After a February outing to the north-west shores of co. Sligo, looking for Barnacle Geese, I was trying to find a dish reflecting the Polar circle, something with Northern flavours I guess; I got inspired by “ Coulibiac”, a salmon and rice dish in puff pastry from Russia but quite popular in Scandinavia. I used instead Smoked Haddock from West Cork, and a buckwheat flaky pastry to reflect my Breton origins. I also made it to a size that could be easily brought for a picnic, after a long winter stroll birdwatching along the west coast of Ireland, for example that is… Here it goes folks!
For the flaky pastry: you’ll need.
- 150g of organic buckwheat flour
- 90g of butter
- A wee pinch of salt
Put the flour in a large bowl, with a pinch of salt, grate the butter on the coarser side ( it has to be very cold). Flick the butter “strings” around the flour with a palette knife, add a bit of cold water ( like 5 to 10cl, no more) keep stirring, then finally use your hand to make a nice smooth dough ball. Wrap in film, and cool for 30 minutes.
For the Filling: You’ll need
- 200g of smoked haddock (good quality, I use Woodcock Smokery)
- 150g of good aged Basmati rice
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 1 bunch of scallions
- Dill (better if fresh, in this case dried).
Smoked haddock: How to…
Place the fish in a large pan filled with milk and black pepper from cold. Heat it up, and it should be ready within 5 minutes (check with the tip of a knife when it starts to crumble). Drain, let the fish cool and crumble in a bowl.
For the other ingredients…
Boil the eggs until hard, cool and peel; separates the whites from the yolks and roughly chopped the whites as you will just need to crumble the yolks. The type of rice I use is from a small Irish company and is from the Taraori region, by the Himalayan range. It is a vintage 100% aged Basmati, AAA-grade. I love cooking with it, it has wonderful texture and cooks really fast. As I am serving it with a few grilled asparagus I found on the market, I sliced some of them and simmered them with the rice. Once cooked and cooled, put the rice in a bowl with slices of scallions.
Assembly: How to…
Roll the pastry in a rectangle, giving yourself plenty of room. Cut the rectangle in half with a pizza ring. Place the rice mix first, then the crumbled fish on top…
… then the chopped egg whites, followed by the crumbled yolks…
Sprinkle generously with dill…
In a bowl, beat a whole egg, and brush all over the pastry. Place the other rectangle over, and press gently all over; you don’t want air to be trapped and burst the pastry, so puncture it a couple of times. It is traditional to decorate it, but you don’t have to; it this case, I egg washed the pastry entirely, cut little butterfly shapes, place them on top, and egg washed it again. Heat the oven at 200c and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Out of the oven…
For the Beetroot Hummus: You’ll Need
- 1 medium organic raw beetroot
- 2 tsp of organic almond paste
- 1 organic lime
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tbsp of yougurt
- A pinch of salt
Over a sieve, and a sieve over a bowl, grate the beetroot and drain well ( keep the juice, it is delicious with fresh orange segments!); in a blender, add all the other ingredients and mix away. It will go very well with the dish. I have also pickled a few cucumber slices in white wine vinegar, dill and sugar.
For the asparagus: How to…
This is optional, as they are not in season, but I found a bunch of organic ones, and I couldn’t resist. Simply cut the hard stalks, place them in a baking tray with olive oil and sea salt and bake for 10 minutes.
When the Coulibiac is ready, cut in slices, serve with pickled cucumbers, raw beetroot hummus, roasted asparagus and yogurt… Happy Days!
Keep Well and Eat Happy