Thursday, July 16, 2009

Seductive Seafood - Barramundi, Prawn and Scallop Pie

Inspired by the chilly weather and MasterChef's pie challenge earlier in the week, I decided to whip up a lovely seafood pie for dinner tonight. The advantage of seafood is that it cooks so fast, so you can have it on the table in the shake of a lamb's (or should that be fish's) tail. I used Barramundi, Prawns and Scallops for this pie, but you could use just fish, or go the other way and add other seafood like mussels and clams. I decided to take the whole fish theme a bit further and used fish scales as the visual inspiration for the pastry crust. I cut out the puff pastry using an eggcup and just layered each circle, overlapping each other for a fish scale effect. If you can't be bothered cutting out "scales", just lay a pastry sheet right over the top, as you would a normal pie. I know that strictly speaking, your pie filling should really be cool before adding the pastry top, but I was in a hurry (MasterChef was starting in 10 minutes!) so I whacked the filling into the fridge to cool a bit before moving to the pastry step.

The filling of the pie is very flavoursome and suprisingly aromatic, through the addition of fennel, herbs, wine and Dijon mustard. Yum! I chose to make a large pie, but this would work beautifully as small, individual pies. So, seafood lovers, here we go......

Barramundi, Prawn and Scallop Pie

You will need: 2 sheets puff pastry, 200g scallops, 6 large prawns, 1 large barramundi fillet, 2 medium potatoes cooked and diced. (The potatoes should still be a little firm to touch and not too soft), Splash of olive oil, 1 brown onion finely chopped, 1 cup finely diced fennel, Half cup finely diced celery, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1 cup white wine, 2 tablespoons each parsley and chives, 2 tablespoons salted butter, One and a half tablespoons plain flour, 3 cups milk, 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon grated parmesan, 1 egg lightly beaten, salt and pepper to taste.

Method: Chop the barramundi into chunks and make sure there are no bones remaining in it. Set aside with the other seafood. Heat a pan and add a splash of olive oil. add the onion, fennel, garlic and celery and cook until starting to get transparent. Don't let it brown. Add the garlic and potatoes and cook for another minute. Add the seafood and then the wine, stirring gently. The wine should bubble up quite vigorously. As soon as the seafood looks half cooked, remove from the heat and set aside. This will happen fast, so watch the seafood and don't overcook it.

In a seperate pan, melt the butter, and when it starts to foam, add the plain flour. Stir it in well, to make a roux. I use a whisk for this - it means you can remove any lumps that might appear in the sauce quickly and easily. Let the roux cook for a minute or two (you want to cook the flour well, but be careful not to let it brown. If it does, start again!) Add half of the milk and whisk quickly and thoroughly. Keep whisking and gradually add the rest of the milk. Dont be insipid with your whisking - put your back into it - you don't want lumps!

Let the sauce cook for a few minutes, until it thickens and easily coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the mustard, salt and pepper to taste and the parmesan. Add the seafood mixture you set aside to the sauce, along with the chives and parsley. Stir it through gently and then pour into a pie dish or open casserole dish. Put it in the fridge to cool off while you organise the pastry. (You could make the pie to this step the day before if you wanted to, so the filling is completely cold, but I was impatient and did it all at once)

Using an egg cup as a cutter (or if you have a real cutter about that size, well, aren't you just the cheffy type!? - use that) cut out 2 sheets of circles that will make "scales". Lay the circles over the top of the pie filling, overlapping to resemble fish scales. Brush with the beaten egg and bake in a moderate oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Let the pie sit for 10 minutes before serving. If you can wait that long!


1 comment:

  1. Wauw,,this is really something that i've never seen before...Gonna give it it try,,, if its good Im gonna do it on christmas as a starter if thats ok:).