Our friend and contributor Damien Pignolet is the master of coulibiac and showed us this technique of baking it in a loaf tin. We've used ocean trout in place of salmon and added fennel to the mix, while the herbed buttermilk crêpes that enclose the filling add another layer of flavour. Although this recipe has many steps, once the loaf is assembled, you can refrigerate it overnight and bake it the following day - ideal for serving at a long weekend lunch.
- 40 gm butter, diced
- 200 gm Swiss brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 800 gm piece of skinless ocean trout, pin-boned
- To serve: shaved fennel dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice
- To serve: finely chopped chives, salmon roe and lemon wedges
- 300 gm cooked long-grain rice (100gm uncooked)
- 30 gm butter, diced
- ½ leek, finely chopped
- ½ small fennel bulb, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup each finely chopped flat-leaf parsley and dill
- 125 gm plain flour
- 300 ml each well-shaken buttermilk and milk
- 2 eggs
- 30 gm melted butter, plus extra for brushing
- 1 tbsp each finely chopped dill, chives and flat-leaf parsley
- 280 gm plain flour
- 7 gm (1 sachet) dried yeast
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 extra for beaten eggwash
- 2 tbsp lukewarm milk
- 120 gm softened butter
- 1For rice filling, cook rice by the absorption method, then tip into a bowl to cool. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add leek, fennel and garlic and sauté until tender but not coloured (2-3 minutes). Stir in rind and add to rice. When cooled, stir in herbs and season to taste.
- 2For crêpes, place flour and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Whisk buttermilk, milk, eggs and butter in a separate bowl to combine, then gradually add to flour, whisking continuously until very smooth.
Stir in herbs, cover and set aside to rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Heat a 21cm crêpe pan over medium-high heat, brush lightly with melted butter, then add 80ml crêpe batter, swirling pan to spread evenly over base. Cook until golden on the bottom (1-2 minutes) and bubbles appear on the surface, then turn and cook for another 30 seconds), transfer to a tray lined with baking paper, wipe out pan with paper towels and repeat until you have 6 crêpes.
- 3While crêpe batter rests, make the brioche. Mix flour, yeast and 1½ tsp salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Whisk eggs and milk in a separate bowl, then gradually add to flour mixture, mixing on medium speed and scraping down sides of bowl, until dough pulls away from sides. Beat in butter a little at a time until dough is smooth and glossy (2-3 minutes). Transfer to a container, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled (30 minutes).
- 4Melt butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add mushrooms and sauté until golden brown and tender (3-4 minutes). Season to taste and cool to room temperature. Tip out any liquid that forms in the bowl as mushrooms cool.
- 5Preheat oven to 200C. Trim fish into two 5cm x 21cm rectangles and season to taste. Overlap crêpes on a large piece of baking paper to form a rough 30cm x 35cm rectangle. Spread half the rice mixture lengthways down the centre of the crêpes in roughly the same shape as the fish, scatter half the mushrooms over, then stack both pieces of fish on top. Spread with remaining mushrooms, then top with remaining rice, gently pressing with your hands. Use the baking paper to help wrap crêpes over to enclose mixture.
- 6Butter and line an 11cm-deep, 11cm x 27cm loaf tin with baking paper. Roll brioche dough on a lightly floured piece of baking paper to a 40cm x 55cm rectangle. Place trout parcel in the centre lengthways, fold sides of dough up and over trout parcel to enclose, pinching to seal. Carefully place seam-side down in tin and gently press to flatten top. Brush with eggwash and refrigerate to rest (10 minutes). Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven to 160C and bake until puffed and golden brown (8-10 minutes).
- 7Stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a platter to rest for 10 minutes. Trim ends, then thickly slice, scatter with chives, top with salmon roe, and serve with fennel salad.