Fish, Rice, and Mushrooms in Pastry
Our decadent, farewell-to-the-czars ﬁsh kulebiaka layered with blinchiki (crepes) was probably the most spectacular thing Mom and I have ever made in our lives. And so time-consuming that I can't really recommend you try it at home. Instead, I offer here a far less laborious version--minus the complicated layers and blinchiki--that will still leave your guests gasping with awe. The sour cream in the yeast dough (Mom's special touch) adds a lovely tang to the buttery casing. Inside, the ﬂavors of wild mushrooms, dill, and two types of ﬁsh all mingle seductively. Serve the kulebiaka for special occasions with a green salad and lemon-ﬂavored vodka. Lots of it.
- 1/4 cup warm milk
- 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 large raw egg; plus 2 hard-cooked eggs, ﬁnely chopped
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces; plus 4 tablespoons for the ﬁlling
- 2 1/4 cups ﬂour, plus more as needed
- 3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
- 8 ounces boneless, skinless salmon ﬁllet, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 8 ounces boneless, skinless cod ﬁllet, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 medium onions, ﬁnely chopped
- 10 ounces wild or cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and ﬁnely chopped
- 1 cup cooked white rice
- 3 tablespoons ﬁnely chopped dill
- 3 tablespoons ﬁnely chopped ﬂat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons vermouth or dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons chicken stock
- 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 to 3 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
- Glaze: 1 egg yolk whisked with 2 teaspoons milk
1. Make the pastry: In a medium bowl stir together the milk, yeast, and sugar and let stand until foamy. Whisk in the raw egg, 1/2 cup sour cream, and the salt. In a large bowl, combine the 8 tablespoons of cut-up butter with the ﬂour. Using your ﬁngers, work the butter into the ﬂour until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add the yeast mixture and stir well with your hands to make a soft dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
2. Bring the dough to room temperature, about 1 hour. Grease a mixing bowl with a little butter or oil. Turn the dough out onto a ﬂoured work surface and knead, adding more ﬂour as needed, until smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to the greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
3. Make the filling: In a large skillet heat the oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the salmon and cod and cook, turning once, until ﬁsh just begins to ﬂake, about 7 minutes. Transfer the ﬁsh to a large bowl. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onions and cook until light golden. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are golden and the liquid they throw off has evaporated, about 7 minutes, adding more oil if the skillet looks dry. Transfer the mushrooms and onions to the bowl with the ﬁsh. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sour cream, the hard-cooked eggs, rice, dill, parsley, vermouth, lemon juice, stock, and nutmeg. Mix everything well with two forks, stirring gently to break up the ﬁsh. Season with salt and pepper. Let the ﬁlling cool to room temperature.
4. Preheat the oven to 400°F. with the rack set in the center. Halve the dough and form two logs. On two lightly ﬂoured sheets of wax paper, roll each dough log into a 10 by 16-inch rectangle. Transfer one dough sheet to a large foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, leaving a 1-inch border. Spread the ﬁlling over the bread crumbs in a neat compact layer. Drape the remaining dough over the ﬁlling and pinch the edges to seal. Trim excess dough from the edges, and reserve scraps. Fold up the edges of dough and crimp decoratively. Let the kulebiaka rise for 15 minutes. Brush the top of the pastry with egg glaze. Roll out the dough scraps, cut into decorative shapes, and press on top of the dough. Brush again with the egg glaze. Poke small holes through the top of dough for steam to escape. Bake until golden and beautiful, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, cut into slices, and serve.