For those of you who don't know, my father is a French Canadian, bred and born in the Saguenay Region of Quebec where he lived until he joined the Canadian Military way back when. My childhood was embroidered with the traditional foods of my mother's English/German ancestry and my father's French traditions. Some of the French dishes may have been slightly adapted to my mother's tastes and skills in translation, but I believe at the very essence they stayed the same.
This Salmon Pie was one of my father's favourite meals. Having grown up on the Saguenay, fresh salmon was in plentiful supply and this was a favourite dish from his childhood. It was destined to become a favourite with all of us as well. We were all very happy campers when this was on the menu!
Its a very simple pie . . . composed of equal amounts of mashed potatoes and salmon, grated onion, summer savory, salt and pepper . . . all encased in a flakey crust and baked. Simple ingredients put together beautifully.
I am sure you could serve a simple cream sauce with this if you wanted to, but mom never did and I have never thought to either. We always just simply had it with some salad and a vegetable. It is truly delicious all on its own.
I can remember making these for my father's lunch as a young bride. He would come to visit and have lunch with me every now and then and my salmon pies and stew were a point of pride for me and something he really enjoyed. He always said he liked my stews better than my mothers. I don't know why. He also loved it when I would make him a toasted bologna and cheese sandwich. I would carefully lay several strands of chive in the sandwich before I toasted it. He loved that.
The pastry I use is very simple and very flaky. Composed of a mix of plain flour, some salt, and equal amounts of butter and lard. Oh, and ice water of course. I will also give you the recipe for that. It is a beautiful pastry and works well on all kinds of pies. Just use a gentle and light hand and you will be rewarded.
*French Canadian Salmon Pie*Serves 6
*Butter-Lard Pastry*Makes 2 nine - inch crusts
This is a beautiful pastry. Flaky just right. You can add a touch of sugar to it if you are making a fruit pie.
2 cups all purpose flour (280g)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter (76g)
1/3 cup lard (or white vegetable shortening) (74g)
5 to 6 tablespoons of ice water
(note: if using for a sweet pie, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar.)
Mix flour with salt, and cut in butter and lard, until you have pieces of fat in the flour about the size of peas. Add ice water, one TBS at a time, tossing it in with a fork until pastry comes together. Form in to a ball and cut in two pieces. Form each into a round flat disc. Warp in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
This truly is a beautiful taste of home for me and a lovely supper dish. I hope you'll try it. It is proof positive that it is the simple things in life which oftimes bring us the most pleasure. Bon Appetit!