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Gilding the Salmon, a la Russe

couliabiac2I still don’t know how to pronounce it correctly, but this was a pretty spectacular meal, if I do say so myself (I do). Though I’m not giving you the recipe because it would take me days to type it up and would probably break all manner of IPR laws, it’s just too cool not to share…

In ANY event, though, what are we talking about? Ah, the coulibiac of salmon, a Russian–one almost has to imagine czarist–dish of unremitting fanciness and deliciosity. What is it? Salmon, poached. Shallots, sauteed. Mushrooms, velouteed. Cous-cous, fluffed. Dill crepes, creped (?). Puff pastry, glazed. Six people for dinner, wowed. Though it really does kind of have everything, I served it with a quick carrot and asaparagus saute. The slices–I got six big ones out of it–were more than ample, even though everyone did manage to struggle through theirs.

couliabiacUnsurprisingly, this thoroughly over-the-top entree comes from Rose, her Pie and Pastry Bible to be exact. And just so you know, though she suggests making the puff pastry from scratch, I did NOT. I think, much to my chagrin, that I undersalted it a little bit, but even with that, it was very, very tasty. The veloute kept the salmon moist and tender, but any excess was absorbed into the cous cous and  crepes. They , in addition to being flavorful–with chopped dill, parsley, mushrooms, and hard boiled egg–also served to keep the puff pastry crisp and, well, puffy.

Though the preparations were somewhat… heated at times, Rose herself lent a note of levity when she wrote that the recipe was actually quite “practical” since so many of the components can be prepared in advance and that the whole shebang can be frozen for rawther a while. Thanks, Rose; next time I do this, I’ll tooootally make two. It’d almost be worth it, just to whip one of these suckers out on a random Tuesday night.

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