Russian Salmon in Puff Pastry (Coulibiac)

Coulibiac is a wonderful savory fish pie from the Russian court of Czar Nicholas III. It was so popular in the early 1900s that the famed French chef Escoffier brought it to France and included it in his master cookbook. Frozen puff pastry makes creating this classic dish a cinch.

Coulibiac makes for an impressive centerpiece of a formal Russian diner party. Serve some caviar on small pumpernickel bread with chopped eggs and sour cream, ice cold vodka, followed by simple salad and then coulibiac slices with buttered peas and sour cream-horseradish sauce. Finish it all off with espresso and a nice meringue and buttercream Kiev cake.

Coulibiac – Salmon, Spinach and Rice in Puff Pastry

This mild, elegant fish pie can be found at Russian holiday celebrations. Frozen puff pastry and spinach, along with pre-sliced mushrooms, make it easy to create this show stopper. Serve with some horseradish-dill cream sauce on the side and some buttered peas.
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Course: Appetizer, Brunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Eastern European, Russia
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Large baking pan lined with parchment paper
  • Large heavy skillet
  • Medium saucepan

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Frozen puff pastry, cut in half longways
  • 3 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 1 medium Onion, sliced thin
  • 24 oz Mushroom, sliced
  • ½ cup Dry white wine
  • 5 large Eggs, 1 egg scrambled in a small bowl with 1 tbsp water, the rest hard boiled.
  • 1 cup White rice
  • 1 tsp Each: ground cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, and lemon zest
  • 2 cups Frozen spinach, cooked
  • cup Dill, chopped
  • 24 oz Piece fresh salmon filet

Instructions

  • Pre-cook Fillings – Add eggs to hard boil to a saucepan with boiling water. Cook for 8 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Peel and set aside. Slice when cooled.
    Microwave spinach in a partially sealed plastic bag for 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze dry. Add sour cream, salt, and pepper.
    Melt 1 tbsp butter over medium heat in a small saucepan with cover. Add rice and spices. Stir for 2 minutes and then add twice as much water as rice, cover, and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat a let sit covered for 15 minutes. Remove cover and let cool.
  • Cook Fish, Onion, and Mushroom – Melt remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook salmon in butter for 1 minute on each side. Remove to a plate. Add onions and mushrooms to same pan. Sauté for 5 minutes, salt and pepper to taste. Add wine and allow mushrooms to become nearly dry, about 15 minutes.
  • Assemble Pie – Rollout 1 sheet dough and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Leaving a ¼-inch border, layer half the cooked rice over the whole surface. Lay salmon over the rice, then the spinach, dill, salt, mushrooms, sliced eggs, and the remaining rice.
    Roll the other pastry sheet slightly larger than the first and place on top. Gently press edges to seal pastry halves. Crimp edges by hand or with a fork. Chill for a few hours, a day, or freeze to bake another day.
  • Cook and Serve – Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Brush pastry all over with egg-water mixture. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes, cut into thick slices and serve with Horseradish Dill cream on the side.

Notes

  • To add cross hatches or fish scales to the pastry, drag back of knife across top making sure not to pierce the pastry. 

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