Phyllo dough takes an ordinary dish to an extraordinary dish, in my humble opinion. It’s fancy, low-calorie and (egg, dairy and soy) allergy friendly. At first it may seem daunting to work with this delicate pastry. Alas, it is also very forgiving in the final presentation. Phyllo wrapped salmon with pesto and cheese perfectly makes my point.
This entree was always popular at our store, perhaps because customers got to play with dough and ended up serving a beautiful dish no matter how much the phyllo dough cracked or tore during the assembly process.
If you are not a fan of salmon, just follow the recipe using chicken. We’ve got a picture of that version at the end of this post.
Pictured is phyllo wrapped salmon topped with pesto, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. The layers of phyllo dough has Parmesan cheese sandwiched in between. Elegant and delicious! (In case you are wondering, those are zucchini chips on the side!)
Before we get down to business, here are some rules for working with phyllo pastry (or fillo dough, in case you have ever gotten into a debate about such things. It is pronounced with a long i.) See Athens.com or the box the dough comes in for all the handling tips. These are my tips for success:
- Completely defrost the phyllo dough according to the directions. Don’t rush it. If you unroll it too soon, it WILL crack apart.
- Make room in your refrigerator to temporarily hold a cookie sheet.
- Roll the dough out onto a cookie sheet. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and then a wet towel. When you are not using the dough, store it in the refrigerator.
- Don’t worry about cracks or tears. They will happen and your entree will still taste and look terrific!
With these rules in mind, let’s make phyllo-wrapped, pesto cheese salmon. First, gather and lay out all of the ingredients and measuring utensils.
Take 1 sheet of phyllo dough and place it on a work surface. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of Parmesan cheese over it. Next, take a second sheet of phyllo dough and place it on top of the first one. Lightly spray the sheet with cooking spray.
If you are studying the picture, then I’m sure you see the cracks. Well, I violated my cardinal rule and left the dough out a little too long while I was taking pictures. I decided to keep it this way because, as you will see, it didn’t change the outcome at all!
Place the salmon on top of prepared phyllo dough sheets about 2 inches from the left side. Season with salt and pepper. Top each piece of salmon with about 1 Tablespoon of pesto and 1/4 cup of Mozzarella cheese.
Fold the sides over the salmon and then roll it up jelly roll style.
Spray a little more cooking spray on top. (See, the cracks that were in my phyllo dough don’t show.) Now, repeat, repeat and repeat (and possibly repeat and repeat) for the number of servings phyllo wrapped salmon you need.
Bake phyllo wrapped salmon in a 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. The cooking time really depends upon the thickness of the fish and that can vary widely which is why I always rely on my trusty cooking thermometer. Fish should reach a temperature of 145 degrees. If the top is getting too brown, tent it with some aluminum foil.
Did I mention the same recipe can be used on chicken too?
To make ahead and freeze phyllo wrapped salmon, assemble but do not cook. Place packets in a baking dish and cover. Store for up to 2 months for best quality. Defrost and cook according to instructions.
- 8 sheets of Phyllo Dough (9 x 13 inches)
- Cooking spray
- 4 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
- 4 salmon fillets
- ¼ cup pesto
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Preheat over to 350 degrees.
- Gather all of your ingredients and utensils.
- Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface.
- Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese over the phyllo dough.
- Place a second sheet of phyllo dough over the first piece and spray lightly with cooking spray.
- Place one salmon fillet about 2 inches from the left hand side of the prepared phyllo dough.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Top with 1 Tablespoon pesto and ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Fold the long sides up over the salmon and then roll up so that the pesto and cheese are on the top (not the bottom.) Tuck extra phyllo dough underneath.
- Lightly spray the top of the wrap with cooking spray.
- Repeat for each salmon fillet.
- Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. If the phyllo doughs begins to brown too much, then tent it with aluminum foil.
If you’re counting, 2 (or 3) sheets of phyllo dough are just 2 points.
P.S. I’ve linked this recipe for Phyllo Wrapped Salmon to Taste and Tell Thursdays!