Two recipes for salmon en croute, kulebiaka or salmon wrapped in puff pastry.

salmon en croute

The dish often referred to as salmon en croûte goes under many pseudonyms and guises. In Russia it is known as Kulebiaka and is celebrated as a glorious fish pie, yet it is not exactly what we would call a pie in the UK or US.

When something is 'en croûte', this invariably means that it is wrapped or enveloped in pastry, like a roll. In English, we would possibly refer to this recipe as 'salmon Wellington' or just salmon in puff pastry.
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Basically, salmon en croûte consists of a crisp and buttery puff pastry enveloping a delicious treasure of varied ingredients.

In different recipes the contents of the 'pie' are not always the same but the most common are filleted salmon, onions or shallots, mushrooms, lemon, dill and parsley.

In the traditional recipe cooked rice and hard-boiled eggs are always used for the filling, whilst in others spinach, watercress or asparagus are also often added.

Once cooked, the salmon en croûte is cut into slices and is generally served with a bowl of sour cream with chopped dill, a cucumber salad, or new potatoes tossed in butter and chopped dill.

Below are two recipes for salmon en croûte. The first is a traditional recipe that uses egg and rice and the second is a more modern recipe.

Traditional Kulebiaka recipe

Ingredients
  • puff pastry made from 450g (1lb) of flour
  • 700g (1½lb) of cooked wild salmon fillet, sliced
  • 225g (8oz) of chestnut mushrooms, chopped
  • 225g (8oz) of chopped shallots
  • 140g (5oz) of unsalted butter
  • 170g (6oz) of brown rice
  • 425ml (15fl oz) of chicken stock
  • 3 sliced hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 tbsp of freshly chopped dill
  • 2 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley
  • juice of a lemon
  • beaten egg to glaze
  • salt and pepper
Method
  1. Gently fry the shallots in a little of the butter.
  2. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 5 mins.
  3. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the top and stir.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. Fry the remainder of the onions in more butter and add the rice. Stir and cook for 1min, coating each grain of rice with butter.
  6. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer until the rice is cooked.
  7. When the rice is cooked add the herbs and stir.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  9. Roll out half of the pastry into an oblong and place onto a baking tray.
  10. Put half of the rice mixture on top of the pastry leaving room around the edges.
  11. Place the salmon on top of the rice, followed by the hard-boiled egg.
  12. Cover this with the mushroom mixture and finally top it all off with the remainder of the rice.
  13. Roll out the other half of pastry and brush the edges with some of the beaten egg.
  14. Lay over the top of the first piece of pastry and press the edges together firmly, ensuring that the filling cannot escape through any holes.
  15. Turn the edges up to double the crust and press down firmly again.
  16. Make a small hole in the top of the pastry for the steam to escape and glaze with the remainder of the beaten egg.
  17. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
  18. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Melt the rest of the butter and pour through the hole in the top of the pastry just before serving.

Salmon, spinach and prawns en croute recipe

Ingredients
  • 500g (1.1lb) of puff pastry
  • 450g (1lb) of skinned salmon fillet, cubed
  • 225g (8oz) of raw prawns, peeled
  • 225g (8oz) of frozen spinach leaves, thawed
  • 300ml (½ pint) of single cream
  • 30g (1oz) of butter
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 tbsp of plain flour
  • 2 tbsp of freshly chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp of mustard powder
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • beaten egg to glaze
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Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. Divide the pastry into two equal halves and roll out to two oblongs of 20 x 33cm (8 x 13 inches). Leave to rest.
  3. Gently fry the shallots in the butter.
  4. Add the thyme and stir.
  5. Add the flour and mustard powder and cook for 1 min.
  6. Remove from the heat and pour in the cream.
  7. Return to the heat and cook, stirring continuously, for 2 min.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and add the nutmeg. Set aside to cool.
  9. Stir in the salmon cubes, prawns, dill and lemon juice.
  10. Place one of the pastry halves onto a baking tray and layer with the spinach, leaving a border around the edges.
  11. Top the spinach with the salmon mixture.
  12. Brush the edges of both pastry halves with the beaten egg and lay the second piece over the top of the filling.
  13. Press the two edges together to seal the filling inside.
  14. Make a hole in the top of the pastry for the steam to escape and brush with the rest of the beaten egg.
  15. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry has turned golden brown.
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