Thursday, 17 March 2011

A fish that's not really a fish ...?!

    April’s Fool ahead of schedule? Well, actually this might be an idea for that date since the content of this dish is a bit of a surprise… 

In fact, when I brought it out to the table everybody thought they were being presented with a fish en croute. In reality, it is a cod and potato fish pie, much loved by children. A recipe born by chance that I share gladly.

Ingredients for 4-6 people
200g fresh cod
200g salt cod soaked
400g peeled potatoes
1 bay leaf
4 cloves
3 shallots
1 cup milk
1 knob of butter
1 tbs flour
2 tbs pitted black olives
1 tbs capers
2 tbs chopped parsley
2 sheets of puff pastry
1 egg yolk

a little 'patience and creativity!

   Simmer the fish and potatoes in salted water, with the bay leaf and cloves. Chop the capers and olives. With a slotted spoon, remove the fish when still slightly undercooked, definitely before it begins to fall apart! Transfer to a bowl, remove skin and bones and flake into large pieces. When soft, drain and mash the potatoes, then add to the fish together with the olives, capers and parsley.
   Meanwhile, slice the shallots and simmer them in the milk. Drain, adding the shallots to the mixture and reserving the liquid. Use the latter to make 3-4 tablespoons of bechamel sauce, which you will also incorporate into the fish mixture. Mix gently to avoid breaking up the fish and check for salt.
Allow to cool.
   Roll out a sheet of puff pastry on a baking sheet. Place the mixture in the center in an oval shape (the body of your 'fish'). Cover with another sheet of pastry and press the edges to seal (brush them with a bit of water so that they stick better). Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  Remove from the fridge, cut the pastry in the shape of your fish, after which brush the surface with the egg yolk beaten with a little milk.
  With the tip of a knife draw the fish scales, the eye and any other detail, according to your imagination. The nicks are to be superficial and not go through the pastry. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C° for about 25 minutes or until the fish is nicely colored.

p.s. if you wish, and have even more time and patience, you can make lots of individual small fishes, perhaps in different shapes.

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