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Coulibiac with Sour Cream Dill Sauce



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"Fish, to taste right, must swim three times - in water, in butter, and in wine."
- Polish Proverb


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Coulibiac with Sour Cream Dill Sauce
Best of Gourmet, Vol. 3

from the Editors of Gourmet, 1988, Condé Nast Books

1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless salmon fillet, cut crosswise
into 2-inch-thick strips
1 cup minced onion
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
2 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed several times and drained
1/2 cup converted white rice
1 pound mushrooms, chopped fine
2 teaspoons dried thyme, crumbled
2 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped fine
1 cup cooked fresh peas or thawed frozen peas
Quick brioche dough (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
An egg wash, made by beating 1 large egg with 1 teaspoon water

For the sauce
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup snipped fresh dill

Lemon wedges as an accompaniment
Dill sprigs for garnish

In a saucepan just large enough to hold the salmon in one layer cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of the butter over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until it is softened, add the stock, the wine, and salt and pepper to taste, and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the salmon, on it lay a buttered round of wax paper, and poach the salmon, covered, at a bare simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, or until it barely flakes. Transfer the salmon with a slotted spatula to a plate, reserving the cooking liquid, and sprinkle it with the lemon juice, the oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Turn the salmon, coating it with the lemon marinade, and cover it with plastic wrap. The salmon may be prepared 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and brought to room temperature.

While the salmon is marinating, in a saucepan bring the reserved cooking liquid to a boil, add the wild rice, and simmer it, covered, for 30 minutes. Add the white rice, simmer the mixture, covered, for 20 minutes, and simmer it, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is absorbed. While the rice is cooking, in a large skillet cook the mushrooms with the thyme in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid the mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add the mushroom mixture to the rice mixture and combine the mixture well. The mushroom rice mixture may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and brought to room temperature. In a bowl stir together well the mushroom-rice mixture, the eggs, the peas, and salt and pepper to taste.

Reserve one fourth of the quick brioche dough, wrapped in plastic, for decoration. Halve the remaining dough and on a lightly floured surface roll out each half into an approximately 16- by 10-inch rectangle, 1/3 inch thick. Transfer 1 of the rectangles to a baking sheet, sprinkle it with the bread crumbs, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border along the edges, and spread half the mushroom-rice mixture over the crumbs. Arrange the salmon in one layer on the mushroom-rice mixture and spread the remaining mixture over the salmon, patting it firmly in place. Brush a 1-inch band of the dough around the edges of the filling with some of the egg wash, lay the second brioche rectangle over the filling, fitting it gently, and press the 2 pieces of dough together at the base of the filling. Leaving a 3/4-inch border on all sides of the filling, cut away the excess dough, reserving it for another use if desired. Cut a 1-inch hole in the top of the coulibiac. Roll out the reserved fourth of the dough 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface and cut out leaf shapes and long strips for decorating the top and forming braids along the bottom border, respectively. Brush the entire surface of the dough with some of the remaining egg wash, apply the decorations, pressing firmly, and brush them with the remaining egg wash. Chill the coulibiac for 15 minutes, bake it in a preheated 350° F. oven, covering it loosely with foil if the crust begins to brown too fast, for 50 minutes, and let it stand on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Make the sauce while the coulibiac is baking:  In a bowl stir together the sour cream, the lemon juice, the snipped dill, and salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the coulibiac to a large platter and around it arrange the lemon wedges and the dill sprigs. Slice the coulibiac very carefully with a serrated knife and serve the coulibiac with the Sour Cream Dill Sauce. Serves 6.

Quick Brioche Dough

4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
Two 1/4-ounce packages fast-acting yeast
1/2 cup milk
6 large eggs, beaten lightly
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cut into bits and softened

In the large bowl oh an electric mixer stir together 1 cup of the flour, the sugar, the salt, and the yeast. In a small saucepan heat the milk over moderately high heat until a candy thermometer registers 130° F (tilt the pan so that the thermometer can register). Whisk the milk into the yeast mixture and whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Stir in the eggs and 2 cups of the remaining flour and stir the mixture until it is smooth. Add the butter gradually and enough of the remaining flour, a little at a time, to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Knead the dough with the dough hook, incorporating more of the remaining flour if necessary, for 5 minutes. (Alternatively, transfer the dough to a lightly floured pastry board or other work surface and knead it, lifting it up and slapping it down on the board and incorporating more of the remaining flour if necessary, for 10 minutes, or until it is soft, smooth, and silky.) Transfer the dough to a well-buttered large bowl, let it rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place for 40 minutes, or until it is double in bulk, and punch it down. (The dough may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled, punching it down a second time during the chilling. Let the dough stand, covered, at room temperature for 30 minutes, or until it is pliable enough to be rolled out easily.) Chill the dough, covered, for 15 minutes. Makes enough dough for 1 coulibiac or 12 small brioches.

     Featured Archive Recipe:
Peppercorn-Crusted Salmon with White Wine Butter Sauce


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