Some classic recipes are perfect on their own, no updating needed. Others are, sadly, a bit more tied to time periods, and could use a nudge into the modern culinary realm. Take beef Wellington, that early twentieth-century puff pastry delight that became a flavor- and fat-laden staple at 1960s dinner parties all over the United States.
While we love the idea of tasty phyllo-wrapped pocket we can eat one-handed (thus freeing up the other to multitask with a glass of dry hard cider), we don’t love the layer upon layer of not-so-healthy stuff in the filling, from the pâté to the meat wrapped with meat, the seemingly endless supply of butter, and the cream sauce that’s usually served on the side. So we brought this recipe, kicking and screaming, straight into the present with our version: wrapped salmon with tarragon sauce.
This flaky-tender salmon recipe is not only lighter and healthier than the original, but a whole lot less time-intensive to make. Just mix the tarragon butter, place the salmon on top, and wrap it up. While it’s baking, put together the sauce, and you’re done.
We like to serve this new twist on salmon Wellington on a bed of mixed greens with a light, citrus-based dressing and some sprigs of fresh parsley. It’s elegant enough to serve at parties or when the in-laws come to visit, but easy enough to make that you won’t mind whipping it up on a weekend for just you and significant other. And because it’s such a different texture and flavor profile from our usual winter-into-spring rotation of soups and roasted veggies, it just feels special.
Wrapped Salmon with Tarragon Sauce
Recipe by Sarah Bessette
1 package phyllo dough
1 pound salmon, rinsed and cut into four 4-ounce fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces plus 3 tablespoons butter
4 sprigs of tarragon, chopped and divided
Juice from 1 lemon, divided
¼ cup white wine
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons minced white onions
Lemon slices (for garnish)
Parsley sprigs (for garnish)
- Preheat the oven 375 degrees F.
- Sprinkle each salmon fillet with salt and pepper.
- Melt 4 ounces of the butter. Add half the chopped tarragon and 1 tablespoon of squeezed lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Set the tarragon butter aside.
- Lay out 4 squares of phyllo, each square four sheets. Brush each top piece with tarragon butter and place a salmon fillet widthwise, directly in the center. Fold the top phyllo sheet over the top of the fillet; fold in the sides. Wrap the remaining phyllo sheets over the top, folding in the sides, and brush the wrapped packet with tarragon butter. Move each piece of wrapped salmon to a nonstick or lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
- In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, heat the 3 tablespoons butter. Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the white wine, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, remaining chopped tarragon, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir quickly for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- Remove the salmon from oven, place each over a bed of greens, and pour the wine sauce over top or serve on the side. Garnish with sliced lemon and parsley.