
Classic puff pastry is said to have 729 layers of flour and butter. The butter, if kept cold and in its solid state, melts quickly when blasted with heat from the oven. This causes steam pockets that form a really puffy pastry.
Photo By Reena Newman
Trout, Leek, and Chard Wellington
- 6 Tbsp butter or olive oil, divided
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, leafy greens roughly chopped stems finely chopped
- 3 leeks white and light green parts, cut in half and finely chopped save dark green stems for soups or stocks
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 3 Tbsp heavy (35%) cream
- All purpose flour for dusting can be gluten-free flour
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to pkg. instructions
- 1 Tbsp ground sumac
- 1 lb fish filet or side of trout, salmon, or even cod skin removed is best, ask your fishmonger
- 1 egg beaten
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet.
- Preheat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add 3 Tbsp (45 mL) butter. When the butter starts to foam, sauté shallots with the garlic until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the Swiss chard, toss and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until wilted, then transfer to a bowl to cool. Once cooled, strain off any excess liquid, finely chop and set aside.
- Melt remaining butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper and continue to sauté until softened,about 5–7 minutes.
- Stir in cream and let it reduce for 1 minute, or until the mixture looks more saucy than wet. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Dust a little flour onto a clean counter and gently unfold or roll out the puff pastry sheet so that it’s large enough to fold around your trout. Prick pastry with a fork a few times, just like you would a pie crust.
- Spread an even layer of Swiss chard down the middle of the puff pastry so that it is the same width as the piece of trout. Layer leeks overtop the Swiss chard.
- Season both sides of the fish with salt, pepper and sumac. Place fish on top of the chard and leeks and fold the pastry around it to enclose. Trim edges of the pastry, if necessary, with a knife; place, seam side down on lined baking sheet.
- Brush top and sides of the pastry with the beaten egg wash, score top of the pastry 3 times with a knife and sprinkle with a little salt.
- Bake 15–18 minutes, depending on thickness of fish filet, and until pastry is puffed and golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before portioning.
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