Salmon Coulibiac with Mustard Sauce

In the restaurant, we used to make Salmon Coulibiac for New Years appetizer. It was wildly popular and considering how easy it is to make and the big WOW factor, I am surprised we didn’t offer it more than just on New Years menus.

Salmon Coulibiac is a great dish to use poached salmon but this time, I had some salmon left over from dinner. So I decided to use that up.

This recipe makes quite a bit. I got 2 lovely fish out of it and still had enough left over to make a couple of smaller rolls with the filling.

There are a couple of ways to approach this, you can layer the filling ingredients or you can mix them all together.

Personally, I like layering as the sliced serving looks so much better.

Salmon Coulibiac

You will need:

  • 2 sheets of puff pastry or you can make brioche if you like
  • 8-10 ounces of cooked salmon
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 ounces of sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced if layering, chopped if mixing together
  • Cooked rice (I used a wild and brown rice mixture)
  • fresh cilantro
  • Fresh scallions, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions and mushrooms in butter until done. Season with salt and pepper, deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine.

Cool to room temperature.

Lay the puff pastry on a cutting board. Trace and cut into a large fish shape. Cut two: one for the bottom and the other to top. The top should be slightly larger than the bottom.

Transfer the bottom fish shape to a sheet pan lined with parchment and dusted lightly with corn meal.

Leaving a 1/2 inch border around the outside, place a bottom layer of cooked rice.

Top with cooked salmon, then the onions and mushrooms, hard-boiled eggs, cilantro and scallions.

Season with salt and pepper.

Moisten the edge of the dough with egg wash, top with the other piece of dough. Press together to seal the edges all around.

Use dough scraps and a knife tip to create a design in the dough

Using scraps of dough, decorate the surface to create gills, eye, scales can be traced with a knife point. Cut through the dough in a few places to create vents for steam to release during cooking. If you don’t, your fish will break open during baking. Not a good look.

Use egg wash to hold the decorations in place and wash the entire surface with egg wash to give a nice shiny surface to the finished dish. Sprinkle a few bread crumbs on the surface if you like.

Bake is a 375°F oven for 40 minutes or until done and golden brown.

Mustard Sauce

Simple and tasty

  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste

Bring the half and half and cream to a boil, whisk in the mustard and garlic, simmer for 5 minutes.

Adjust seasonings with salt if needed.

To serve:

Slice the Salmon Coulibiac and place each slice on a plate, put a spoon of sauce over one edge.

Serve with a salad and enjoy!

This is a great dish to use up any leftover salmon and rice you may have in the fridge.

If you aren’t the whimsical type and want to make this without the fish shape, you can.

Personally I love the fish shape, it makes me smile!

How to Cook Salmon

Dear Tyler,

There are many ways to cook salmon. I am going to suggest one or two simple methods here to get you going.

I like to cook extra when salmon is on the menu because it makes great salmon salad, like tuna salad. When you were little, the first time you have salmon salad, you came home from school and told me it was the best tuna fish sandwich you ever had.

So you will like salmon as a salad, if you don’t recall.

To make the salmon salad, I used Saffron Aioli, which will be the next posting for you.

To address the salmon:

The easiest way for you to cook it is to  start by rinsing the fish under cold water. If you have a large piece, cut it into pieces about 1″ thick, or as thick as you want your portions to be.

Feel along the flesh to locate pin bones. If you find some, pull them out with needle nose pliers.

Pat it dry with a paper towel.

Rub your fingers over the fish to feel for any “pin bones”. Pull these out with a pair of needle nose pliers. They are hard to get out, that is why we use the pliers. If you don’t have pliers, try to pull them out with your fingers, being careful not to destroy the flesh while doing so.

Be careful not to destroy the flesh as you remove the pin bones. If can be pulled apart easily. Look carefully, see how this part of the fish looks ‘damaged’? It isn’t all smooth and together like the rest of the fish.

If the skin is still on, don’t try to remove it. There is a technique I will need to coach you on later and that will be done in person. The skin will be very easy to remove after the fish is cooked.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. (When the light goes out, the oven has reached 350°F) Pre-heating the oven may take up to 5-10 minutes depending on your oven. Plan ahead.

Oil an oven proof dish so the salmon won’t stick.

Season the fish with at least salt and pepper. You don’t have to use much, but a pinch will make all the difference. Use your favorite.
Notice the cut portion size.

Season the fish with your favorite seasonings. Salt and pepper are just fine, add a squeeze of lime or lemon; drizzle with a bit of olive oil.

Place a saute pan on the heat and get the pan hot. Add a small amount of oil to cover the bottom of the pan with a thin-film of oil. You can brush it on or pour it and tilt the pan to get the bottom coated.

Place the salmon in the pan, top serving side down first. Sear it until it is golden brown. If the fish is ‘sticking’ to the pan, wait a minute or two. When the salmon is ready to turn, it will release on its own.

Using a metal spatula with slots in it, to turn the salmon over.

This tool is called a fish spatula –  but it is useful for much more than fish!

Place the pan in the oven to finish cooking the fish while you get the rest of the dinner ready.

Total cooking time for salmon is in the general area of 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, the accurate temperature of the oven and how long does the salmon stay on the burner or in the oven.

Safety Hint!

Only place pans in the oven that have oven proof handles! If the handles are plastic or other than metal, they cannot be put in the oven. Check your pans to see if the handles are oven proof before you put the pan in the oven.

Continue to cook the fish until it is no longer raw in the center. You can eat salmon medium rare and even raw, but I would advise buying “Sushi Grade” salmon if you want to eat it less than done.

Sushi grade will cost nearly double. It goes through a freezing process to kill any parasites that won’t be killed by cooking.

If you want to cook some rice to go with the salmon, plan on cooking that just before you start the salmon. It will take about 20 minutes for basmati rice; 50 to 1 hour for brown and heavier grain rice.

While the salmon is cooking, steam some vegetables. In the photo, I chose “Romanesco” which is like a green cauliflower but the florets form a very interesting logarithmic spiral  growth pattern.

English: The fractal shape form of a Romanesco...

English: The fractal shape form of a Romanesco broccoli. Français : Une tête de chou Romanesco et sa forme fractale. Photo prise avec un appareil Canon D-60 équipé d’un objectif 18-135 mm IS de même marque.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It tastes a bit like a mix between broccoli and cauliflower. Sometimes called Romanesco broccoli or Roman cauliflower, this vegetable has been around since the 16th century.

Since you like broccoli, look for this too. I am sure you will love it just as much. I like it for the wonderful oddness of it all. To me it is just a marvel!

Cook it the same as you would broccoli.

Other ways to cook salmon:

Another way to cook your fish is to wrap it all up in a tin foil bundle and bake it at 350°F for 10 -15 minutes; until it is done.

Squeeze some fresh lemon or lime juice over the salmon, plate it and gobble it all up.

Or

Place the fish on a sheet pan or oven proof dish and instead of sauteing it in a pan, simply place the dish in a pre-heated oven and cook for 10-15 minutes or until done.

The fish is cooked in all cooking methods when it is no longer dark salmon color in the center, it flakes easily and it reads 145°F on an instant read thermometer.

Cold salmon is delicious too.

It will flake easily when done.

When thinking about what seasonings to choose for salmon, remember salmon has a salty profile with a tinge of sweetness. Sweet vinaigrette such as raspberry vinaigrette or honey Dijon vinaigrette make a great sauce for salmon.

Mix white balsamic (or dark balsamic) vinegar with Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Add olive oil to smooth it out and use that as a sauce. Adjust quantities to taste. You don’t need to make a lot.

Whisk it all together and voila! For raspberries, use melted raspberry jam (seedless) or mash some fresh or thawed frozen berries through a wire mesh strainer to get the pulp without the seeds.

That’s another post!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Bon Apetit!

Love,

Mom

This past week

During this past week I have had some time off to get some projects off of my need to do list.

This is what I have been up to:

  • Taxes are done! Until next year. Every year I say I’m going to keep track of records so there isn’t so much to do at the end of the year. Right.
  • Nurturing sourdough cultures into some wonderful bread
    • The cultures had sat in the back of the fridge for over a week, neglected. I was afraid they were dying but after some TLC, Voila! Lively sourdough cultures.
    • I used Amaranth flour and discovered a wonderful green corn silk flavor which turns nutty when toasted
    • I made enough bread for the neighborhood. I love working with the dough. Something about it that I can’t explain
  • Located a commercial kitchen for the production of the condiment line we have been working on for a couple of years.
    • It is amazing how hard these facilities are to find.
    • Now for the details of product liability insurance, leases, USDA labeling compliance etc.
    • Finalizing all of the marketing materials from labels, cards, point of sale materials etc.
    • Lining up spaces in farmers markets to begin marketing
      • Design table display
      • Develop standard product demonstrations
    • Releasing product samples to a sales rep for larger sales and markets
  • Created some great meals that should have been on Spoon Feast
    • Crispy chicken thighs with green Thai sauce over coconut rice
      • Thai green sauce is a recipe in development and simply knock your socks off delicious!
    • Black Bean Soup
    • Grilled Steaks with classic salad and baked potatoes
    • Chicken breasts with lemon rosemary
    • Salmon salad on toasted homemade bread
    • Oven “fried” cod fillets with Thai green sauce (see above) and jasmine rice
    • Deviled Eggs, a true Southern dish

I suppose I should have been blogging about these dishes but didn’t.

I just wanted to cook without documentation.

  • Listened to French moviesall day just to hear the language.
    • I was inspired by Becoming Madame to find more ways to immerse myself into the process of learning French.
  • Registered for a digital photography class Saturday afternoon
    • I am very excited about this one!

I’ll be back on the regular blogging schedule by tomorrow.

In the meantime, the orchid has started blooming, soil is warming, the coffee is hot, and it is going to be a glorious day.

Life is good.