Have you ever heard of a Coulibiac of Salmon? I can honestly say that before my cruise with CroisiEurope last year I had never heard of this delightfully delicious dish. Some also call this delicious dish Salmon Wellington, but its actually so much more.
Some dishes are easy to make and others take a little extra prep work. This salmon dish of Russian descent does take a little extra prep work than most of my recipes. But I promise you it will be well worth the effort.
Table of Contents:
Ingredients to Make a Coulibiac of Salmon
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make a Coulibiac of Salmon. In Chef Speak this is called the Mise en Place which translates into Everything in its Place.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed the cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
What is a Coulibiac of Salmon?
A Coulibiac is a type of Russian Pirog (baked case of dough with either sweet or savory filling).
It’s usually filled with salmon or sturgeon, rice or buckwheat, hard-boiled eggs, mushrooms, onions, and dill.
The pie is baked in a pastry shell, usually of brioche or puff pastry.
The dish was so popular in Russia in the early part of the 20th century that Auguste Escoffier, the famed French chef, brought it to France and included recipes for it in his masterwork, The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery.
And this is how a Classic Russian dish found its way into Classical French Cuisine.
Do I have to Use Salmon for this dish?
No you don’t. You could use a number of fish for this recipe.
- red snapper
Do I have to use all the stuffing ingredients in my Coulibiac?
No, you don’t. Mine is more along the lines of the deluxe version. I added all the ingredients commonly used in this dish, most of which are not all used at the same time.
If you do a search on Coulibiac, you’ll find no two versions are similar. The ingredients and how they are layered are entirely up to you.
My Coulibiac of Salmon is layered to look as good as it tastes.
Can I make individual Coulibiac?
Yes, you can. Just cut the pastry sheets into smaller pieces to accommodate the smaller piece of salmon.
You may want to get an extra box of puff pastry if you make individual pieces.
How do I make a Coulibiac of Salmon?
Make sure all of your ingredients are prepped and chilled before you begin to roll out the puff pastry and assemble this dish.
The first step is to roll out the puff pastry dough to about 12 x 15 inches or slightly larger.
*Make sure not to let the dough get too warm or you won’t be able to unfold it. Flour the rolling pin so the puff dough doesn’t stick. Also, make sure the surface is well floured. Keep the top piece refrigerated until you’re ready to work with it.
Sometimes the puff dough just doesn’t cooperate and you have to reform and reroll the dough. I had to do the bottom piece 3 times and it still came out perfect.
Once the dough is rolled out you can start the assembly. The rice layer needs to be at least 1 inch deep. It will compress and you’ll wonder what happened to the rice.
Then add the layer of spinach (sauteed with the shallots). You can add bleu cheese crumbles or a cheese of your choice on top of the spinach for added flavor.
*Leaving the cheese out won’t affect the overall flavor.
Next, add the mushrooms, you’ll notice how dark they are. I let the mushrooms cook for about 15 minutes to allow them to caramelize to enhance the flavor.
The final layer is the salmon. Season the salmon well with sea salt and black pepper (don’t be afraid to overseason the fish). Then add pieces of the fresh dill on top of the salmon.
The last step is the egg layer. This can be an optional layer if you’re not fond of eggs.
The last step is to add the top layer of puff pastry dough. Brush the edges of the bottom layer with the lightly beaten egg, before adding the top layer.
The egg will help it seal. Next, use a fork around the edges to further seal the puff dough. If you have skills you can add your own special touch to the dough.
Brush the entire package with the lightly beaten egg. This will give the finished dish a beautiful glossy brown finish.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes or until the puff dough is golden brown or the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees F.
*Using a digital insta-read thermometer will help you check the temperature.
Slice the Coulibiac of Salmon with a sharp Chef’s knife (I first tried a serrated knife and it didn’t cut the salmon well, you can see it flaking in the picture).
How to make a dijon dill sauce
The Dijon Dill Sauce is pretty easy. If it gets too thick add a little water or more wine to the sauce.
- Add dill and white wine to saute pan over medium heat. Reduce wine by half.
- Add Dijon mustard and heavy cream to pan and allow sauce to thicken.
- Remove from heat and whip in butter with a wire whisk.
Serve the dijon dill sauce with the salmon and enjoy!
The puff dough bottom has a tendency to get soggy bottom. A metal baking sheet will help keep this from happening as contact with the metal will help keep the dough crisp.
Placing crepes directly on top of the puff dough before placing the ingredients will offer a layer of protection and help keep the liquids from soaking through.
Having all of your ingredients prepared and chilled before rolling out the puff pastry and assembling the dish will make working with the puff dough easy.
*Don’t thaw the puff pastry dough until you’re ready to roll it out.
You can prep the salmon 3-4 hours before baking. Keep it refrigerated and covered and don’t brush the puff dough with the beaten egg until you’re ready to bake it.
Hi Chef Dennis, I’ve been researching this recipe for awhile now and so far yours seems to suit my tastes the best. One thing though, is we are not fans of blue cheese and I was wondering if you could kindly suggest another cheese to use instead. Thanks, Sherry Toronto Canada
Chef Dennis Littley
You can simply leave the bleu cheese out, or replace it with gorgonzola, gouda, jarlsberg, or fontina.
I made this for my hubby for Valentine’s day. OMG…it was wonderful. Made a few minor changes, but nothing that would make it look different. Make it… It is worth the work and wait.
I read an article about favorite dishes of the British royal family and this was listed as Prince Phillip’s! So, I Googled it and found your recipe. My husband is a meat-and-potatoes kinda guy, but he does like all the components of this dish. I’ve halved the recipe since it’s just us two and pre-assembled it; it’s in the fridge now. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Five stars for the well written recipe, clear directions, and video
I made this tonight and it looked amazing, cooked perfectly etc. Let it stand 10 mins… then tried to slice it thickly (c2″) with a very sharp carving knife (the one we use for roast beef) and the whole thing disintegrated 🙁
It tasted good….so want to try again.
What went wrong, and how can it be made to stick together?
Chef Dennis Littley
Next time try using a serrated knife. I’m not sure why it would have broken up but a serrated knife might help. If using a sharp chef’s knife, try using the point of the knife into the crust first, then work the knife down with a steady but lighter hand. Pushing down to hard might be the problem.
Hello there, Chef Dennis! This was absolutely fantastic! I honestly wasn’t expecting anything sensational. I thought it would definitely be good, but I was definitely surprised how delicious it was. I missed the tip about using an inch thickness of rice. You’re so right, it really does compress a lot! Either way, it was so delicious, and I was really surprised about how nice the blue cheese was in it. One change I made was I made the eggs into Devilled eggs, since I was worried the yellow yokes would get rubbery. I thought that worked really nicely. The dill-dijon sauce was crazy delicious as well.
Looks beautiful and delicious. Will yry it next time I want to impress.
What a beautiful dish! I could see serving this meal at a nice brunch with friends
I love how those different layers are packed so neatly. The flavors are amazing to me.
What a beautiful dish! I can imagine serving this dish at a really nice brunch with friends
This recipe is definitely a crowd-pleaser and the layers are so impressive. That cross-section is unbelievably beautiful.
This recipe is definitely a crowd-pleaser and so impressive. That cross-section is unbelievably beautiful.
I love learning from you! I’ve never heard the word coulibiac but an distant inlaw served something similar for dinner many years ago. It’s amazing how food can spark memories. Thanks for the recipe.
What a fantastic ide! I love salmon but I never prepared this way, the rice is definitely something I never thought of adding but I will definitely need to try this delicious looking and unique recipe!
Wow and YUM…this does look like a special occasion dish, and I’ve got one coming up so bookmarking this!
This recipe is fantastic! I love salmon prepared most ways but this recipe is over the top!! Such a unique and delicious way to enjoy salmon!
This is such a lovely salmon dish! I have never made anything like this so your step by step photos were great. That dijon sauce was amazing and really helped enhance the flavor of the fish. This is a new favorite at my house.
This is an elegant salmon dish that has so many layers of flavor. I love the Dijon dill sauce for topping.
We had this salmon for dinner last night and it was wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!
Oh my goodness! SO delicious! And that dill sauce is to die for!! Thank you for the step by step pictures. They were very helpful!