Friday, May 18, 2012

STRIPED BASS EN CROUTE (recipe, dairy)

 What a wonderful Shavuot lunch or dinner. As you can see, this recipe makes a spectacular presentation. Your guests will first feast with their eyes, then with their nose and finally with their mouth. Despite the many steps involved, this is not a difficult recipe to prepare as is if you leave yourself some time. If making and rolling dough isn't in the cards, use packaged dough. You can find it dairy and pareve. If cleaning leeks isn't your thing, chop up onions instead, Don't use the frozen chopped onions because they are too watery. Serve this fish with a beautiful salad and steamed asparagus and you will have a feast.

The cream cheese crust melts in your mouth and enhances the flavors of the bass, sautéed mushrooms and leeks.
Prep time: Dough: 10 min.  Chilling time: 120 min.  Fish: 15-20 min.
Leeks: 20-25 min.  Assembly: 20 min.  Baking time: 30-45 min.
        8 ounces cream cheese- softened
        ½ pound sweet butter- softened
        2 cups flour
        ½ teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
Fish & Filling
4 pounds striped bass/red snapper-
skinned and filleted
1 large shallot
¼ pound mushrooms
1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley
1 cup vegetable broth
¼ cup vinegar
salt & pepper
2 small bunches leeks/1 large bunch-should yield 5-6                   cups sliced leeks
3 tablespoons sweet butter
¼ cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
Egg Glaze: 1 egg yolk beaten with 1-2 tablespoons water
rolling pin
baking pan large enough to hold fish
cookie sheet
baking parchment
saucepan with cover
tin foil
baking spray
  1. Dough: You can mix this up in an electric food processor or by hand. Using a large fork, mix cream cheese and butter. Add flour and salt and mix well. Stir in yolks. When mixture is well blended, divide it into two balls- one slightly larger than the other. Dust each ball with flour, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.
  2. Cut leeks down the center and wash very well. Chop the white part coarsely. Save the green parts for decoration. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Add chopped leeks, stir well and cover. Cook leeks until they are soft and translucent- about 20 minutes. Stir often to make sure they don’t burn. Allow leeks to cool. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat oven to: 350 F. Spray baking pan.
  4. Peel shallot and mince. You should have about ¼ cup. Scatter on bottom of baking pan.
  5. Wipe off mushrooms and mince.
  6. Wash parsley and mince enough to yield one half cup.
  7. Sprinkle each fillet with salt and pepper. Lay fillets side by side over shallots in baking pan. Cover the fish with mushrooms and parsley. Pour vinegar and broth over all. Add just enough water to cover it.
  8. Spray a large piece of foil and cover the baking pan with it. Poach fish in oven for about 10 minutes. DO NOT ALLOW LIQUID TO COME TO A BOIL. You should barely smell the fish as it is cooking. After 10 minutes, take pan out of the oven. Take the chopped mushrooms and parsley off  the fillets with a slotted spoon. Set aside. Carefully, lift fillets out of the cooking liquid and set aside to cool. Discard cooking liquid or save it for future fish stock.
  9. Raise oven heat to: 400 F. Line cookie sheet with parchment
  10. Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll out smaller ball of dough in an oblong fish shape directly on to the baking parchment. It should be large enough to hold the fillets. Sprinkle dough with bread crumbs. Carefully, lay one fillet on top of crumbs. Cover it with mushrooms, shallots, parsley and leeks. Lay the remaining fillet on top of vegetables.
  11. Brush the edges of the bottom pastry with egg glaze.
  12. Roll out the larger ball of dough to match the fish shape on a floured surface. Gently, lift dough and cover fish with it. Press the edges together all the way around. Trim off any excess dough and use for decorations. You can pinch off small pieces and attach them to the top piece of dough with a little egg glaze to create fish scales. Brush the entire fish en croute with egg glaze. Any designs you want to make with a sharp knife will show up through the egg glaze. Bake 30-45 minutes or until pastry has turn golden brown. Your kitchen will smell heavenly. Serve with a beautiful salad and colorful vegetable.

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