Inspired by Raymond Blanc
Serves: 4 as a starter or light lunch
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
For the salmon:
2 large dinner-plate sized circles of baking paper
2 salmon fillets (about 150g each)
8 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
2 sprigs lemon thyme
2 tsp white wine
A drizzle of olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the beurre blanc:
125ml white wine
1 shallot, very finely chopped
1 bay leaf
½ tsp whole black peppercorns
100g cold unsalted butter cut in 1 cm cubes
Freshly grated wasabi, to taste (a couple of teaspoons)
Cooked new potatoes
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Lay a salmon fillet in the centre of each of the circles of baking paper. Arrange 4 spears of asparagus on top of each piece of fish and tuck in a sprig of thyme. Sprinkle over a teaspoon of wine and a drizzle of olive oil. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To seal the parcel, working from one end, fold and crimp the two sides of paper together as if you are making a pasty. Repeat with the other parcel. Lay both on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.
Whilst the fish is cooking, make the beurre blanc. Add the wine, shallot, bay leaf and peppercorns to a small heavy based saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer slowly for 5-7 minutes until you are left with about 3 tablespoons of liquid. Don’t be tempted to simmer too fast or you won’t extract maximum flavour from the seasonings and watch it closely towards the end as it always evaporates quickly at this stage.
Turn the reduction off and grate the wasabi. Set aside whilst you finish the sauce.
Bring the reduction up the boil again before reducing the heat to low. Add the cold butter a cube at a time, whisking constantly until it melts and emulsifies into the wine. Keep on adding the butter until you have used it all. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a warmed bowl. Using a fork, stir through fresh wasabi to taste and season to taste with salt. The beurre blanc should be the consistency of single cream. If it is thicker, thin it down by whisking in a tablespoon or two of boiling water.
To serve, place the fish, still in its bag, on a plate and open it up. Drizzle a little of the beurre blanc on top of each and serve the rest on the side.