We made today's salmon coulibiac recipe as a guide to a brilliant dinner party idea. This amazing fish pie certainly is a great choice for special occasions and holidays to impress your party guests.
Inside the appetizing golden crust, you'll find juicy salmon fillets layered with basmati rice and mushrooms. It's easy to put together and can be prepped ahead of time to speed the final cooking process.
Though this dish may look a bit sophisticated to new cooks, rest assured that the results will be worth the effort. Now, onto the preparation, shall we?
What Is Salmon Coulibiac?
A coulibiac — originally kulebyaka (“кулебя́ка” in Russian) — was a traditional Russian delicacy. It's a type of Russian pirog, which is a baked case of dough stuffed with filling.
In the early 20th century, a famous French chef, Auguste Escoffier, brought kulebyaka to his homeland and included the recipe in his cookbook. From that time on, the dish was rechristened and popularized as “coulibiac” in the West.
Kulebyaka traditionally includes layers of salmon fillets, rice, boiled eggs, onions, and mushrooms, all wrapped in a puffed pastry. Our coulibiac follows in these footsteps, wrapping up all these tasty ingredients in a crisp dough parcel.
There are plenty of choices for stuffing — try salmon, sturgeon, trout, or eel. For the pastry shell, either puff pastry or brioche will do.
Salmon is also a rich source of DHA — a type of omega-3 fat that can only be absorbed into your body through eating. It's not exaggerating to say that you'll do your heart a great favor by consuming salmon.
In this salmon coulibiac, it's necessary to note that the puff pastry wrap adds a significant amount of carbohydrates. A serving of this dish yields 207 calories and 18 grams of carbs from the pastry alone.
However, please rest assured that the amounts of pastry and flour used in our recipe have been carefully monitored. Based on a 2000-calorie diet, these nutrients stay within the USDA’s recommended DRI.
Main Ingredients for Salmon Coulibiac
Inside the golden exterior of this fish pie, you’ll find layers of goodness including salmon fillets, mushrooms, hard-boiled eggs, and kale. They’re all layered onto one another for a fantastic celebration of savory flavors.
The main ingredients and the order in which they’re arranged inside the pastry loaf are all totally up to you. However, we believe if you’re new to salmon coulibiac, sticking with these basic ingredients is a safe bet for your first try.
1. Salmon Fillets
Salmon is easily accessible, and also one of the most nutritious and fool-proof fish for cooks and diners alike. Although wild salmon is particularly coveted for its rich flavor, any variety of salmon can work well in this dish.
When preparing salmon, you might need to trim the sides of the fillets so they fit the shape you’re planning on. To enhance the smoky flavor, consider seasoning your salmon with salt, pepper, and cayenne before layering.
If you can’t get your hands on salmon, other types of seafood including sturgeon, trout, and eel are just as acceptable. In our opinion, the best possible substitutes for salmon in this dish are cod, haddock, and red snapper fishes.
The style we chose for this salmon coulibiac recipe was brown mushrooms, also known as cremini mushrooms. They stand up well to grilling without drying out and becoming wilted.
Cremini mushrooms are actually button mushrooms in the mature state. They're firmer in texture and deeper in flavor compared to white mushrooms, with colors ranging from tan to deep brown.
How to Make Salmon Coulibiac
Step 1: Season the salmon
Season the salmon fillets.
Step 2: Boil the kale
Boil the kale, fish it out and let it drain. Squeeze to remove excess liquid and then chop it small.
Step 3: Make the filling (1)
In a skillet, sauté onions for 5 minutes in olive oil until fragrant.
Step 4: Make the filling (2)
Continue to add mushrooms. Keep sautéeing until golden.
Step 5: Make the filling (3)
Add basmati rice, chicken broth, salt, and ground black pepper to the skillet. Sauté until the chicken broth is absorbed and the mixture is almost dry. Remove from heat and set it aside.
Step 6: Roll out the pastry
Dredge flour on parchment paper, roll out the puff pastry, then place it onto the baking sheet.
Step 7: Spread the filling
Spread rice onto the pastry to create a bed on which your salmon can sit. Continue to place the hard-boiled eggs and kale on top of the salmon in successive layers.
Step 8: Wrap
Use your hands to gently press everything into a dome shape. Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry (wider) to wrap the fillings tightly.
Step 9: Seal
Use a fork to press and seal the pastry layers together. Brush the beaten egg yolk on the outer surface.
Step 10: Bake (1)
Bake at 360℉ for 20 minutes in the middle rack of the oven, then transfer the baking sheet to the bottom rack and bake for another 10 minutes.
Step 11: Bake (2)
Turn the heat up to 480℉ and bake for an extra 2 minutes to create the golden outer shell.
Step 12: Serve
Remove from the oven. Divide the loaf into smaller portions and serve hot.
Tips for Best Results
Here's the most important things we've learned from our experiments with this salmon coulibiac recipe:
Do the layering quickly. After the pastry dough receives heat from the fillings, folding and tucking will become impossible.
Coat both the rolling pin and the parchment paper with generous amounts of flour so the dough won't stick.
For those who're unfamiliar with making pastry, it's not unusual to fail in your first attempts. You might need to reform and reroll the dough multiple times to truly get the feel of it, so be patient.
How Long Does Salmon Coulibiac Last?
Leftover salmon coulibiac can last up to 3 days. Cooked ingredients, if covered tightly and stored separately in the fridge before prepping, can stay good for a week.
Although being labor-intensive, salmon coulibiac is easy to make in advance. Here’s how you do it:
First, spend your free time preparing the ingredients for the filling beforehand. Assemble everything on the pastry wraps in layers, enclose the wraps tightly, then cover the whole loaf with clingfilm.
Next, refrigerate the unbaked salmon coulibiac until your tablemates are ready to eat. When needed, simply unwrap, pop it into the oven, and wait for a few minutes.
What to Serve with Salmon Coulibiac
When serving, salmon coulibiac is cut into thick slices and divided into small portions. Since this is a protein-rich delicacy with rice included, it matches well with green salad and a frosty fruit juice.
1. Greek Salad
Fresh mixes of greens are always great complements to savory main dishes, so Greek salad is our first choice to pair with this salmon coulibiac. Thanks to the addition of feta cheese, this salad also offers an extra powerful source of healthy fats.
2. Strawberry Watermelon Juice
After a few crunchy and nutritious bites, let's take a sip of this low-calorie strawberry watermelon juice for some cool refreshment.
Loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, strawberry watermelon juice is a healthy and incredibly refreshing summer drink. It also contains only a small amount of added sugar, so it can still help you manage your calorie intake.
A writer and entrepreneur, Luna’s day doesn’t start at the computer keyboard, but in the kitchen.
Half of her working hours are spent on mixing ingredients for her recipes. The other half involve working with the tech team to research and test the tools and appliances that promise to make kitchen work effortless and mess-free. From a kitchen knife or water filter to the Instant Pot, if it can help save time and effort for the home cook, Luna and her team are on it.
Luna’s extracurricular pastimes include camping, travel, and photography.