One of the nice things about summertime is that I get to spend it hanging out with my husband. From about the middle of August to the end of May he works as a teacher, so when June and July roll around, unbound by schedule, we do mostly what we want to do. Of course this includes cooking and eating as often as possible.
You might remember the especially good Spanish-style omelette with zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan and goat cheese featured on the blog back in April. Once again, the husband of the musician who cooks is back with another creative contribution that I like to call “One Pan Salmon Pie.” It’s a take on a Spanish dish called Empanada Gallega, a typical savory pie with a puff pastry-type dough that’s filled with fish and vegetables sautéed in olive oil. When we visited Spain many years ago, we did a lot of driving to cities and towns around the country. This tends to make you hungry. The great thing about these Spanish towns is that they abound in hole-in-the-wall tapas bars with amazing food discoveries. A tuna-filled empanada with a flaky crust, the filling moist with a rich olive oil, caramelized onions and roasted red bell peppers was one of many food memories etched in our minds from that trip.
The point to this recipe is to keep it simple, so a couple of the ingredients can be canned or pre-packaged to save a good deal of extra effort on the cook’s part. If you want, you can substitute steel-head trout for the salmon. For the tomato sauce I used a favorite pasta sauce recipe made with tomato, garlic and fresh basil from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. You can use any homemade or high-quality tomato sauce that you have. If you have the sauce already made, this dish is one of those things that you can throw together easily for a light dinner. Pair it with some crusty bread, a green salad and a fruity red wine, and there you go.
One Pan Salmon Pie
1/2 lb. skinless sock-eye salmon fillet
1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
2 roasted red bell peppers, quartered and sliced
1/2 cup tomato-garlic-basil sauce
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
one sheet of pre-packaged puff pastry (9-1/2″ square), thawed, square edges trimmed to create a 9″ circle
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste, about 1/4 teaspoon each
1 egg white, lightly whisked
a 10″ oven-proof skillet or fry pan
Preheat oven to 400ºF. In the pan, sauté onions in the olive oil until translucent. Add the red bell peppers and continue to cook until onions are slightly caramelized. Salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato sauce and paprika, and cook for 5 minutes to combine flavors.
While the sauce is cooking, cut the salmon into 1/2″ pieces. Add the fish and cook until fish is a light pink color, about 3 to 5 minutes-be careful not to overcook at this point. Stir in the oregano and thyme and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Filling should be moist, not dry. Spread filling evenly in pan with spatula, and cover with the 9″ puff pastry circle. Cut several slits in the dough to allow heat to escape, using scissors or a sharp paring knife. Brush dough with egg white.
Place pan in oven on a rack in the middle position. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until crust is a golden brown color. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice into four pieces and serve.
Serves 2 to 4 people