Russia

Dish

This is one of the best fish pies ever invented. It's perfect for entertaining as it can all be made well in advance. Provided everything is cooled thoroughly first, all you have to do is cover it with clingfilm and leave in the fridge until needed, then pop it into the oven just before you serve the first course. The dish was so popular in Russia in the early part of the twentieth 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. Salmon coulibiac is a traditional Christmas holiday dish in Russia becauseit looks like a present,all gift-wrapped in puff pastry.

Ingredients

  • 500g salmon fillet
  • 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 100g long grain rice, cooked and cooled
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 4 large spring onions
  • 2tbsp unsalted butter
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • 2tbsp dill, chopped
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat oven to 22OC/gas mark 7.
  2.  Melt 1 tbsp of the butter and mix the cooked rice along with the lemon zest and juice.
  3. Place the salmon fillet on a large piece of foil, season with salt and pepper, dot with the remaining butter and fold the foil round the fish to make a large parcel.
  4. Place in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. Open the foil and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Saute the mushrooms in non-stick frying pan with a little olive oil until lightly golden and when cool mix in the dill and season lightly.
  6. Roll the pastry out to a 2-3mm thickness and cut a large 18cm x 25cm rectangle. Place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper and brush around the edges with a little of the beaten egg.
  7. Spoon half the rice mixture on the base and spread out then add a layer of the chopped hard boiled egg and a layer of mushrooms.
  8. Place the salmon fillet on top and then layer the remaining mushrooms and hard boiled eggs and finally the rice mixture on top.
  9. From the remaining pastry cut out a large rectangle big enough to cover the top and sides of the salmon and filling.
  10. Place this over the top and press down the edges of the pastry, crimping them to form a sealed pastry parcel.
  11. Decorate the top with pastry leaves and brush with beaten egg.