Coulibiac of Salmon with Pickled Beets and Kale
Once the centerpiece on the tables of czars, coulibiac has a storied past. The pastry-wrapped parcel of fish and various layered fillings started its life as kulebyaka, a Russian delicacy, before being commandeered by the French and rechristened coulibiac. This modern update on the classic swaps labor-intensive brioche with store-bought phyllo, which bakes into an ethereally crisp parcel that encases lemony rice, mustard-brushed salmon, pickled beets, and garlicky kale. Each slice reveals clean, vibrant layers, packed with bold flavors. It’s a striking and delicious dish worthy of the center of any holiday table. Curly kale holds its green color beautifully even after cooking, but any hearty green, like lacinato kale or collards, will work here. Use whole-grain mustard, which adds a bit of acid and heat to the salmon, as well as a nice textural contrast from the crunchy mustard seeds. King salmon is best for this recipe; its high fat content delivers superior texture and flavor.
Kale, rice mixture, and sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in refrigerator. Coulibiac can be prepared through step 6 up to 1 day ahead; wrap coulibiac and sheet pan tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Uncover and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Brush top of coulibiac lightly with melted butter so scrunched phyllo adheres. Proceed with step 7.