Salmon En Croute

While it may be a tad bit old fashioned, a well made salmon en croute is a definite crowd pleaser. And to make matters better, it is actually much simpler than people would think. I love making salmon en croutes for dinner parties as you can just slice and serve – no need to stagger cook times to make sure everything comes out hot!

The French words ‘En Croute‘ mean ‘in crust’ and that’s exactly what this dish is. All ‘plates en croute’ are just a filling (usually a piece of meat) wrapped in puff pastry and baked. You just need a piece of puff pastry, a beautiful side of salmon, and a few other ingredients to make this dish perfect for entertaining.

When making this dish the most important thing to do is use a good quality salmon. You will want to clean it of all bones and scales, and make sure it is as fresh as possible. It is okay if it was once frozen, but you don’t want it to have been laying out for a long time. When made correctly this is one of my absolute favorite salmon recipes.

Why I Love Salmon en Croute

As I’m sure you can tell based on the name of this recipe blog, I love entertaining. Yet the most difficult part in my opinion is not deciding what to cook, or even catering to people’s dietary needs. No, the most difficult thing for me about hosting a dinner party is making sure the dishes are all ready at the proper time.

I love salmon en croute because not only is it a baked dish (that means you know when it will be finished), it is a loaf so you can just slice and serve. It is kind of like making a meatloaf for a dinner party – only fancier and more impressive. When most people think of party food ideas they think hors d’oeuvres and canapes, but the main dish should also be something that works for a group of people.

More Fish Recipes To Enjoy

If you are a seafood lover, these other fish recipes should also hit the spot.

Salmon En Croute Ingredients

  • 500 grams Puff Pastry, defrosted
  • 500 grams Salmon
  • 250 grams Spinach
  • 1 tsp Dill, chopped
  • 60 ml Heavy Cream
  • 2 tsp Salt – One for the salmon and one for the spinach mixture. You can also use a finishing salt for the dough after baking.
  • 1-2 Onion – finely diced.
  • 3 tbsp Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs – You may need more or less depending on moisture level. See below for reasons.
  • 1 Egg; for the egg wash
  • 2 tbsp Neutral Oil

How To Make A Beautiful Salmon en Croute

The first thing to do is to salt your salmon. I trim the salmon down to a very uniform shape, so the baking is even and it looks the prettiest. If you use an uneven slab you will see that the dough bakes unevenly and just does not look as impressive. So take your salmon fillet and salt it generously. Then place it uncovered into your fridge while you prepare the spinach mix.

Place the spinach in a large bowl and pour over boiling water. Stir it for a minute. This is a great trick to quickly wilt spinach without worrying about overflowing your pan. Then simply drain the wilted spinach and squeeze out any excess moisture. Set aside.

In a pan sauté the chopped onion in oil until lightly translucent. Add in the heavy cream, cream cheese, dill, and salt and mix to combine.

Add the wilted and drained spinach to the pan and mix.

Next add in the panko breadcrumbs. I know the measurement says a half cup (which is weird that I didn’t use metric) but you really only need enough to soak up the liquid. If your mix is too wet it will not rest atop the fish correctly. So if you need to use more than I specified, or less, you need to make that judgement.

Lay down your puff pastry on a floured surface and use a rolling pin to spread it out a bit. If you bake it from the thickness it came in the fish will be wildly overcooked and the pastry might still be undercooked. So best to roll it out thinner as best you can.

Trim down a rectangle of dough about 5 cm longer on each side than the salmon. Place your salted salmon in the middle.

Take your spinach mix and place it on top of the salmon in the exact same shape. If you used enough breadcrumbs you should be able to get enough height where it is nearly as thick as the salmon. Make sure it goes right up to the edges of the fish, but not over. A well made salmon en croute looks uniform when sliced.

Next I place a thin crepe on top of the spinach mix. This is optional but I find it helps to prevent spread during baking, as well as steaming the underside of the top puff pastry layer. It seems ridiculous to make crepes when you only need one for this recipe, so you do not need to do this step. If you do want to make your own I have a recipe here (just don’t use the filling).

Place on the top layer of puff pastry and roll up the edges. I like to use a fork to crimp the edges shut. If you do not seal it completely then liquid could seep out and hydrate the dough to where it does not bake correctly. Use a sharp knife to cut thin slit on top so steam can escape. Brush with beaten egg.

I take another piece of puff pasty (a 500 gram sheet should provide more than enough dough needed for this recipe) and make staggered slits with the tip of a sharp knife. Think a line of five, then a line of four, then five and so on and so forth. When you lift up the pastry it will slink a bit and create the net effect you can see above. Lay the sheet on top and brush with more of the beaten egg. Or don’t if you want to create a multi-tone effect during baking.

Place the salmon en croute on a sheet of parchment paper and place in an oven that has been pre-heated to 200C or 400F. A well pre-heated oven with a hot pan will help the bottom crust cook nicely. Bake for 25 minutes on the middle rack. Then remove and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Before slicing I actually like to brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle on a finishing salt. I use smoked maldon but you can use what you like.

This recipe serves 8 people, under the assumption there is more food being served alongside (or before). Because a salmon en croute is very rich what with the cream and butter pastry I only give a slice per person. Of course if you are entertaining dozens then you can prep more than one loaf and still bake them all at the same time.

How To Serve Salmon En Croute At A Dinner Party

To serve your homemade salmon en croute you should use a very sharp knife. This will help cut through the dough, spinach mix, and fish without having anything fall apart. I generally opt to slice 3-4 cm thick pieces and place them on a plate about 3x the size. This allows people to add other side dishes that they may want.

I rarely serve my salmon en croute recipe with a sauce, but if you would like to do so a simple lemon butter sauce never goes amiss. I like this recipe which works great for salmon, as well as other types of fish.

More Delicious Salmon Recipes You’ll Love

What Side Dishes Go With Salmon en Croute

salmon en croute sliced on a cutting board

The side dishes you choose to prepare should be fairly generic ones that goes with most meat dishes. As salmon en croute is a very rich dish, you should think of something fairly simple like roasted veggies. You can do mashed or whipped potatoes but in that case I would recommend adding a sauce to this recipe.

salmon en croute sliced on a cutting board

Salmon En Croute

A classical en croute dish perfect for small dinner parties, or even a quick weeknight meal
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine European, French
Servings 4 people
Calories 515 kcal


  • 500 grams Puff Pastry defrosted
  • 500 grams Salmon
  • 250 grams Spinach
  • 1 tsp Dill chopped
  • 60 ml Heavy Cream
  • 2 tsp Salt One for the salmon and one for the spinach mixture. You can also use a finishing salt for the dough after baking.
  • Black Pepper freshly cracked, optional
  • 1-2 Onion finely diced.
  • 3 tbsp Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs You may need more or less depending on moisture level. See below for reasons.
  • 1 Egg for the egg wash
  • 2 tbsp Neutral Oil


  • Preheat your oven to 200°C or about 400°F. Make sure a baking tray is in the oven getting hot. Begin by cleaning your salmon of all the bones and scales. If there is excess oil seeping from the skin, pat that down with a paper towel. Cut the salmon into a uniform shape, salt it, and place it in the fridge while you make everything else.
  • Place the spinach in a large bowl and pour over boiling water. Stir until the spinach is wilted, then drain and squeeze dry. Set aside.
  • In a pan on medium heat add some neutral oil and the onions. Cook until translucent then add the cream, cheese, dill, salt, and black pepper if you are using it. Stir to combine. Add the wilted spinach and stir to combine again.
  • Add in the panko bread crumbs until all the excess liquid is absorbed and you are left with a bit of a stodgy mass. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  • Flour a workspace and roll out your puff pastry. Use a rolling pin to even it out and increase the size. Cut out a rectangle about 5cm larger than the salmon on all sides. Take the salmon from the fridge and place it in the center of the pastry rectangle.
  • Take the spinach mix and mound it atop the salmon. Use a spoon or your fingers to ensure it goes right to the edges but not over, and is about the same thickness as the fish (see photos above as an example).
  • OPTIONAL: layer a single crepe over the spinach mixture and press it around the sides to help the spinach mass hold its shape.
  • Place another rectangle of puff pastry on top of the spinach. Roll up the bottom sheet and use a fork or another tool to crimp everything shut. Use a sharp knife and make a few slits in the top for steam to escape. Brush with beaten egg.
  • OPTIONAL: If you want to make a fancy pattern with some excess puff pastry you can (see photos above for an example)
  • Place the unbaked salmon en croute on a piece of baking parchment and place on the hot baking tray in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove the salmon en croute from the oven, let rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve. Enjoy!
Keyword Fish, Puff Pastry, Salmon En Croute, Salmon Recipes

* This recipe has been updated. It was originally published in 2019.

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