Salmon Pot Pie comes to us by way of a promotional cookbook offered by a Southern real estate company. Since their founding in 1977 Crye-Leike has published more than two dozen cookbooks to give away to employees, friends, and clients. This particular recipe comes from Volume XVI, titled Cherished Southern Recipes and published in 1996. The recipes appear to have been submitted by realtors and employees throughout the Crye-Leike network.
Fish is something of a rarity in my community cookbooks, and what little there is tends to be fried or come from a can. This is particularly true for cookbooks that come from the Midwest or South. Having spent most of my life out West and less than an hour from the beach I’m spoiled by fresh seafood, so I was encouraged to see that this particular recipe calls for honest-to-goodness fresh, grilled salmon. Granted it’s baked into a pastry crust filled with white sauce and potatoes, but it’s much more fish-forward than I’m accustomed to in these sorts of cookbooks.
And it’s not half-bad but it needs some help. The original recipe is pretty bland and way too potato-y. It’s got all the right ingredients to be tasty; fixing it was simply a matter of changing the proportions. I’ve doubled the salmon, tripled the dill, and used a heavy hand with the salt and (white) pepper. The only thing I’ve added is an egg wash – purely aesthetic – and a little swirl of lemon juice to give the pie some much needed acid. If I make this a second time I think I’ll add some frozen peas to the mix as well. The only truly time consuming piece is baking potatoes, but this can be done ahead of time or – in a pinch – with about 10 minutes in the microwave.
Salmon Pot Pie is a good hearty winter dish and a sneaky way to serve fish to people who claim not to like fish. Like most pot pies this can be a meal unto itself, but it’s a little bit deficient in the vegetable department. A simple steamed green vegetable like green beans or asparagus work well, as would marinated artichokes or Brussels sprouts. Enjoy!
- Preheat oven to 375º F.
- Heat a little bit of cooking oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Cut salmon to fit in the skillet. Season liberally with salt and pepper and place face down (skin up) in skillet. Cook, uncovered without moving 4-5 minutes. Flip, cover skillet, and cook another 4-5 minutes until salmon flakes easily. Work in batches if necessary. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Peel and chop baked potatoes into large cubes, at least ½ inch.
- In a large dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, and white pepper to form a roux. Cook the roux for a minute or two until light brown, then slowly whisk in milk. Add dill, and chopped potato and heat through until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat and gently stir in flaked salmon, taking care to keep some large chunks.
- Line a 13x9 baking dish with two cans of crescent rolls, unrolled and pressed together to make a solid crust. Fill the crust with the potato-salmon mixture and cover with the remaining can of crescent rolls. It does not need to cover completely or neatly, and the perforations make kind of a low-rent lattice design for the top of the pie.
- Bake 12 minutes until crust starts to brown. Brush with beaten egg and return to oven for 2-3 minutes more until crust is shiny and golden brown.