Salmon and white asparagus pate en croute is a Belgian pate, which has a thin, baked layer of dough as protection. Unlike many recipes on the basis of smoked salmon only that do not need to be heated, the ingredients for this pate are put through a meat grinder and then baked in the oven. And to celebrate spring, this pate also has white asparagus embedded in this luxurious salmon pate.
The art of making salmon and white asparagus pate en croute
In this recipe we can use all our creativity and employ our cooking skills. We use eggs and crème fraiche as thickeners that can handle heat. Use the meat grinder to discover that fresh, fatty fish grinds with minor resistance. Further, we peel white asparagus and make a quick dough that we roll out for the croute. And by using a mixture of vegetables (here we used shallots and red peppers) and herbs (dill, ground pepper corns and tarragon) we create an excellent pallet. But be careful with salt as the smoked salmon already has lots. Finally, the oven bake does not take place au bain marie (see pate de campagne with duck), but plainly in the oven to ensure the pate gets cooked quickly without losing much moisture.
- meat grinder
- dough pin
- terrine (1 quart, 1 liter)
Salmon and asparagus pate
Ingredients for the pate
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill if fresh triple the amount
- 1 tsp tarragon if fresh triple the amount
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 2 tsp sea salt flakes
- 2 shallots 1.8 oz(50 g)
- 5 oz (150 g) white asparagus
- 2 large eggs 4.8 oz (135 g)
- 3.5 oz (100 g) creme fraiche
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 7.1 oz (200 g) smoked salmon
- 9.5 oz (270 g) salmon filet
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp ouzo, raki, Pernod or Riccard
- 1 tbsp brandy
Ingredients for the dough
- 3.53 oz (100 g) white flour (and some extra for rolling)
- 2.4 oz (69 g) water
- 1/2 tsp flaked sea salt
- a 3 inch wide, 20 inch long sheet of baking paper optional
Instruction to make the dough
- Mix flour, salt and water and insure all the flour is absorbed, by continuously folding and pressing the dough. If the though is still moist to the touch add a bit more flour and make a ball
- Let stand, covered, at room temperature for at least 1 hour
- Thereafter, on a floured surface, stretch the dough, fold it, stretch it and press it. In short knead it. Do this for 10 min and make a ball
- Let stand covered for 15 min at room temperature
- Use olive or other vegetable oil to brush the inside surface of the terrine with. Then place the baking paper sheet over the longer side in the terrine to aid release after baking. The latter is optional
- Just before filling the terrine, place the dough on a floured surface and use the dough pin to roll the dough out in a thin layer. Cut pieces out to cover the walls of the terrine and have the dough on one long side be longer, so it can be folded onto the surface later
Instruction to prepare the pate
- Cut the shallots in smaller pieces
- Glaze the onions and the red bell pepper with 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan for 20 minutes at low fire and let cool down
- Cook the asparagus in salted water for 4 minutes, then drain and let cool
- Measure the dill and tarragon
- Mix the eggs with the crème fraiche using a whisk; prepare the lemon juice, salt and pepper ouzo and brandy
- Cut the smoked salmon in 1/2 inch pieces and keep cool
- Ensure the salmon filet is detached from the skin. Also remove any grey meat with a sharp knife. Cut in 1/2 inch pieces. Keep cool
- Mix the smoked and raw salmon pieces in the bowl with the (fresh) herbs, cold and cooked vegetables, salt and pepper, lemon juice, ouzo and brandy.
- Grind the mixture through the coarse and then through the fine mesh of the grinder
- Cool the mixture if necessary further down
- Mix in the eggs and the crème fraiche mixture and process once more through the fine mesh of the grinder
- Then fill the dough covered terrine alternating with ground fish mixture and asparagus, but starting and ending with the ground fish mixture. Close the surface with the flap of dough. Make two small holes in the dough surface so that moisture and steam can be released
Instruction to bake the pate
- Place the terrine without a lid in the oven at 180 C for 45 minutes
- Take the terrine out of the oven and place a stone or hard inert surface on the dough covered pate and place a 3 lb weight on this. Some juices may appear. Let it cool down and then place in the refrigerator with the weight on. At the least overnight, but 2-3 days is preferred to gain more intense flavor
- To release the pate, use a paring knife to cut between the dough and the terrine sides. Lift the pate from the terrine with the baking sheet or alternatively put the terrine upside down on a wooden cutting board. Then use a cooks knife to cut a slice.
- Serve with some salad leaves, some gurkins on toast or ciabatta.
- Crème fraiche is a diary product containing 10-45% of butterfat with a pH of 4.5. It is made by inoculating milk cream with a bacteria culture to sour it. It is less sour than sour cream and usually it has a higher fat content. We used here a 30% crème fraiche.
- Feel free to substitute vegetables and herbs: try carrot and fennel or use parsley.
- In the case of a milk allergy, substitute the crème fraiche by 30 g of a neutral tasting vegetable oil. For example sun flower or rape seed oil. In the case of a wheat gluten allergy, make a dough from buckwheat flour, which is a seed and not a grain and therefore gluten free.
- The oven time is sufficient to bring the interior of the terrine to 63 C, the temperature where salmon is fully cooked (the proteins denatured).