Baking rolls of succulent, tender salmon in delicate, crisp phyllo dough brings out the best of both ingredients. Salmon is among the simplest fish to cook because it is far more forgiving of being under-cooked or overcooked, unlike more demanding seafood such as scallops or true Dover sole. Dealing with paper-thin phyllo dough can be intimidating for beginning cooks, but it’s not hard to handle if you work quickly and carefully to keep it from drying out or tearing.
Thaw frozen phyllo dough in the refrigerator for at least five hours or overnight.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lay out all your utensils and ingredients.
Unroll the phyllo dough. Peel off one sheet of phyllo and lay it out flat on a clean work surface. Cover the remaining phyllo with cling wrap or waxed paper and lay a dampened dish towel on top to keep it moist.
Brush the flat sheet of phyllo with melted butter or oil using the pastry brush, starting from the center and working out toward the edges.
Unroll a second sheet of phyllo and lay it on top of the first. Match the edges as well as you can, but don’t worry if they don't line up perfectly. Recover the remaining dough sheets with the cling wrap or use waxed paper and a dampened towel. Brush the second sheet with melted butter or olive oil exactly as you did the first. Repeat until you have four sheets, all brushed with melted butter or olive oil.
Cut the layered phyllo in as many equal pieces as you have salmon fillets. Each set of layers can be cut into quarters, but if you are serving more than four people, you need to make more phyllo stacks.
Salt and pepper both sides of boneless, skinless salmon fillets, in portions of about 4 ounces per person, which should be approximately 3/4-inches thick. It's okay of they are a little thinner or thicker, since most salmon fillets are between 1/2-inch and 1-inch thick. Place one seasoned fillet in the center of each square of layered, oiled phyllo dough.
Top the salmon with a layer of filling. Filling ingredients include sauteed mushrooms, spinach and feta or other cheeses, steamed asparagus and wild rice, couscous, steamed vegetables or whatever you prefer. Season the filling or the plain salmon with lemon pepper or other spices. Apply lemon juice, white wine or soy sauce with a pastry brush so that you don’t soak the phyllo dough and make it soggy.
Fold in the ends of the phyllo dough and then roll it like an egg roll to completely cocoon the salmon.
Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the phyllo-wrapped salmon fillets on the baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between them. Bake the salmon rolls for 10 minutes for every inch of thickness, or until the phyllo is crisp and golden. If using salmon fillets that are more than 1-inch thick, cover them with aluminum foil for the first 10 minutes of baking so that the phyllo does not brown before the fish is done. Let the rolls rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Items you will need
- Cling wrap or waxed paper
- Dish towel, dampened
- Small bowl
- Butter or olive oil
- Pastry brush
- Filling, optional
- Lemon juice, white wine or soy sauce (optional)
- Baking sheet
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Brush the top of the stuffed phyllo dough with an egg white beaten with a bit of water before baking the rolls for a glossy, golden crust.
- Avoid handling phyllo dough with wet hands or it becomes mushy and tears easily.
- Exploratorium: Cooking Fish With Finesse
- Le Cordon Bleu: How to Work With Phyllo Dough
- Amy Tobin: Salmon and Boursin Baked in Phyllo
- The New York Times: Salmon Wrapped in Phyllo With Spinach and Cheese
- The Housing Forum: How Long to Bake Salmon in the Oven
- Chicago Tribune: A Thicker Cut of Salmon Retains the Best of Fish's Flavor
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