The Paris-Correze race second and final stage ends today, August 5th in the Correze town of Chaumeil. Correze is department of the Limousin region that is more known for its town of Limoges than any other town. Limoges brings to mind one thing with me, tiny boxes and china. It is the white Kaolin clay found in the 18th century in Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche just outside of Limoges that is used as the base of Limoges china. Limoges porcelain has a recipe of 50% Kaolin clay, 25% feldspar and 25% quartz and gives it the extreme whiteness and translucence and what gave Limoges its high prestige and value it has earned. Limoges also has a history of making another piece of art, enamels and cloisonné’s. Created by soldering thin pieces of metal to a base to outline a design and normally done on gold which worked better then on copper. Painted enamels are created by painting directly on the enamel that covers a copper plate. The Musee Municipal de l’Eveche-Musee de l’Email has examples of Limoges enamels dating back to the 12th century.
The start town of Malemort-sur-Correze is better known for its battle than anything else. On April 21, 1177 the Battle of Malelmort was fought between the army of Richard the Lion-hearted and the townspeople of Malemort-sur-Correze. William of Cambrai and his mercenaries the Brabancon were killed and the army of Lobar the Wolf and Viscount of Turenne attacked the nearby town of Segur and demolished it.
The finishing town of Chaumeil is a very small town of less than two hundred people that is the capital of les Monedieres. The Monedieres Massif (mountains) extends to the River Correze and the edge of the Montagne Limousine. The riders would have passed through the Cirque de Freysselines, the natural amphitheatre that sits within the small village of Freysselines. Before they can reach the finish the will need to pass through La Croix-sous-l’Arbre and a slight climb up the small hill of Col des Geants before reaching Chaumeil. The slate roofs and granite houses that surround the 15th century church make a perfect finish for a summer two day stage race through the center of France.
The many rivers of the area have over time been known for their salmon; unfortunately today that is not the case. With riverbeds that have dried up or become more shallow the supply is not what it used to be. One of the best things about living in the northwest is that we have plenty of salmon and is hands down one of my favorite foods and could eat it every day. I was inspired by an Anne Willan recipe for Tourte de Saumon to make a Salmon en Croute but a bit different and very simple compared to hers. Anne’s recipe called for making a mousse with half of the salmon and I was pretty sure that was not going to go over very well so I simplified it and it can be made any night of the week.
Salmon en Croute
3 Tablespoons butter
1 pound mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 pound salmon, skin and bones removed
½ cup butter cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon water
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped dill
In a large sauté pan melt butter and add cleaned and dice the mushrooms. Cook over medium heat until browned and liquid has evaporated; add chopped garlic and mix to combine, season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and strain to get any remaining liquid out and let it cool slightly.
For the Salmon, if the skin is on when you purchase it the easiest and cleanest way to remove it is in a hot pan. You can use the same pan that you cooked the mushrooms in, just place the salmon in, skin side down and leave it for 30 seconds. Take it out and place on a cutting board flesh side down. Using the edge of a fork the skin will easily scrape right off.
Roll out a sheet of the puff pastry large enough to envelop the salmon, about 12 x16. In the center of the sheet place the mushrooms and then top with the salmon. Season with salt and pepper and fold the sides around. You can seal any overlapping edges with some egg wash, this will keep it together. When it is all folded brush with more egg wash and then place in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, place the salmon in on a baking sheet in the center of the oven and cook for 40 minutes or until the pastry is lightly browned.
During the last 10 minutes of cooking start the sauce. In a small saucepan add water, lemon juice and salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Gradually add butter cubes and whisk to combine until fully melted and smooth. This will thicken the sauce at the same time, but be careful not to add the butter in all at once. Stir in chopped dill and more lemon juice if desired. Serve over hot salmon and enjoy!