Talk about expanding my culinary repertoire! Fellow Melting-Potter Tony picked this dish out for June, and when I saw the recipe, I started shaking my head. There was no way I was skilled enough to complete this! Determined to see it through, though, I read and read, and read the recipe some more. Thank goodness Rose laid out the blueprint for this in such an easy to follow manner, including the important notes that each part of this dish can be made 1-2 days ahead of time, and assembled the last day. With this in mind, I started plotting out my strategy on multiple sheets of paper.
Since I’m vegetarian, I would also cut this recipe in half (from 12-16 servings to 6-8). Bummer for me because I love brioche, couscous, dill, and crepes! Ah well. Onwards!
On day 1 I made the egg/parsley/couscous filling. Boy did it smell heavenly (and tasted yummy from the small forkful I allowed myself). This was a snap to make and would make a great side dish on its own, perfect when chilled as a summer evening patio meal.
Day 2 I started the brioche.
Boy did this make my kitchen smell heavenly.
It was a very warm day when I made this so the dough had absolutely no trouble rising to perfection!
I thought about making the crepes as well but ran out of time (busy work week and a very active 15 month old leaves little time for baking or cooking these days).
Day 3 I made the salmon. It was a lot of fun, and extra special because my brand new All-Clad saucier pan had just arrived by UPS in the morning. OMG I love this thing!!!
It was a bit tricky separating out the mushrooms after they’d cooked with the salmon but I was victorious. Smelled sooo good cooking, worth the extra heat in the kitchen on a hot summer afternoon.
Day 4 saw me making the dill crepes and assembling the coulibiac. Sad to say my crepe pan was 8in not 6in so they came out a little wonky, but I figured it was okay since no one would see them anyway. The secret to these beauties is using cornstarch instead of flour to soak up the fluids while baking – it keeps the brioche from getting soggy. Rose is brilliant as always!
It was a lot of fun assembling the pie though the brioche was a bit tricky to handle. I loved how it looked at the end, all neatly tucked up and ready to bake. I used a fluted heart cookie cutter to make some vents, but they looked a little big so I put half the dough back in. Rose suggests decorating with pastry bits but I didn’t have time to make up a batch of dough.
A little unsure of the baking time because I halved the recipe, I decided to error on the side of caution and make sure it cooked thoroughly. Looked beautiful coming out of the oven!
My husband isn’t a fan of dill or mushrooms, so alas I didn’t get him to try this dish. But my in-laws loved it when they came over for the 4th of July, and received rave reviews from my husband’s co-workers. One suggested making a tzatziki sauce instead of serving with melted butter – might have to try that next time! It was a huge hit and I’m told I can make this again any time I feel like it. “You’d have to be stupid not to love this,” was one review (pointedly but with humor directed at my husband).
If you are serving a big crowd and have access to several pounds of salmon, I highly recommend this dish. It’s a showstopper and has so many layers of flavor that it’s sure to please a wide variety of pallettes.