Kalakukko is a classic Finnish dish, from the region of Savonia in Finnland. It is basically fish wrapped in bread. This dish is very unusual to a US palate. It is a bit time consuming, but results in a very interesting dish that your guests, if they love fish, will enjoy. The combination of the rye flour and fish make a good combination. I suggest thin fish such as filets of sole or flounder, however salmon, smelt, perch and others are all used in Finnland. If you, or your fish monger, can slice other fish filets thinly enough, they should work well. Remember this is a roll up, so you need a thin fish filling. The addition of pancetta really adds to this dish, in my opinion. Regular bacon can work also, but the pancetta really ramps up the flavor. Make sure to seal all the edges of the final wrapped roll so there are no leakages. There is a long low temperature cooking time, and a sealed product is important for the final presentation and taste.
- 3 Cups King Arthur Rye flour
- 1¼ Cups King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp Fleishman's instant yeast
- 4 TBS Butter unsalted and softened
- 1⅔ cups Water
Assembly and Cooking
- 2-3 TBS Butter unsalted
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 10 oz Pancetta Bacon can be used as an alternative
- 1¾ lbs Fish filets
- 1 TBS Butter unsalted melted
- Using a food processor, combine the flours, salt and yeast and pulse well.
- Add the softened butter and process. This will create a sandy consistency.
- Add the water and process until you solid dough ball.
- Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
- Remove from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface. KInead until a firm shinny ball forms.
- Let the dough sit for 15 minutes to relax the gluten.
- Press the ball into an oval about 12 inches in diamter. Then roll to a thickness of ¼-⅛ inch as thin as possible.
Assembly and cooking
- Spread the softened butter over the surface of the dough circle, keeping about ½ inch of the edges free of butter and the other ingredients.
- Sprinkle the salt over the butter.
- Layer the pancetta over the top of the butter.
- After cleaning the fish, rinsing well and drying with paper towels, lay the filets on top of the pancetta and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Be careful not to oversalt this dish.
- Wet the edges and roll the dough circle into a cylinder. Make sure all the edges are sealed well.
- Place the roll on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Turn on the broiler to high, place the sheet under the broiler and brown the top of the roll. Watch carefully so this does not burn.
- Once browned turn the oven temperature to 200 degreed F.
- Bake for 5-6 hours.
- Some recipes suggest placing a moist towel over the roll to keep the dough soft. I prefer a crunch crust, which is why this recipe is laid out as above.
- This can be served hot from the oven, or at room temperature. I prefer this hot from the oven.
- Some recipes use a non-yeasted dough, I much prefer the yeasted dough. At 200 degrees there will be some rise of the dough.