Salmon coulibiac

Salmon coulibiac

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(23 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 1 hr, 30 mins Plus cooling and resting

Moderately easy

Serves 6
This majestic fish pie makes a brilliant dinner party centrepiece which can be prepared ahead

Nutrition and extra info

  • Can be frozen uncooked

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal917
  • fat51g
  • saturates29g
  • carbs73g
  • sugars3g
  • fibre3g
  • protein47g
  • salt7.63g
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  • 4 eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 50g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 700g skinless, boneless lightly smoked raw salmon fillets (available from Waitrose & Sainsbury's - if you can't find them, use non-smoked raw salmon fillets), cut into finger thick slices
  • 2 x 375g blocks all-butter puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten, for glazing



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

For the rice

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds

    Coriander seed

    kor-ee-and-er seed

    The small, creamy brown seeds of the coriander plant give dishes a warm, aromatic and slightly…

  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 star anise

    Star anise

    star an-eese

    Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…

  • 200g basmati rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4cm piece cinnamon stick
  • 400ml fish stock or water
  • zest 1 lemon, juice ½



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • large bunch dill


  1. First, get everything prepared. Boil a pan of salted water, add the eggs and cook for 8 mins exactly. Drain and cool under cold water, then peel and set aside.

  2. Heat half the butter in a non-stick frying pan and sizzle the slices of salmon for 1 min on each side (Pic 1), just to firm up the fillets but not cook them all the way through. Lift the salmon onto a plate.

  3. Now cook the rice. Melt the rest of the butter in the same pan. Add the onion, cumin and coriander seeds, cardamom and star anise, then gently fry for 8 mins until golden. Stir in the rice and add the bay leaf and cinnamon stick (Pic 2), then pour over the stock and season generously. Cover and bring to the boil, then lower the heat to its lowest setting and continue to cook for 10 mins. Turn off the heat and leave covered for 10 mins, then stir through the lemon zest and juice. Set aside to cool. This can be done several hrs in advance. Once cool, stir though the chopped dill.

  4. To assemble the pie, roll out one of the pieces of pastry to a rectangle as wide but a third longer than this magazine (23 x 40cm), then lay on a baking tray. Pack half the rice along the middle of the pastry, discarding the star anise and cinnamon as you do so, leaving a good 5cm border around the edge. Lay the salmon over the rice, then slice the eggs and lay those over the whole salmon layer (Pic 3). Top the eggs with the remaining rice and use your hands to gently pack everything down to a firm, even shape. Brush any stray grains of rice off the border, then brush the border with beaten egg,

  5. Roll the second piece of pastry out to a rectangle slightly larger than the first. Drape over the coulibiac and gently press the edges to seal the 2 pastry sheets together. Trim the edges to neaten and crimp with your fingers or press down with a fork. The uncooked pie can now be chilled, on the baking sheet, for a day or frozen for up to 2 months.

  6. To cook, heat oven to 220C/200C fan/ gas 7. Brush the pie all over with beaten egg and, if you want, lightly score the pastry with the back of a knife in a criss-cross fashion, making sure you don’t cut all the way through (Pic 4). Bake for 20 mins, then reduce the heat to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and continue to cook for 20 mins until golden brown. Leave to rest for 10 mins, then serve in thick slices with a bowl of Dill cream or Herb salsa (see recipes, below).

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Comments (29)

faceman77's picture

Stunning in looks and delicious in taste. As suggested I slightly increased the amount of each spice and added 2 layers of spinach.

Yummyscrummy1's picture

This turned out exactly as the picture looks and was very impressive but my family weren't a huge fan - the spices made the rice taste curried which we didn't think worked with the rest of the dish. I won't rate it as it perhaps just wasn't to our taste but if I made it again I would omit all of the spices from the rice and perhaps just use some lemon and dill.

ail4978's picture

I made this receive yesterday and popped it in the fridge for tonight's dinner. . Every one enjoyed it and it looked impressive on the dinner table cooked exactly as per time in recipe. Well worth 5 stars. I added the spinach like previous comments. I also made the dill dip with some fromage frais I had in fridge and just chopped some dill into it. Very tasty.

Cinny's picture

A great make ahead dish although it didn't look quite so neat once I started cutting slices as the rice tended to fall out. I used fresh spinach, as recommended by others, and I'm glad I did as it added a bit more freshness to the dish. Definitely need to add more seasoning than you think, could have done with a bit more taste but was well received.

Syllie's picture

@Jamesingham: you asked for the recipe of the dill cream. Do you see the 'Tip' with the recipe of the salsa? This is page 1/3. If you use the arrows on either side of the tip block you'll switch to the other 2 pages. There you'll find the dill cream recipe...

NPCollister's picture

I have been cooking for many years and always like to try something new. This recipe has to be one of the best meals I have made for a long, long time. Most of all, because the recipe was very accurate in every way - ingredients and cooking time. I would recommend this for anyone entertaining and wants to prepare well before and just pop it in the oven when your guests arrive. I made this for 4 people thinking there would be leftovers and the whole lot was eaten with a fresh salad on the side. It is a centerpiece and worth every penny. 5 stars from me.

harleybarley's picture

This was a fantastic pie. I made one for just me and my wife and we couldn't eat it all as it was much too much for just two people though we nearly made it. The second time I made this pie I made two smaller ones and entered them in a pie competition and won a prize. They were actioned off for the MacMillan charity and then auctioned off for someone to have and eat. Brilliant!

tanyah's picture

Made this twice now and it is stunning. I make it in the morning and pop in the fridge, bring back to room temperature before baking. The smoked flavour of the salmon is essential I think so really try and go for lightly smoked fillets. Sadly not on offer like salmon is often. If you want your pastry super shiny, put the beaten egg on and allow it to dry before baking (yolk only).
2nd time I did it without dill and it definitely was not as good.
Also the sour cream mixed with dill and chives went down a storm! polished off both times.

jamesingham's picture

Hello. I can't see the recipe for the dill cream on the site so I was wondering if you could tell me how you made it please?! Is it just sour cream mixed with chopped dill?! Thank you

Shenna_Maith's picture

This dish is absolutely beautiful. Ideal to make for a dinner party, you prepare it all before hand and leave it in the fridge until your guests arrive. It cooked to perfection and I added a little fish motif on the top to personalise it! I made the sour cream & chive dip and served it with baby new potatoes and spring vegetables - all went together beautifully! The only thing I left out was the fresh dill - Sainsburys had ran out! I don't think this mattered at all as there was certainly enough flavours for us...

charlyjustlovescake's picture

Not too difficult to make, looks really impressive and tastes very good. Would recommend making for party. Very filling so don't need many side dishes. I also added spinach under the egg and tasted great!

leonar's picture

I made this recipe for a dinner party last night. I was a little worried about it being a whole dish in one but it was perfect and so well received. It takes a little time but once it's done, there is nothing else to worry about!

loisguest's picture

Made Coulibiac a few times. One recipe that I used said use fresh spinach aswell. So a layer of rice, then spinach, then Salmon then egg, another of spinach and finally another rice. Use plenty of seasoning. Nice with New Potatoes and Dill sauce. Yummy! A must try.

karenbristow's picture

Hi CathE. I would definitely defrost in the fridge first.

cathyevans2004's picture

This is the first time I have used this particular receipe although I have made one before. This is the first time I have frozen the prepared coulibiac and I wonder how this affects the cooking time. Should I defrost first or cook from frozen? Can anyone help?

malta99's picture

Absolutely love this recipe, a work colleague told me about this recipe but could not remember how to make it. Googled it and came across this one and it is by far the best one tried.

zacspecial's picture

Made this for my sister's dinner. It went down a treat! only 7 people for the dinner, and they ate the whole thing! It does take a bit of time, but it is not difficult at all, and totally worth it. The taste, the look and the compliments made it all worth while.

lynnegraham44's picture

I have made this twice and it is the perfect dinner party main course as, although it is a bit fiddly, it can all be done well in advance - so nice tidy kitchen and serene hostess when guests arrive! It tastes delicious and looks amazing.

irritable's picture

Worth the effort and definitely dinner party material! The rice is superb and l'll copy this for making other meals. Dill cream was excellent - and so simple - although I think would work just as well with low fat youghurt.

29jo10's picture

made it last year for an non-meat Christmas dinner and it was perfect. Especially as you can do the major work beforehand. I think this year merits a repeat


Questions (2)

grmurray's picture

I will be attempting to make the Salmon Coulibiac on Saturday. Please can anyone tell me, who has made this before following this recipe, do you drain the rice BEFORE you add the lemon zest/juice / dill etc or leave the rice in the cooling water and stir it all through sat in the water? Sorry if this seems obvious to most cooks. I would have thought you drain the rice first? Thanks in advance for any help.

jamesingham's picture

I can't seem to see the recipe for the dill cream on the site. Can anyone help please?! Thank you

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