Beef wellington is a British favourite that we all know and love, but did you know that the Eastern Europeans make a very similar dish, but with salmon?
In Poland they call it a “Kulebiak”, where it’s a regional dish from the eastern parts – and of course it’s also very popular in Russia. Renowned godfather of French cookery, Auguste Escoffier, actually introduced the dish to French cuisine hundreds of years ago, where it is known as “Coulibiac”.
For the pastry, you can cheat (like we did!) and use store bought butter puff pastry. Or if you have time, try making your own puff pastry, or the quicker ”rough puff”, or even a brioche dough (the original version). You can also make a vegetarian version of this dish with cabbage, wild mushrooms, and buckwheat.
Kulebiak, a Polish Salmon Wellington
For the stuffing:
- 1/2 cup short grain rice, raw
- 4 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
- 500g fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
- 80ml olive oil
- 2 brown onions, finely chopped
- 80g butter
- ½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
To make the kulebiak:
- 1 side (fillet) of salmon, boneless, skinless, about 1.5kg
- 4 sheets ready made butter puff pastry, thawed
for the egg wash:
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp milk
for the sauce:
- 300ml sour cream
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ½ bunch dill, finely chopped
- pre-heat the oven to 230C.
- For the stuffing, begin by boiling or steaming the rice until tender, and boiling and chopping the eggs. Heat a large pot to high, add oil and chopped mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes, without stirring much, until browned. Next, add the butter and chopped onions, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring for 10-12 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent. In a bowl, mix together cooked rice, chopped eggs, cooked mushroom mix, chopped parsley, and season generously with salt and pepper (more than you think, as this will season the salmon)
- For the kulebiak, start by trimming the salmon. First, cut away the thinner belly side and the final 2 inches of the tail end. Use the sliced up trimmings to lay over any thinner parts of the fillet, so that the thickness is even throughout.
- On a large baking paper lined and greased baking tray, lay out a rectangular puff pastry base, overlapping 2 sheets (by 1cm) and pressing tightly to seal. Cut so that it fits the salmon plus a 2cm edge, reserve pastry trimmings. Take a 1/2 of the stuffing mix and place on the base of the puff pastry, then place the salmon on top. Coat the salmon tightly with remaining stuffing mix.
- Make a second rectangle of pastry by overlapping and pressing together the other 2 sheets. For the egg wash, mix together egg and milk. Brush the exposed edge of bottom pastry with egg wash. Lay top pastry over the salmon, and trim to match the base pastry. Press down the edges with a fork. If you like, use pastry trimmings to decorate the top of the pastry. Brush the top of the pastry with ½ the remaining egg wash.
- Place in a hot 230C oven and bake for 20 minutes (1/2 way through coking brush again with the remaining egg wash). If it looks like it’s burning, turn down the temperature. Remove and let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving (the fish will continue to cook in the hot pastry), or serve at room temperature, with sauce on the side.
- For the sauce, simply whisk together sour cream, lemon juice, and chopped dill and season to taste.