Doctor Zhivago: At The Czar's Table

Doctor Zhivago is the perfect film for a romantic winter night....

...and we'll match it with a dazzling spectacle from the kitchen that recalls a "Hollywood" version of Russian cuisine.

Special Equipment

This dinner requires a few items you might not yet have in your kitchen. You'll need a pastry bag (for decorating the fish), a pastry brush (ditto), and a whisk or electric mixer.

At the heart of our meal is a modern version of dish of the Czars: Koulibiac.

Traditional koulibiac is a luxurious dish: salmon, stuffed with egg and mushroom, baked in Brioche. I've prepared both traditional and modern versions of Koulibiac, and most of my guests have preferred the updated, lighter version I present here, inspired by Julia Child. Following Julia's approach I use puff (sometimes called "choux") pastry, hence the puny renaming of the dish to "chou-libiac". I omit the chopped eggs, and substitute several kinds of fish, plus shrimp and a delicious salmon mousse in alternating layers.

When you cut into the Choulibiac, it looks like a layer cake made from fish. We drizzle it with hollandaise sauce.

We'll serve each portion with some asparagus.

Before the main course we'll have blini and caviar.

Borscht will remind us of the peasants.

Chicken Pojarsky will be the appetizer on a bed of kasha.

We'll also serve a traditional cucumber with sour-cream dill salad.

Desert will be another Czarist dish: Strawberries Romanoff.

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