ZUCCHINI RIPIENI & FISH PIE

Today I am in one of those days when everything looks black and dire, despite a striking sunny weather and my significant other and toddler boy being lovely and so far no big issues at work. [Actually I wrote this yesterday and today things are already more on the bright side :-)]

Yet I had one of those weekends when everyone you meet is pouring down all the negativity towards you or simply I was gloomy enough to read bad signs in any possible conversation.

Good thing is that I have tried two recipes I have liked enough to keep.

The first one was inspired by one of my favorite bloggers. You can find the original recipe  here. Giulia is a professional blogger that surfs lightly on Italian and international cuisine with a unique style. I find her very intelligent and entertaining and I always look forward to her new posts.

This recipe calls for round zucchini.
I always found those zucchini balls quite funny and yet I had no idea what you could do with them.
It turns out they are perfect for becoming stuffed zucchini. They are so easy to scoop compared to regular zucchini.

For five persons:
5 zucchini
200g tuna, packed in salted water
A sprig of chives, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 stale bread bun, soaked in half a glass of water and torn into tiny pieces
Juice of a lemon
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste

First you cut the top part of the zucchini. Then you scoop out the center. I cut a sort of cylinder in the middle and scooped out the rest of the seeds with a teaspoon. Chop the centers roughly.

In a frying pan, put a little olive oil, the zucchini centers and the celery. Stir fry for 5 minutes on medium heat or until everything is well done.

Sprinkle a little salt inside each zucchini.

For the filling: mix all the other ingredients and add the zucchini centers.

Fill each zucchini with some filling.

If there is extra filling, put it on the bottom of the baking pan.

Place the filled zucchini on top of the extra filling.

Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle a little salt and bake for half hour 180° C combined with microwave 600W

P.S. (2014/07/28): I have added one of my horrendous pictures. Given that I ran out of bread, I used oat flakes instead of the bread crumbs and it worked just as well, actually it was even less time consuming.

The fish pie is another story. There is a beautiful recipe collection here by British chefs. 

From my Italian perspective, fish pie is basically a three layer thing: fresh fish poached in milk or broth or a combination of the two, a milk sauce and a mashed potato cover. There seem to be endless variations, many include eggs with fish. I have omitted intentionally the eggs.

For 6 persons:
600 g fresh fish (I used only one, white bass, normally there is a combination, which includes salmon and prawns)
600 ml milk (I used half water, half milk)
Salt to taste
Fresh herbs (I used wild fennel and wild garlic)
One clove
A piece of cinnamon
600 g potatoes, boiled and mashed with a  dollop of butter and 60 g of ricotta and parmigiano each
60 g flour
Couple of sprigs of parsley, minced
1 fennel bulb, finely diced, a little olive oil and salt (this is totally untraditional! But I like fennel and fish)

Poach the fish in the milk broth for three minutes. Drain the fish with a clotted spoon and reserve the broth for the sauce. Discard the herbs and spices.

Spread the fennel bulb on the bottom of a baking dish.

Place the fish on top, tearing it in mouth size chunks.

Prepare the milk sauce. Mix the flour with a little milk in order to avoid lumps. Add the rest of the milk. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer until thickened. It should be a bit runnier than besciamella. Add the parsley.

Pour the sauce on top of the fish.

Cover with the mashed potatoes.

Bake for half hour 180° C combined with microwave 600W 

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