Looking for guidelines to avoid overcooking the salmon?

ideal internal temp of salmon? Does the rice insulate the salmon enough that it doesn't overcook while you are trying to get the puff pastry crisp? I am worried about focussing on the pastry and then finding that I blew it with the actual salmon, the crux of the dish. If I take the temperature of the salmon with a thermapen, is there a goal temp? Will it keep rising after I take it out of the oven?

Jane Wood


Charlie S. March 30, 2023
The rice does insulate the salmon. Some. That said, a coulibiac with any fish almost always results in the fish being a little overcooked if you go for a the kind of crust it should have. It it what it is. Eric Ripert probably couldn't pull one off without cooking the salmon a little past how he would do it in some other dish.
Jane W. March 30, 2023
on another site, I found a suggestion to freeze the salmon for ~ 20 minutes before wrapping and baking. This seems like a no-lose proposition, giving more of a cushion, and if I stick a thermometer in and find the salmon not quite up to ~ 120F, I could keep it in the oven for a few more minutes. Am I missing a down side?

Charlie S. March 30, 2023
Well, the downside is freezing it. If it's cryopacked supermarket grade then go ahead.

If it's top-shelf fish, make crepes and wrap it, then the rice or other layer, then the pastry rolled out pretty thin. There's some deftness involved with the oven heat, position in the oven itself, and whether or not you have a convection oven available. I have seen chefs burping the convection fan during the last ten minutes or so of cooking in an attempt to arrive at the perfect crust and perfect internal temp of the protein.

A coulibiac is not something you typically nail the first time. Sorry. It takes some work and experimentation to get exactly right.
Melina H. March 27, 2023
Hello, and apologies for my delay in replying, I've been swept up hosting guests at our Catbird Cottage! To achieve the golden pastry crust, it is almost certain that the salmon will be nearly/fully cooked through. If you source the thickest piece possible, it will however, still be tender and moist. The fish is shielded by the rice, greens, and mustard which all lend their moistness, so there's an extra bit of "cushion" as it cooks. The flavors are terrific, and with the final addition of the dill sour cream, it is a real treat of a meal! I hope you make it and love it.
drbabs March 25, 2023
This is such a hard question because even though the recipe is “test kitchen approved” and has 6 5-star reviews, there are no comments to refer to for those guidelines. That said, the recipe writer is an accomplished cook who has written a cookbook. https://www.melinahammer.com/book So I think you can probably trust that if you follow the recipe exactly, it will work. For what it’s worth, I usually cook salmon to 120-125. In this case I’d probably lean towards Atlantic salmon because there’s a little more fat so it will be more forgiving. Please report back if you do make it. It looks like a great recipe for a dinner party.
Jane W. March 25, 2023
Thank you so much, I will indeed report here if I get up the nerve to try it.
Melina H. March 27, 2023
Thank you for the affirmation, Drbabs!
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