Before the heavy Christmas meal you need a starter that sets the tone for what’s to come. This impressive quiche will make the perfect starter centrepiece. The combination of salmon, watercress, and cream all housed in a shortcrust pastry case is delicious and won’t fill you up for the main event either!
Preparation time: 25 minutes plus resting time
Cooking time: 30 minutes
You will need
1 quantity of savoury shortcrust pastry
A little plain flour, for dusting
For the filling:
3 salmon fillets (approx. 350g)
Juice of ½ a lemon
Good knob of unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely sliced
200g new potatoes, ideally Jersey Royals, cut into 1.5cm chunks and parboiled
50g watercress (leaves picked and any tough stalks discarded), finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill leaves
3 medium eggs, whisked
300ml double cream
½ tsp pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to about three millimetres thick and line a loose-bottomed fluted rectangular tart tin with it, making sure the edge of the pastry stands just a little proud above the rim. Trim the edges, then prick the base with a fork and return it to the fridge for a further 30 minutes. Don’t be tempted to skip this step – it helps prevent any shrinkage in the oven.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6 and put a baking sheet in to heat up. Tear off a sheet of foil big enough to enclose all your salmon fillets and lay it on a work surface. Put the salmon in the middle, add the lemon juice and some salt and pepper, and scrunch to seal tightly. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool.
3. Take the pastry case out of the fridge, line with non-stick baking paper and fill with baking beans. Place in the oven on the hot baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the paper and beans and return the case to the oven for a further five minutes. This will allow the pastry base to dry out before you pile in the filling.
4. Reduce the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and let it soften for eight minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then spoon evenly into the pastry case. Thickly flake the salmon (discarding the skin) and scatter it over the onions along with the parboiled potatoes and most of the chopped watercress and dill.
5. Whisk together the eggs and cream, season well with salt and pour into the pastry case. Scatter with the remaining watercress, dill and peppercorns. Place on the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the filling has just set and the top is turning golden.