Salmon en croûte with stem ginger and currants

Ingredients to serve 6

100g unsalted butter, softened
4 knobs of stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped
30g currants
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus a couple of squeezes of juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon leaves
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
Sea salt, black pepper
1.2kg salmon fillet, in one piece (skinned weight
375g puff pastry
1 egg yolk, blended with 1 teaspoon water

An oldie but a goodie, based on Jane Grigson's famed "salmon in pastry", which in turn was based on a dish served many years ago at the Hole in the Wall in Bath. It's one of those strange but magical combinations that has the air of being special every time you try it. If it's a "blow the cholesterol" occasion, you could make a sleek little sauce with crème fraîche, a dash of Dijon mustard and some chopped leafy herbs such as dill, chives and flat-leaf parsley.

Blend the butter in a bowl with the ginger, currants, lemon zest and juice, tarragon, shallot and some seasoning. Halve the salmon fillet horizontally. Season both sides of each piece, then spread half the butter over the top of one piece, sandwich with the other and spread the remaining butter on top of this.

Thinly roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface, and place the salmon in the centre, buttered side down. Trim the long edges so they are just large enough to enclose the salmon, then seal the parcel, painting the rim of the pastry with eggwash to secure it.

Trim the ends, paint these with eggwash and fold in to secure. Place the parcel the right way up, and use the pastry trimmings to decorate it with leaves or a fish, securing them to the top with eggwash. Now paint the top all over with eggwash. The parcel can be made up to half a day in advance, in which case cover and chill it until required.

Preheat the oven to 200C fan/220C/gas mark 7 and bake the pie for about 40 minutes. Serve in slices.

Taken from 'Gorgeous Christmas' by Annie Bell. (Kyle Cathie, £14.99).

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