Finnish Salmon Pie

2016 Recipe No. 44

One of my big dreams is to regularly have dinners where people from totally different backgrounds can get together. I want a big table, good conversations, and of course the food needs to be up for the occasion.

Here’s one thing I’ll have to bring to the table- a new puff pastry technique. Most recipes call for folding butter into the dough over and over. A freezer and cheese grater can end up saving so much time.

I put the new puff pastry to the test and looked to Finland for some inspiration. This pie was filled with chunks of cooked salmon, capers, onion, and sauce. It may be one of my favorites from this past year.

Thing I Learned #1 – This dish is called Lohipiirakka in Finland, and fits the Finnish affinity for salmon. Salmon makes appearances in soups, stews, casseroles, and many other things all over the Nordic country.

The Process

Make puff pastry by freezing butter and grating it into flakes. This is way easier than meticulously folding in layer after layer of butter. Mix the flakes with flour, knead into a dough. Add water and lemon juice as necessary.

Roll the puff pastry into sheets. Cut out large circles big enough to cover the baking dish or pie tin.

In a saucepan, melt butter with flour. Add whole milk. Cut the salmon into pieces and cook it in this liquid. Introduce the chopped onions, capers, and other seasonings.

Lay puff pastry over the baking dish. Pour in the salmon and its gravy. Top with the other circle of puff pastry.

Bake for 40 minutes at 400º

Thing I Learned #2 – One Finnish variation on this dish aims to make it extra, extra peppery– on par with a salmon meat pasty.

Ingredients

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons of butter

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour

3 teaspoons of cold water

A splash of lemon juice

1 1/2 pounds of salmon

3/4 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons of capers

4 green onions

Salt

Pepper

Paprika

Step-By-Step

Make the Crust

  1. Freeze the butter stick overnight
  2. Grate the butter into small flakes
  3. Mix the flakes with a cup of flour
  4. Knead until dough is even consistency
  5. Refrigerate for 45 minutes to rise
  6. Roll out the sheets of puff pastry dough
  7. Cut into circles large enough to line the baking container
  8. Preheat the oven to 400º
  9. Line the base of a pie dish or baking container with puff pastry
  10. In a saucepan, melt the rest of the butter and add flour
  11. Add milk
  12. Remove salmon skin and cut the salmon into small pieces
  13. Add salmon pieces to the saucepan
  14. Add chopped green onions, capers, salt, pepper, and paprika
  15. Pour the creamy salmon mixture into the pie
  16. Top with one more circle of puff pastry
  17. Optional: Top the puff pastry with an egg wash to brown
  18. Bake for 40 minutes, or until top is golden
  19. Let cool for ten minutes

Thing I Learned #3 – Typically the dish is served with a bit of dark beer. Other things that can go in the pie include cooked rice, mushrooms, or boiled eggs.

Serving This Sucker

Pair this thing up with a dark beer. I went with a Blackwatch Dark Cream Ale by Portland Brewing.

In The Future

In all honesty, this was one of my favorite dishes from this whole yearlong project. I don’t think I would change a thing.

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