Day 4 of this fish series brings us to the delicious pastry wrapped fish and rice dish, Coulibiac. Coulibiac is the French adaptation of the traditional Russian Kulebyaka. It consists of salmon (or sturgeon), rice, hard boiled eggs, and mushrooms wrapped in a brioche dough or puff pastry. This dish makes an impressive centerpiece for a lunch or dinner party. I made it once for Christmas dinner and it became the star of the show. It can be made in whatever shape suits the occasion. Have fun with it and let your creativity flow…..

It does require some effort to make this, but you will not be disppointed. Cooking the filling is easy. The work is more in the wrapping of the filling. This is made easier with ready-made puff pastry and the task can be further simplified by making an oval or rectangle loaf instead of some fancy shape. Give it a try!

I decided to make it lighter this time and omitted the eggs. I added carrots and green peas for color. I also used half and half instead of cream. For the fish, I chose steelhead trout with its lovely reddish pink color. The dish came out beautifully. In fact, I like it better as it tasted fresh, moist and flavorful.

Coulibiac (Russian Fish Pie)
2 puff pastry sheets (about 10 inch square each)
1 egg, beaten
6 tbsp half and half
2 cups cooked long grain rice
1 tsp dried parsley
½ tsp dried dill weed
¾ lb steelhead trout, cut into ¾ inch chunks
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
½ cup frozen peas
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Place 1 sheet puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut into a fish shape using the diagonal corners for the head and tail. Cut the trimmings into narrow strips. Brush one side of each strip with a little egg wash and secure in place around the rim of the fish shape to make a raised edge. Cut two triangular pieces for the fin. Attach to the body with a little egg wash. Prick the base all over with fork and bake for 10 – 12 minutes until sides have risen and pastry is lightly golden.

In a bowl, stir together rice, half and half, parsley, and dill weed. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spoon rice onto prepared pastry.

Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped carrots and stir for a couple of minutes. Add trout and peas. Cook trout until they began to change color but do not cook through. Turn off heat, add lemon juice.

Spoon trout mixture on top of rice.

Cut second piece of puff pastry into another fish shape. Brush both sides of pastry with egg wash and place on top of pastry with rice and trout. Press down firmly to secure. Cut pastry trimmings using small semi-circle cookie cutter for the scales. Place “scales” onto body of fish. Cut a few narrow strips of pastry and attached to the tail. Cut a small circle for the eye. Brush the whole fish with remaining egg wash.

Bake at 375˚F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350˚F. Bake for another 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Slide fish onto a board or serving plate. Serves 4 – 6.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!