Friday, February 24, 2006

Stoned Cold Stupid Seafood Pie

I’m not terribly bright at times. I harbour the singular belief that I am infallible despite many evidences to the contrary.

Brought low by the flu, I’d dutifully ingested the horse pills dispensed by the drug-happy doctor and spent a full 36 hours under the covers. I’m not sure if it was the medicine, the ginger tea or just the much-needed rest that made me feel part of the human race again today. But as usual, at the first sign that the earth was not rising up to meet my forehead, I was up and about.

I’ve always been leery of “synthetic” medicine and try to avoid them unless absolutely necessary. And for fair reason since it obviously lowers my IQ considerably. This fear of becoming a blithering idiot typically sees me banishing the little white plastic bags of drugs to the far corner of the medicine cabinet the moment my ocular and olfactory senses make their appearances. You see the problem now, don’t you?

For some reason, I decided that going to the shops to buy my dinner would be more demanding than cooking. See? Drugs do kill … brain cells.

The idea was to put something together quickly from what was in my fridge. The only problem was that I had hardly any vegetables left and everything else was frozen. Fortunately, I have a habit of packing single portions in the freezer that accommodates my lifestyle. Pulling out a small package labelled “Seafood”, I pondered the quickest and easiest option.

A recent post in Stephen Cooks showcasing his marvellous fish and lobster pie had propelled me into a drooling state with its delectable photo, wonderful description and egg custard based filling. In my muddled state, I opted to bake a quick seafood pie with an egg custard filling inspired by Stephen.

I started out well with high hopes that far exceed my energy. By the time I set my little seafood pie into the turbo broiler to bubble and toil, I was thoroughly knackered, requiring a lie-down before I could even swallow my folly.

Fortunately, though I be a fool, I be a small fool. With my predilection to small portions, I had made my seafood pie in a pie tin that was only 4 inches in diameter. It was just the right size as my prodigal taste buds could only manage that much before it decided to fight back. In light of my stupendous dim-wittedness, I dub this pie Steph’s Folly aka Stoned Cold Stupid Seafood Pie.

Stoned Cold Stupid Seafood Pie
2 scallops
2 large tiger prawns, shelled and deveined
2 thick slices of mackerel
½ small leek, sliced
2 shallots, sliced
1 garlic, sliced
Olive oil
1 ½ tbsp white wine
1 tsp of ground oregano
Pinch of ground thyme
Pinch of nutmeg
1 egg – I used a duck egg as I wanted more yolky creaminess
3 almond crackers
Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Butter the pie tin. Mine was a tiny pie tin that was 4 inches in diameter but you can increase the portions according, or use a ramekin for individual portions like mine.

2. Crush the cracker with enough butter (it’s easier if your butter is still fairly firm) to hold the crumbs

3. Line the bottom of the pie tin with the cracker & butter crumbs. Preheat the oven to 200 deg Celsius.

4. Heat some olive oil and butter in a pan and sear the scallops just enough to lightly brown it before setting aside

5. Add the garlic, shallots and leeks to the same skillet and sauté till just soft and transparent

6. Add the seafood and sauté quickly till the fish is just opaque and the prawns begin to redden

7. Add the wine, ground oregano and thyme and cook on low for about 30 seconds

8. Whisk your egg with cream. I used about 4 tbsp, which turned out to be far too much egg custard but that was fine as I steamed the remaining seafood flavoured egg custard and ate that as an appetizer to the pie!

9. Remove the seafood mixture from the stove and stir in the egg mixture

10. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste

11. Pour into the prepared pie tin and sprinkle the grated Parmesan to cover and dot with butter

12. As my pie is a tiny, 4-inch-diameter golden gem, I baked my pie for only 10 minutes and removed as soon as the Parmesan was bubbling and golden brown. If using a normal 9 inch or more pie tin, bake for about 20-30 minutes. Gauge doneness by actually looking at the pie and applying drug-free common sense.

13. Serve while hot

I’ll be honest and admit that I did not taste the pie at its optimum. By the time I set the little, bubbling pie aside to cool, my limbs were trembling with exhaustion and I was feeling the now-familiar constriction of my chest. Fleeing the alluring aroma of the sun-bronzed jewel of the sea, I hied myself off to the bedroom to fall into a dramatic swoon. Too many years on the stage ... I had to take a short rest to recover my breath, feeling much like the ladies of yore who succumbed daily to the morbid embrace of corsets and stays.

The pie was lukewarm when I managed to amble back into my kitchen… my least favourite way to eat pie. Yet, despite my Marilyn Monroe shortness of breath and half-numbed palate, I could still taste the wonderful sweetness of the ocean in this humble pie. The scallops were sweet and plump, and the prawns juicy and firm. In the face of these show boaters, the mackerel suffered in comparison, battling for attention and relegated to understudy status instead.

The egg custard filling was slightly dry and I realised I should have added more cream to give it a softer and more tender texture. No taste or health rating for today's dish since this will just lead to a survey error with my poor health and challenged taste buds today.

I’d simply rate it a 10/10 for folly. My folly for trying to bite off more than I can eat and cooking when ill and perhaps setting my recovery back. And now for more ginger tea and drugs. Joy.

Categories - Fish Tales


Blogger Antti said...

That pie looks *so* yummy! I've never thought to use mackarels that way - in Finland they're always sold smoked. I've had mackarel sashimi though, so I can easily imagine how tasty it is in a pie .)

5:59 am  
Blogger MM said...

Hey Antti, thanks! I love sashimi and can eat that every day! Yums.

7:36 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By now, I hope you feel better. I found your blog post while searching for a seafood recipe that would work on a cold this-is-supposed-to-be-spring evening. I will try it tonight for my sweetie.
I love your name (and initials).

2:16 am  

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