Recipe:Salmon & Leek Vol-Au-Vent (Serves 4).


4 X 5” squares puff pastry

1 pint milk

40g flour

40g butter

Splash of double cream

1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (dill, tarragon, parsley, chives or a mixture of all of them)

520g fresh salmon

4 leeks, sliced and washed well

Salt & pepper

A little butter for frying

Prepare the pastry: With a sharp knife, mark a rim round the pastry squares about a centimetre in from the edge. Don’t push the knife all the way through, just score it. This will allow you to remove the lid when the pastry is baked.

Cook the leeks:Pop a splash of water and a large knob of butter into a pan, plus a little salt and pepper and gently bubble the leeks until they are cooked. Reserve.

The white sauce: Gently warm the milk in a pan and in another pan slowly melt the butter, then raise the temperature until it’s bubbling. Tip in the flour and whisk until smooth and pour in the hot milk, whisking all the time. Reduce the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes. Taste and season. Add a splash of cream and as many chopped herbs as you fancy.

To cook the salmon: You may either poach, fry or roast it, but make sure it’s not overcooked. I poach mine in a little weak vegetable stock and a splash of white wine vinegar. It should still be a little bit translucent in the middle. Flake the salmon.

Baking the pastry: Heat the oven to Gas 7 or equivalent and bake the pastry until risen and golden. Remove from the oven and gently remove the lids. You can reserve them if you’d like to use them or simply scoff them as a chef’s treat! Keep warm until you’re ready to go.

To serve: Gently warm the herb sauce and toss in the leeks and flaked salmon, stirring as little as possible. Divide the mixture between the pastry cases and plate up immediately. This dish would appreciate a glass of Sancerre immensely.