~ Summer Herb and Wild Salmon Pie with Fresh Garden Peas ~
A Picnic at the Bottom of my Garden
|Summer Herb and Wild Salmon Pie with Fresh Garden Peas|
Tuesday 26th July 2011
Mardi 26 Juillet 2011 ~ Ste Anne
|My wonderful French Garden Table and Chairs at the bottom of my Garden ~ perfect for Picnics!|
How wonderful it is to be able to pack up a picnic and not to travel too far, no squeezing into a hot car and worrying about forgetting the salt, plates or fizzy pop etc ~ we often picnic at the bottom of the garden, amongst the lavender and my wild meadow flower garden ~ the air heavy with scent and the sound of bees, and if anything is forgotten, then it’s a 30 second walk back to the kitchen to collect it!
|Surrounded by the heady scent of lavender and lavendula|
|Wild meadow flowers and grasses.|
The other wonderful part of a summer picnic, is the range of seasonal produce that is on offer at this time of the year ~ fresh garden peas, broad beans, watercress, potatoes, artichokes and courgettes to name just a few. And the herbs are just amazing, my herb garden is bursting at the seams at present! I am particularly pleased with my sorrel as well as my tarragon and lovage.
|One of my Sorrel plants|
Wild salmon is also at its best right now which led me to devise this recipe ~ a way of “showcasing” all that is seasonal, as well as mainly local, with the exception of the Salmon which came from Scotland. This pie would grace any summer dinner party table, but it is also humble enough (as in humble pie!) to be served on a rustic picnic, whether it be by the seaside, on a hill top or at the bottom of my garden!
|Don’t forget the hamper and wine too!|
This is an original recipe of mine that was published in Country Kitchen magazine to promote English summer picnics, but it has been made many times since then and is a family favourite.The combination of wild summer herbs and salmon with the sweetness of garden peas is divine and yet simple and uncomplicated; try to use local seasonal produce when making this pie, it will cut back on “food miles” and support our local producers, thus making it a tasty pie with a conscience!
|Summer Herb and Wild Salmon Pie with Fresh Garden Peas|
Pies are quintessential British fare and are designed exactly for the benefits of a picnic – easy portable food where the wrapping is the pastry itself, what can be easier or more convenient. With the exception of the raised pork pies and chicken and ham pies, all of the pies can be made on the morning of the adventure or the night before. All that is needed to supplement these crusty and crumbly delights are some pickles, chutneys and mustard with fresh assorted salads, fruit, crisps, bottles of pop and a flask of tea, or wine if you are NOT driving to the bottom of the garden!
|I love to get creative with the decorations!|
Pie Snippets, or a Slice of Pie History
|A pie I made in an old pie mould|
Medieval pastry was known as “huff paste” and was eaten by mainly servants – their employers would discard it as it was seen as “packaging” for the tasty morsels that was the filling. The flour was stronger than ours of today and suet along with hot water was often mixed with it to make a very robust pastry case, no wonder the gentry discarded it! The huff paste was moulded into a variety of shapes and sizes, called “coffyns” or “coffers”. A benefit of these early pies was that the paste (pastry) preserved the meat filling for up to 3 months if sealed with clarified butter. Pastry gradually became more refined and pies and tarts became lighter and more elegant, with sweet egg tarts and fruit pies making an appearance by the end of the seventeenth century. Eating “Humble Pie” – an expression which we all use from time to time; during the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, the expression was used in its literal sense. Umble pie was made for the servants and those “below the stairs”. Umble pie was made from “umbles” or “numbles”, which was deer offal – the prize cuts obviously making their way to the tables “upstairs”! Therefore, to eat Humble or Umble Pie, was to show your position in life. Anyway, time for the recipe ~ I hope you enjoy it!
Picnic Pie Recipe:
Summer Herb and Wild Salmon Pie with Fresh Garden Peas
Now is the time to celebrate all that is good about British summer produce; here we have a recipe which uses a selection of lovely seasonal ingredients, all destined to make our ultimate summer pie an absolute winner! Fresh wild salmon, garden peas, spring onions, new potatoes and a medley of summer herbs – all encased in buttery short crust pastry! This pie is sophisticated enough to grace any fine dining table, but is also a wonderful addition for the summer picnic basket. Serve this pie with baby new potatoes, summer salad leaves and a bottle of chilled English wine. NB: It might seem time consuming to bake the pastry case blind before adding the filling, but it really does make a difference to achieving a crispy crust, instead of the usual soggy bottom! (Serves 6 to 8 people)
275g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g butter, chilled and cubed
100g hard cooking margarine or white vegetable fat, chilled and cubed
1 large free-range egg yolk
1 large free-range egg, beaten for the glaze
200g cream cheese
2-3 tablespoons crème fraiche
Juice of half a lemon
2 large free-range eggs, beaten
2 large free-range egg yolks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chervil
1 large spring onion, trimmed and chopped, including green
100g fresh garden peas
4 new potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
300g fresh salmon steaks, cut into ½” cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 200C/180C Fan or Gas Mark 6. Grease and line a 26cm loose-based tart/flan tin.
Blanch the peas for 1 minute in boiling water, drain and put to one side to cool. Boil the new potato cubes in boiling water for about 5 minutes, until soft but still holding their shape. Drain and set aside to cool.
Whiz the flour, butter, margarine and salt together in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (Alternatively, rub the fats into the flour with your fingertips or with a pastry blender.) Add the egg yolk and about 2 to 3 tablespoons of cold water, pulse until mixture just comes together. Knead lightly in a floured board. Cut off one third and wrap both pieces in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out the larger piece and line the tart/flan tin with the pastry, trimming off the excess pastry that hangs over the edges, reserve these for decorating the top of the pie. Line the pastry with baking paper and add some baking beans. Bake blind for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the paper and the baking beans, and brush some of the beaten egg (reserved for the glaze) over the base of the pastry case – cook for a further 5 to 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, crème fraiche, lemon juice, beaten eggs, egg yolks, fresh herbs and the chopped spring onion. Mix well and then season to taste.
Place the par-boiled potatoes and peas into the base of the pastry case. Arrange the fresh salmon pieces evenly over the top of the potatoes ad peas. Pour the cream cheese and herb filling mixture over the top of the salmon and vegetables, smoothing so that the filling is evenly covered.
Take the remaining piece of pastry from the fridge and roll it out to fit the top of the pie, seal the edges together and make 2 or 3 slits in the top for the steam to escape. Roll the pastry trimmings and cut out shapes, I used fish shapes, but leaves are also attractive! Brush the beaten egg over the top of the pie and then place the pastry shapes on top, brushing with beaten egg once again.
Bake the pie on a pre-heated baking tray for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and the filling is cooked; to check when the filling is cooked, insert a skewer in the centre, the skewer should come away clean and feel hot to the touch.
Cool the pie for 1 hour in the tin before serving. The pie can be made the night before a picnic, and kept in the fridge or a cool pantry overnight. Transport the pie to the picnic in the tart/flan tin resting on top of a wooden breadboard, and don’t forget the knife!
See you soon ~ happy picnicking!
KarenNB: This recipe has been entered in the: