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 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.
What Ingredients Do I Need 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?
Chef Dennis Tip
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).
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.