Gretta Anna’s Coulibiac (Russian Salmon Pie)

Serves: 8

This is one hell of a decadent – and very pleasantly unusual – pie.

Something that Tsar’s no doubt enjoyed a hundred years back.

Scan the ingredients and you would have to agree.

There is a bit of effort in it – thanks Nat – and the handling of the filo pastry was touch and go; make sure you reduce the smoked salmon and mushroom mixtures until well thickened.

Also, we agreed that using fresh salmon might lighten the pie slightly, though the smoked salmon is subtle and the whole point of this pie is to live the good life.

Lobster or prawn bisque can be found at good delis and fishmongers.

Otherwise, I commend the Coulibiac to you. It is such a classic.

Ingredients

10 sheets filo pastry
100gm butter, melted
2 c walnuts, chopped
Beaten egg, for brushing
350gm sour cream (optional)
3 spring onions, finely diced (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rice Mixture

1/2 c medium-grain white rice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp chopped dill
4 golden shallots, chopped
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Mushroom Mixture

400gm mushrooms, chopped
90gm butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200ml pure cream
2 tsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tbsp chopped marjoram

Smoked salmon mixture

1 x 400gm tin prawn or lobster bisque
400 ml pure cream
170gm smoked salmon, chopped
1 x 185gm tin crabmeat, drained and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Method

  1. To make the rice mixture, cook the rice until tender. Season with salt and pepper, then mix in the dill, shallots and pine nuts. Place in the refridgerator until required.
  2. To make the mushroom mixture, sauté the mushrooms in the butter in a frying pan until soft, then season with salt and pepper and add the cream. Stir in the cornflour mixture to thicken, then add the majoram. Place in the refridgerator until required.
  3. To make the smoked salmon mixture, place the bisque into a saucepan with the cream and and bring to the boil, whisking until it thickens. Add the salmon and crabmeat and season with salt and pepper. Add the boiled egg. Place in the refridgerator until needed.
  4. Preheat the oven to 190c and grease an overnproof serving dish.
  5. Place 2 sheets of filo pastry on the bench top with 2 further sheets alongside the first two. Brush the top sheet of each set of filo pastry sheets with melted butter and chopped walnuts. Add 2 more sheets of the follow to each set and add more melted butter and chopped walnuts. Add the last 2 sheets of filo, one on top of each set.
  6. Leaving a 5cm space top and bottom (to allow for tuck-in when rolling), place a 10cm band of each of the three mixtures (using half of each mixture), one on top of the other, down one set of pastry. Brush the pastry edges with beaten egg and fold the pastry over the top and bottom. Fold the pastry in on both sides of the mixture to form a roll, tucking in both tops and bottoms as they are rolled.
  7. Repeat with the other set of pastry and remaining filling.
  8. Place the two rolls in the prepared serving dish and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with remaining chopped walnuts and bake for about 40 minutes until crisp and golden
  9. Combine the sour cream with the spring onions and season with salt and pepper. Serve the coulibiac in slices with the sour cream, or leave it unsauced.

Prawn Börek

Makes: 8

Lordy.

These little numbers are absolutely incredible; like two-hat Middle Eastern incredible.

The egg, the melted cheeses, the prawns and especially the heat from the chilli. And then the nigella seeds.

I cannot overstate the importance of trying these at home as part of a bigger Middle Eastern feast.

You’ll smirk as you present them, comfortable that all remaining courses will be in your shadow with another family cook-off comfortably won by you.

Amazing.

(The original recipe from the wonderful Gourmet Traveller with only a few minor changes from me.)

Ingredients

6 large uncooked king prawns, peeled, deveined and finely chopped
100gm haloumi, finely grated
100gm Greek sheep’s feta, finely grated
2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp isot pepper*
2 egg yolks
8 filo pastry sheets
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
Melted butter
1 tsp nigella seeds**

Method

  1. Combine prawns with cheeses, parsley and isot pepper, then fold through the egg yolks.
  2. Take a sheet of filo pastry, brush butter on one half lengthways and then fold the filo in half lengthways. Place 2 tbsp of filling at one end, then fold o corner of pastry over filling to form a triangle. Repeat folding from side-to-side in a triangle shape until there is one fold left. Brush with butter and make the last fold, pressing to seal the triangle. Trim any excess overhanging pastry.
  3. Repeat for the remaining pastries and refrigerate for 1 hour uncovered to dry.
  4. Heat oil in a large deep saucepan to 180c. Deep fry the börek in batches, turning occasionally until golden and cooked through: 3 – 4 minutes.
  5. Drain on paper towels, spring with nigella seeds and serve.

* Substitute chilli flakes.
** Substitute cumin seeds.