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Adjaruli Khachapuri with Kippered Alaska Salmon

Adjaruli Khachapuri with Kippered Alaska Salmon
Sockeye offers a beautiful and bright red color and mild flavor. It has a firmer texture but without a hint of dryness. The light smokiness in this preparation adds complexity to the fish.
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, not including brining and cooling times
  • Cook Time: 1 hr 20 min
  • Total Time: 3 hr 30 min, not including brining and cooling time
  • Servings: 4
  • Yield: 2 large khachapuri(baked bread) with kippered salmon and poached egg


  • Salmon brine (Master recipe, enough to cure 8 lbs of salmon fillets)

  • 5 quarts + 20 cups water
  • 4 cups kosher salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 heads garlic, split in half
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and halved
  • Kippered Alaska Sockeye Salmon

  • 1½ lbs salmon fillets, skin-on and pin bones removed
  • 8 cups brine
  • To serve

  • 1 ¼ cups warm water
  • 1 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups bread flour
  • 1 cup Havarti cheese, grated
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 cup mozzarella, grated
  • ¼ cup chopped mint, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup oregano, chopped
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 8 oz kippered Alaska salmon, hand pulled apart into large flakes
  • 2 whole eggs, gently cracked into 2 small bowls
Recipe courtesy of Chef Vitaly Paley


  1. Step 1 Prepare salmon brine

    Place all ingredients into a large pot and cook over high heat until sugar and salt dissolves, about 10 minutes. Cool and reserve. Brine can be done in advance and can be reused at least twice.

  2. Step 2 Prepare kippered salmon

    Place the fish into a deep pan and pour the brine over to cover. Place the pan with fish in it into a refrigerator and brine for 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, set up a smoker by using a deep 6” hotel pan with soaked wood chips spread on the bottom. Any fruit wood or hard wood chips will work. I prefer not to use mesquite as it is too strong for the delicate fish. Transfer the fish into a 2” perforated hotel pan and place into the pan with wood chips in it.

    Place on top of the stove burners and turn the heat on high. Make sure the ventilation of the hood is working well while smoking the fish. When smoke appears, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan tightly with a metal lid or aluminum foil and smoke until internal temperature in the thickest part of the filet reaches 120° F, about 10 minutes. Because this fish is going to get cooked again on top of the flat bread hence the desired internal temperature of the fish is lower. If using the fish as is, continue smoking till internal temperature is at 145°F, about 5 more minutes. Cool the smoked filet then wrap in plastic and refrigerate until needed. The fish can be kippered and kept cold up to 3 days in advance. It can also be frozen for future use.

  3. Step 3 Prepare/bake bread to serve

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water and yeast and let stand for 5 minutes, or until the top surface has a thin layer of foam. This indicates that the yeast is active.

    Add the salt, olive oil and both flours. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and mix on low speed for about 2 minutes or until the dough begins to come together. Scrape the sides of the bowl and the dough hook and increase the speed to medium high. Continue to mix until the dough is slightly moist, smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes.

    If the dough seems sticky, lightly oil your hands, form the dough into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Turn it to cover with oil and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1½ to 2 hours, depending on the temperature of the room.

    Punch the dough down, transfer to a lightly floured surface and cut into 2 equal portions. Form the pieces into balls and transfer to a lightly floured tray. Cover and allow to rise for at least 30 minutes if using right away. If making dough ahead, skip the second rise and wrap each piece of dough tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for future use. When ready to use, defrost at room temperature until fully defrosted then let rise for 30 minutes prior to using.

    Place a pizza stone in the center of the oven with the broiler on and heat for 30 minutes.

    In a large mixing bowl, combine all the cheeses and chopped herbs with melted butter and egg yolk. Set aside.

    Reduce the oven heat to 500° F or 475° F with the convection element on. Working one piece of dough at a time, on the floured cutting board or pizza peel, stretch the dough into approximately a 12 x 9 x ¼“ rectangle. It doesn’t matter if it is misshapen slightly. It will add to its rustic look in the end. Spread half the cheese mixture on top evenly, leaving about an inch border all around. On the farthest side of the rectangle, tightly roll the dough about a quarter of the way toward the center. Repeat on the opposite end, leaving a 4-5” wide space between the two rolls. Pinch the two narrow ends of the rolls together and twist to seal, making a boat shape.

    Gently slide the khachapuri onto a hot pizza stone and cook until pastry has developed golden brown and cheese is bubbling, about 12 minutes. Open the oven door and while khachapuri is still on the pizza stone, spread evenly half the kippered salmon flakes on top of the bubbling cheese then gently slide one cracked egg over the top the salmon. Close the oven door and continue cooking until egg white is cooked through while yolk is still runny, about 5 more minutes. When ready, carefully transfer khachapuri to a cutting board. Top with chopped mint reserved for garnish, slice and serve hot.

    Repeat the process with the second piece of dough.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Vitaly Paley