Monday, February 26, 2007

Waiter, there is something in my ... salmon kulebyaka

For the first round of Waiter, there is something in my ... ! I made Anthony Bourdain's boeuf bourgoingnon. For the second round of this new foodblogging event - in February focusing on pies and hosted by CookSister's Jeanne - I made something from the Russian cuisine: kulebyaka. Kulebyaka should have been on my 2007 list of foodie resolutions, as I had been thinking about making it for months, but somehow it slipped my mind when I wrote the post. But better late than never, and now was my chance to make that festive Russian pie. Kulebyaka is a high and oblong closed pie with different types of fillings. When looking for the perfect recipe, I came across kulebyakas stuffed with fish, mushrooms, meat, cabbage, even apples. Some recipes used puff pastry, some yeast pastry. I realised that it is the shape of the pie (enclosed, high, long) that distinguishes kulebyaka from a pirog (that's simply a 'pie' in Russian). However, to me kulebyaka has always meant - first and foremost - a fancy puff pastry pie filled with salmon and rice. At the end, puff pastry, sliced fresh salmon, rice, dill and dainty quail's eggs were my chosen ingredients. For those of you from the British Isles - think of Beef Wellington, just with salmon and rice instead of beef and mushrooms.

Salmon kulebyaka
Serves 6-8

500 grams puff pastry
500 grams salmon or trout fillet, thinly sliced
150 ml rice
12 quail's eggs
fresh dill, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
lemon juice

(egg for brushing, black peppercorns for decorating)

Season the salmon slices with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Cook the rice in salted water until al dente. Drain and cool.
Boil the quail's eggs in simmering water for 2-3 minutes, then cool quickly under cold running water. Peel and put aside.
Roll out the puff pastry.
Place the smaller pastry sheet on a baking tray. Cover with 1/2 of the rice, then dill and 1/2 of the salmon slices. Place the quail's eggs over the salmon.
Sprinkle with dill, then cover with the rest of the rice, top with salmon slices (see right) and sprinkle any leftover dill on top. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze or two of lemon juice.
Cover with the larger pastry sheet. Decorate with small cut-out fish figures (optional - I used black peppercorns for eyes:). Make a couple of insertions into the pastry with a sharp knife, so the steam can evaporate during cooking.
Brush with egg.
Bake at 200C for 20-30 minutes, until kulebyaka is golden brown.
Serve hot, either with a good bouillon (traditional way) or a dollop of mayonnaise.

Here's a cross-section of the finished pie - I really liked the way those quail's eggs looked:


Zarah Maria said...

Wow Pille, that looks amazing! Too bad Martin doesn't like salmon - I'll have to make this on a day he isn't home - and uhm, when I've invited guests, 'cause otherwise I might just devour the total myself!

Alanna Kellogg said...

Ai, just gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

oli mul vaja tulla siia uurima...isu isukest

Anonymous said...

Just watched this TV series with an American chef (Anthony Something), owner of Les Halles in New York (some kind of restaurant, I presume), travelling to different countries and trying out local cuisine. (predictable but relatively funny) Guess what he had when he travelled to St. Petersburg? Except that yours looks ten times better!

Callipygia said...

This looks so beautiful- it has been on my list to make for over 10 years. The version I saw had dill crepes inside too.

Mia said...

Oh, that is BEAUTIFUL. The peppercorn eyes just slay me! I've been thinking about kulebyaka lately, too, it's been far too long since I had some, and I've never made it myself.

Anonymous said...

Not only does that look great it sounds delicious too! I'll have two servings please :)

Anonymous said...

BTW, got the candied kumquat "recipe" :) Many thanks to you and K! :)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

What a gorgeous crust! I had never heard of kulebyaka, so thanks for introducing me to it.

I hope you had a fantastic trip!

Rachael Narins said...

Oh my word, that is just beautiful! WOW!

Jeanne said...

Oh Pille, how absolutely WONDERFUL that looks! Like a Russian take on salmon en croute ;-) Having seen yours with its cute fishy decorations, I think this is going to go on MY to do list as well :) Thanks for a great WTSIM contribution!

Pille said...

Zarah Maria - you can use any other fresh or smoked fish instead of salmon - or omit fish altogether. As long as you shape the pie high and long, you can call it kulebyaka:)

Alanna - thank you!

Maarja - mu meespool kiitis seda pirukat kohe nii agaralt, et mul hakkas vaat et piinlik. Sul peaks seal kaugel-kaugel ju olema võimalik seda kulebjaakat teha küll?

Roxy - it must be Anthony Bourdain you're talking about:) Thank you for compliment - quite a coincidence that both Anthony and I featured this particular fish pie on the same week, eh:)

Callipygia - I haven't had it on my list for so long as you, but I surely am satisfied that I made it:)

Deinin - please try it! We'll definitely make it again soon, as it was easy to make, yet so festive and delicious. I'm also keen to try some other fillings.

Joey - you're welcome:)

Susan - thanks for your kind words. Our trip to Italy was really good, even if the food was a bit of a let-down.

Rachel - thanks!

Jeanne - of course it's more like salmon en croute than 'salmon wellington'. Silly me! Good luck with the round-up - I cannot wait to see all the contributions!

Anonymous said...

on ikka vöimalik teha,a ma pean sellise asjanduse jaoks hoogu vötma ikka mitu setuaega.

Bron said...

Beautiful presentation Pille!
I adore salmon so this one is definitely going down on the list to make!

Pille said...

Maarja - pirukas on hooguvõtmist väärt, usu mind!

Bron - good to hear that:)