Turkey has been on the table for Christmas dinner pretty much every year of my life. It really is the must eat food at Christmas (along with the dreaded sprouts!) I did have a couple of years when I branched out into duck and goose but come 25th December it's traditionally been a 'big bird' taking pride of place in the oven of the Foodie Quine household. But it's not always been the case, before the widespread introduction of turkey to the UK 500 years ago the meat gracing the table at Christmas was goose, boars head and even peacocks! Today we are spoilt for choice and there's no need to stick to convention. Christmas dinner is constantly evolving to cater to various tastes, cuisines, allergies and dietary requirements. There's no longer a one size fits all approach. I'm lucky that I don't have too many foodie requirements to juggle over the festive season. My Dad is allergic to shellfish (and my daughter seemingly to vegetables...) but apart from that anything goes.
Six months ago I headed down to London on the sleeper train to spend a rather hectic but immensely enjoyable day checking out Christmas In July events. These are showcases run by all the big brands and stores previewing their Christmas range. My first stop was Iceland Foods where I stepped into a veritable winter wonderland and got a sneak preview of what would be hot (or should that be cold?!) this Christmas! With over 200 delicious items in their Christmas range Iceland can provide everything from impressive centerpieces to show stopping deserts plus everything in between. I was wowed by Carrot Baubles, Macarons, Penguin Igloos, Lobster Thermidor, Mulled Wine Sausage Rolls, Chocolate Log Stacks and Luxury Whole Brined Turkeys. The tastiest trends of the year had all been incorporated to produce a fantastic range with an added touch of luxury at surprisingly affordable prices.
Fast forward 6 months to now. All the products are now available instore and Iceland asked me to come up with a recipe for an Unconventional Christmas Dinner. My first thought was Salmon as we usually opt for something fishy on Christmas Eve. I remember my Mum making a rather wonderful Salmon Coulibiac for a festive dinner party and somewhere in my mind I thought that it was a Russian Christmas speciality. A quick Google told me I was right on the Russian bit but must have made up the festive bit! Either way it's a fantastic showstopper of a pie for a pescetarian Christmas dinner. It's absolutely perfect for entertaining as it can all be assembled well in advance. Leave it in the fridge until needed, then pop it into the oven just before you dish up the first course. I served it alongside three fab Iceland festive sides; Grilled Sprout Mash, Red Cabbage & Apple and from the Luxury range Carrot Baubles with orange slices and herb butter. To wash it down with I picked up a bottle of their Charles Montaine Champagne for an amazing £11.99 and I couldn't resist the award winning Luxury Mince Pies. With a little help from the the #PowerOfFrozen, Iceland has Christmas this year all wrapped up!
This showstopping fish pie makes a great main for Christmas Day as it can be assembled in advance. The unbaked Coulibiac can be kept in the fridge for up to a day.
Chill any leftovers and they will make a fantastic addition to a Boxing Day Buffet.
2 x 425g packs of Puff Pastry
1 Sachet (200g) of Cooked White Rice
300g Spinach, well drained and chopped
2 tomatoes, finely diced
2 hard boiled Free Range Eggs, finely diced
1 Tsp Garlic
2 Tsp Parsley
Salt & Pepper
1/2 Tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1 Egg beaten
Defrost the salmon fillets, rice, puff pastry and spinach thoroughly in a refrigerator.
Roll out one pack of the puff pastry into a rectangle approximately 25cm x 30cm, this will be your base.
Roll the second piece of pastry out to a rectangle slightly larger than the first, this will be the top of your Coulibiac.
Place the base pastry sheet on a good solid baking tray, you don't want it buckling in the oven.
In a bowl combine together the rice, chopped spinach, diced tomatoes, diced hard boiled eggs, garlic and parsley. Season the mixture well with the grated Nutmeg, Salt & Pepper.
Place half of the rice mixture in a rectangle on the pastry leaving a 3cm clear strip around the edge.
Remove the defrosted salmon from its packaging and pat dry with kitchen roll
Lay out the salmon fillets in a row on top of the the rice.
Cover the salmon with the remaining rice mixture.
Brush any stray grains of rice off the border, then brush the border with beaten egg.
Drape the top sheet of pastry over the coulibiac and gently press the edges to seal the 2 pastry sheets together.
Trim the edges to neaten and crimp all the way around with a fork to ensure a good seal.
Use pastry trimmings to decorate your Coulibiac then brush the whole thing with beaten egg.
Refrigerate until needed.
To cook, preheat oven to 190c.
Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve the Coulibac cut in slices accompanied by melted butter mixed with an equal quantity of lemon juice.
Can I make a confession? Before I started working with Iceland at the start of this year it was a store that I only really ever visited at Christmas to stock up on Party Food and the ubiquitous Prawn Ring! As I've found out more about the #PowerOf Frozen things have changed and I'm now a regular customer thanks to their tasty, high quality, innovative and convenient offerings. Perfect for festive meals but also supplying me with ingredients to cook up a storm the whole year round. Check out my previous posts in partnership with them to see what I mean and look out for further collaborations in 2017.
Disclosure : This is a commissioned recipe for Iceland Foods. As always, all views expressed are my own.
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