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Salmon Coulibiac: A Regal Russian Delicacy Treasured by Prince Philip

This Russian delicacy was one of Prince Philip’s favorites

Prince Philip, known for his love of food, had a variety of favorite dishes, but one Russian dish held a special place in his heart: salmon coulibiac. This delectable dish features a puff pastry filled with salmon, spices and vegetables, creating a truly mouthwatering combination. Let’s delve into the fascinating history of this Russian delicacy and explore why it became Prince Philip’s favorite.

A historical culinary journey

The origins of salmon coulibiac can be traced back to Russian cuisine, but it has been influenced by both French and German culinary traditions. The dish is said to have originated in Russia, where it was traditionally made with buckwheat and sturgeon instead of rice and salmon. Interestingly, the original version even included the spinal marrow of the sturgeon, adding a unique touch to the dish.
French chefs later adapted the Russian recipe, substituting rice for buckwheat and salmon for sturgeon. The famous chef Auguste Escoffier played a major role in popularizing salmon coulibiac when he served it to homesick Russian naval officers. Escoffier was so impressed with the dish that he included it in his famous cookbook, Le Guide Culinaire.
In addition, German immigrants brought to Eastern Europe a precursor to coulibiac called kohlgeback. This simpler dish consisted of chopped cabbage wrapped in dough. Over time, it evolved into the more elaborate and opulent salmon coulibiac we know today.

Prince Philip’s love of salmon coulibiac

According to Darren McGrady, the former royal chef, Prince Philip had a particular fondness for Salmon Coulibiac. McGrady even created a special recipe for the royal family, substituting tarragon for dill to give the dish a special twist. The prince enjoyed the dish with a side sauce of pepper, garlic, rosemary and chicken stock, although he was careful to use only a moderate amount of garlic to accommodate the queen’s preferences.
Prince Philip’s passion for food extended beyond simply enjoying it. An avid fly fisherman, he sometimes supplied the royal kitchen with freshly caught salmon, even going so far as to hand over live fish for the chefs to prepare. His personal involvement in the creation of Salmon Coulibiac added a unique touch and made it a dish enjoyed by the entire royal family.

The art of making Coulibiac salmon

Salmon coulibiac is not only a delicious dish, but also a culinary masterpiece. It can be a bit complicated to prepare, but the end result is well worth the effort. The dish typically includes mushrooms, rice, salmon, and spinach seasoned with dill, shallots, and white wine. Some versions even feature an elaborate puff pastry exterior that resembles a fish, complete with scales and fins.
While finding salmon coulibiac on modern menus can be a challenge, you may be able to order a prepared version online. However, the homemade variety allows for greater customization and the opportunity to create your own pastry designs. Assembling the dish at home may require time and technical know-how, but the decadence of the meal rivals that of high-quality caviar.

The enduring legacy of salmon Coulibiac

Salmon Coulibiac’s enduring popularity can be attributed to its rich history, exquisite flavors, and the personal touch of Prince Philip himself. This Russian delicacy, with its fusion of Russian, French and German influences, showcases the evolution of culinary traditions and the art of fine dining.
Whether you’re a food enthusiast or simply looking to impress your guests, Salmon Coulibiac is a dish that demands attention. The combination of delicate flavors, perfectly cooked salmon and flaky puff pastry creates an unforgettable culinary experience. By trying your hand at this royal dish, you can embark on a culinary journey and pay homage to Prince Philip’s favorite food.


Salmon coulibiac is a Russian dish consisting of puff pastry filled with spiced salmon, vegetables and rice. It is a delicious combination of flavors and textures.

What makes salmon coulibiac a Russian delicacy?

Salmon Coulibiac has its roots in Russian cuisine and has been enjoyed for centuries. It shows the culinary heritage of the region and reflects the influence of French and German culinary traditions.

How did Salmon Coulibiac become one of Prince Philip’s favorite dishes?

Prince Philip developed a fondness for Salmon Coulibiac due to its delicious taste and the efforts of his personal chef, who created a special recipe for the royal family. The Prince’s involvement in the dish, including providing freshly caught salmon, added a personal touch.

Can I find Coulibiac Salmon in restaurants?

Finding Salmon Coulibiac on modern menus can be a challenge, but some fine dining or specialty restaurants may offer it. Alternatively, you may be able to order a pre-made Coulibiac online, although homemade versions allow for greater customization.

What are some variations or substitutes for Salmon Coulibiac?

While the traditional recipe calls for salmon, rice, and certain seasonings, you can customize the dish to your liking. For example, you can substitute other types of fish or even use quinoa instead of rice. The choice of herbs and spices can also be adjusted to suit your tastes.

Is Salmon Coulibiac difficult to make at home?

Preparing Salmon Coulibiac can be a bit complicated, especially if you choose to make the puff pastry from scratch. However, with patience and attention to detail, it can be done. Following a good recipe and taking your time will help you create a memorable and delicious dish.

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