One of the most decadent and delicious salmon recipes you’ll ever enjoy – Russian salmon coulibiac! It’s touted by many as the ‘best fish pie ever’! This traditional Russian seafood recipe is made with salmon, mushroom rice and eggs wrapped in buttery puff pastry. The salmon pastry is served with a zesty dill lemon sauce. If you like lots of sauce, make sure to make a double portion! This recipe takes time and patients but you’ll be well-rewarded for your efforts! It’s the perfect dish for special holidays and celebrations! This incredible Russian recipe is from my newest cookbook, Beyond Borscht!
Watch My Coulibiac Video Tutorial!
Watch my step-by-step YouTube video recipe for instructions for making Russian salmon coulibiac! This is one recipe that I recommend watching my video so you get perfect results the first time around! Want to receive new recipe emails in your inbox? Make sure to subscribe to my website and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!
What is Russian Salmon Coulibiac?
You may or may not have heard of this delicious salmon recipe before! Coulibiac, or Russian ‘fish pie’ dates back to Imperial Russia. It’s touted by many as the ‘best fish pie ever’! This old-world recipe can be traced back to the 1850’s when it was made popular by Auguste Escoffier. It can made with salmon, sturgeon, trout or even eel, and buckwheat can also be used in place of the rice. It’s easy to see why this decadent dish is so popular for special occasions! This beautiful pastry will delight your guests!
Ingredients for Coulibiac Recipe
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Salmon: I recommend using wild-caught salmon for this recipe. Make sure the fish is completely thawed first if using frozen salmon!
- Butter: for making the smoky butter spread for the salmon. I like to use salted butter.
- Puff Pastry: pre-made, store-bought puff pastry makes this recipe super easy to prepare. Thaw the pastry in the refrigerator overnight, or at room temperature.
- Mushrooms: use just about any mushroom variety for this recipe. White mushrooms, portabella, shiitake and even chanterelle will work well.
- Eggs: hard boiled eggs are used for the inside and an egg wash for the outside.
- Dill: this refreshing herb adds lots of authentic flavor to the recipe!
- Lemon: for making the lemon sauce.
- Rice: long grain rice works best for the mushroom rice filling.
Making the Mushroom Rice Filling
I like to start this salmon coulibiac recipe with the mushroom rice filling. You can use the mushroom rice recipe from my cookbook, Beyond Borscht, or you can use my ‘Easy Mushroom Rice’ recipe. I have a separate video for this easy recipe so make sure to check it out, too! Prepare the rice according to the instructions below; they’re slightly different from the original recipe. Let the rice cool down completely. You can even make the rice the day before and keep it stored in the refrigerator.
Preparing the Salmon
This traditional Russian recipe can be prepared with salmon, sturgeon or even trout. I love to use salmon since it’s most accessible and readily available. You’ll need a large, 2 pound fillet of salmon with the skin and pin bones removed. If you can’t find a large, full fillet, just piece together 2 or 3 smaller sections. I love to use wild salmon whenever possible since it has the richest flavor. If the fillet is too wide, trim down the sides so the assembled coulibiac isn’t too wide.
I season the delicate salmon with a zesty lemon butter made with fresh dill and smoked paprika. This butter spread is the perfect complement for the fish! Mix together the softened butter and seasonings, then use your hands or a spatula to coat the salmon generously. Make sure to season any salmon scraps and use those as well!
How to Make Salmon Coulibiac
Putting together a salmon coulibiac is a breeze if you have everything prepared and follow my step-by-step video instructions! I recommend removing your puff pastry from the freezer the night before and allow it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Roll out the first sheet of puff pastry to fit the salmon comfortably with an 1 to 1 1/2-inches around the perimeter. Make sure to transfer the dough onto parchment paper or a silicone mat before starting to assemble!!
- Before adding the salmon, add a bed of mushroom rice onto the puff pastry.
- Arrange the salmon over the mushroom rice and don’t forget to add any trimmed pieces if you have them.
- Top the salmon with sliced, hard-boiled eggs. The eggs can be prepared the night before, too!
- Add the remaining mushroom rice on top, molding it into a dome over the salmon. Clean up any loose grains of rice from the puff pastry, or the dough might not stick together very well!
- Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry wider than the first to easily cover the fillings. Brush the dough with egg wash and the seal the two layers together with a fork.
- Roll out the third and final piece of puff pastry and cut small slits into the dough. Gently stretch this final piece over the salmon coulibiac, sealing the dough with a fork and then cutting away the edges. I like to leave about a ½-inch seal around the edges.
- Brush the coulibiac generously with egg wash all over. Bake at 375F for 45 to 50 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
Making the Lemon Dill Sauce
While the salmon coulibiac is in the oven baking, it’s the perfect time to prepare the dill, lemon and white wine sauce. This sauce is a must for this recipe! It really helps cut through the richness of the dish and highlights the delicious salmon flavors! If you love sauce, make a double portion of this recipe!
- First, I melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then add the diced shallot. The shallot needs to cook until it’s softened but not browned.
- Next, add in the freshly squeezed lemon juice and wine and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the fresh herbs last and transfer the sauce into a sauce bowl for serving. I also like to enjoy this salmon coulibiac with a squeeze of lemon juice over the top.
Get my Cookbook!
This traditional, old-world Russian recipe can also be found in my newly released cookbook, Beyond Borscht. I wanted to share my video recipe for this dish so that my readers could make it at home more easily! My cookbook has 75 traditional recipes from Eastern Europe, including appetizers, salads, main entrees, soups and even desserts! It’s a must for anyone that loves Eastern European cuisine! It’s available in stores at Barnes & Nobles and online at Amazon, Target, Walmart and many more!
Enjoyed this Russian recipe? Make sure to check out some of my other Eastern European recipes available on my website!
- Ukrainian Braised Pork & Potatoes – tender and juicy chunks of pork shoulder braised in a tomato and mushroom gravy, served with mashed potatoes. This dish is so delicious and hearty!
- Stewed Beef & Potatoes – another incredible comfort food dish, made with tender chunks of beef and potatoes, coated in a tomato sauce.
- The Best Beef Stroganoff – you’ll love this traditional beef dish made with tender pieces of beef tenderloin with a creamy mushroom sauce and noodles!
- Classic Beef Borscht – the most iconic Ukrainian recipe! My delicious recipe is made with slow-cooked beef, beets, tomato sauce and cabbage!
- Smoked Salmon Piroshki – soft, baked piroshki filled with a creamy smoked salmon and cheese filling! So delicious!
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Russian Salmon Coulibiac Recipe (video)
- 2 lb salmon fillet; about 14-inches, 36-cm
- 3 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 4 large eggs, hardboiled
- 1 beaten egg, for egg wash
- Lemons, for serving
For Mushroom Rice:
- 15 white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper
- ½ tsp EACH: coriander, cumin
- 1 cup white, long-grain rice
- 1 ¾ cups chicken broth
For Salmon Spread:
- ½ cup butter, softened
- Zest from 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp fresh dill
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
For Lemon Sauce:
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup white wine
- ½ cup butter
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped dill
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
For Mushroom Rice:
- Prepare the mushroom rice first. Preheat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter and allow it to melt, then add in the sliced mushrooms and diced onion. Sauté the mixture for 7 to 8 minutes, until the mushrooms are browned and the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Season the mushroom mixture lightly with salt, then transfer into a medium pot for cooking the rice.
- To the pot, add the rice and chicken broth. Season the rice with salt, black pepper and just a sprinkle of ground coriander and cumin. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and bring the rice to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the liquids are evaporated. Once the rice is cooked, fluff it with a fork and cool the rice completely.
For Butter Spread:
- Next prepare the salmon spread: combine the softened butter with the salt, lemon zest, dill and smoked paprika. Mix until the seasoned butter is uniform.
Assembling the Coulibiac:
- Using a sharp knife, remove the skin from the salmon and remove any bones. Trim the tail end of salmon and the sides, to make the salmon filet even sized. Ideally, the salmon should be about 6-inches wide. Keep the trimmed pieces and add them to the coulibiac also. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel, then spread the herbed butter evenly all over.
- Preheat the oven to 375F/190C and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
- Begin assembling the pastry: roll out one sheet of thawed puff pastry into a 10×15-inch (25×38-cm) rectangle, or large enough to enough to have at least 1 to 1 1/2-inches around the entire fillet. Transfer the dough onto the lined pan. Spread about 1 ½ cups of the mushroom rice onto the pastry in the center, creating a bed for the salmon to sit atop of. Place the seasoned salmon on top of the rice, then top the fish a layer of sliced, hardboiled eggs. Watch my video recipe to see how it’s done!
- Top the salmon with the remaining mushroom rice, forming and gently pressing it into a dome shape. Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry wider than the first, to cover the fillings comfortably. Brush the beaten egg onto the pastry around the salmon and rice, then add the second layer of dough. Use a fork to press the two layers together, sealing the fillings inside.
- Roll out the third sheet of pastry the same as the second, then using a paring knife to cut 1-inch (2.5-cm) slits into the dough, in neat and overlapping rows. Gently pull apart the dough over the assembled pastry and it should reveal little circles. Seal the dough around the edges using a fork, then use a sharp knife to cut away the excess dough, leaving just ½ – 1-inch border all around. Brush the entire pastry generously with the egg wash.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until the pastry is a rich, golden color. Remove the pastry from the oven and let it cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes prior to serving. To serve, use a long, serrated knife to slice the pastry into thick slices. Serve with fresh lemon wedges and lemon sauce on the side.
For Lemon Sauce:
- For the lemon sauce; this can be prepared while the coulibiac is baking. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and add the butter. To the melted butter, add the diced shallot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, over medium-low heat, until the shallot is tender but not browned. Add the lemon juice, white wine and salt and simmer the sauce for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the fresh herbs last, then remove the sauce from heat.