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This Old Chef: Blog & Recipes

Coulibiac! (Sautéed Tuna with Puff Pastry Rounds and Rice with A Mushroom Brandy Sauce, Sour Cream and Dill

Posted on September 19, 2017 with 0 comments


Deconstructed Tuna "Coulibiac"

No... seriously!

Bear with me.  You know I don't usually employ cutesy foodie terms like "deconstructed."

I went home from the test kitchen with a treasure trove of ingredients:  some chopped cremini mushrooms, some dill...

A small amount of perfect, gorgeous, sushi-grade tuna...

And a few rounds of baked puff pastry...

As you can imagine, deciding how to combine these ingredients seemed challenging, to say the least.

And then my little brain exploded!  I had a scathingly brilliant idea:  Coulibiac!

And just what the hell is coulibiac, you ask?  A very elaborate Russian fish "pie" that involves layering puff pastry with cooked rice, salmon, mushrooms, and dill... then covering it with more puff pastry, and baking.

Did I mention I had some cooked rice in the fridge???

This is just the sort of game I love playing.  Challenging.  Fun.

Let the games begin!

I chopped the mushrooms even more finely... probably about 1C worth... and began to sauté them in EVOO and butter...

In a separate pan, I cooked about 3/4 C minced onions until soft...

... then added the mushrooms, which were now softening and starting to brown... added salt and pepper, splashed in some brandy and white wine, reduced it, set 1/2 of the mixture aside (as the mushroom component), continued cooking the remaining half with more minced onion, then added cream... This would become the sauce.

I sautéed the two small pieces of tuna until barely cooked.  Warmed the puff pastry rounds in the oven (along with serving plates).  Nuked the cold rice.  Reheated the sauce... turned it off... and stirred in chopped dill and sour cream.

Assembly:  Plate.  Puff round.  Rice.  Tuna.  Mushroom.  Puff round.  Sauce.  Dill!!!

Absolutely over the top, absolutely delicious!

And all because I had some stuff in the fridge, was given some great ingredients (in amounts too small to be dinner on their own), read cookbooks like most people read novels...

And I was willing to play with my food.

I admit, hardly anyone receives the "extras" that I get.  But if you're willing, think outside the box... If you see gorgeous tuna for sale, realize that you don't need pounds of it to make a meal.  If you have some sad mushrooms you have to use fast, make a sauce.  Dill about to turn black?  Pick out the good stuff rather than tossing it all away.  As for already baked puff pastry rounds...  Sorry, you're on your own!

Was this a meal we'd eat every day?  Nope, not even if we had daily access to the ingredients.  This meal was very rich, very very old-fashioned, very filling (like Thanksgiving filling)!  But wow, was it fun!  And yes, we sat at table for hours, talking...

The mark of a successful meal.