Archive for March 24th, 2009

Swordfish & Zucchini Pie

March 24, 2009

ist2_6222730-grilled-swordfishThere is nothing quite like reeling in one of these sport fish.  They put up a hero’s fight and are beautiful breaking the surface with their long lances flailing the air.  The flesh is much like halibut, dense and pink in the raw.  Swordfish grills beautifully, even without marinating, though the marinade helps retain moisture.  This recipe is from the classic cookbook by Dorothy Batchelder, The Fishmonger Cookbook.  Tuna or halibut also work well in this recipe.  It was so popular at my restaurant in Tonga that lunch customers would come early so they wouldn’t miss out on this Friday special.  It is a bit time consuming with many steps, but it is not a difficult recipe and is well worth the effort.  Serve this with pickled lemons or hot and spicy mango chutney, a Greek salad, and a glass of wine.


Orange Zest Crust:

2 Tbsp orange zest

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar

1 cup cold butter, 4 egg yolks

Cut butter into dry ingredients and mix in egg yolks just till crust holds together.

Knead together 2 or 3 times.  Roll out 3 rounds of crust to fit a 9-inch spring form; use the bottom of the form for a pattern.  Transfer to a flat baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill until assembly.  Sprinkle 1 Tbsp bread crumbs in the bottom of the 9-inch spring-form pan.

Zucchini Filling:

4 pounds zucchini julienned

1/2 cup flour, 1 beaten egg

Olive oil for frying

Dip zucchini in beaten egg then dredge in flour. Fry little bundles of the zucchini in oil until golden brown. Drain on a rack.

Halibut Filling:

1 1/4 pound swordfish steaks- cut into chunks

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove garlic minced

1/2 cup onion minced

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 celery rib, finely chopped

1/2 cup green olives chopped

1 Tbsp capers chopped

Sauté onion, garlic, and celery until translucent, add tomato paste, stir, and then add the fish.  Cook just until the fish is done, add the olives and capers.  Cool.


Place one crust on top of crumbs in spring form, top with bundles of fried zucchini, add another crust on top of zucchini, fill with swordfish, and top with last crust. Cut vents into top crust and egg wash.  Bake at 350° F. 45-60 min or until golden brown.  Let cool for 15 minutes before removing sides and slicing.

Chicken and Mushroom Quiche

March 24, 2009


This is a great way to use up leftover chicken or turkey.   I prefer to use chicken sautéed in white wine and herbs and I usually make extra just to use in this recipe.   The basil pesto adds zip and color if you’re inclined to use leftovers that are more on the bland side.  Any kind of mushrooms will do but portabella gives the dish more color, texture, and flavor.  With the store-bought pie crusts that are now available, preparation is a zip.  However, my own crust recipe, modified pâte brisee (recipe follows), never fails and blind baking prevents a soggy bottom.  Do enjoy this as a main-dish with a salad and glass of wine.

1 unbaked pie crust

1 cup chicken sliced or shredded

1 portabella mushroom, sliced thin

1/2 small onion, sliced thin 

1 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. basil pesto (homemade is best)

6 thin slices cream cheese (use dental floss to slice)

2 eggs

1 cup half-and-half

sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

pinch of nutmeg

Place pie crust in a 9-inch spring form cake pan with 2-inch sides.  Blind bake for 12 minutes at 400° F..  Reduce oven to 375° F.  Cool crust and lay chicken over bottom, set aside.  Sauté mushrooms in butter for 5 minutes, add onions and continue to cook until water dissipates.  Spread mushrooms and onions over chicken, dot with basil pesto, and top with cream cheese slices.  Whisk eggs and half-and-half together with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.  Pour batter over filling, sprinkle with a pinch of nutmeg.  Bake 45-50 minutes until eggs are set.  Cool 15 minutes before slicing.

Pie Crust (modified pâte brisee)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup salted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 egg, whipped with 1 tsp cold water

Cut butter into flour until cornmeal consistency.  Make a well in center of flour and pour in egg.  Toss flour and egg together with a fork for 5 seconds and scoop up the whole bit onto a sheet of plastic wrap, pull the corners together and twisting the plastic, form a ball, then chill for 10 minutes.  Wipe your counter with a damp cloth, cover the damp area with plastic wrap, dust with a little flour, place ball of dough in center and flatten slightly, dust with a little flour, cover with another sheet of plastic wrap.  Roll out crust.  If you’re in a hurry, skip the chilling and rolling.  Just push the dough into your pie pan like playing with putty.  Once the dough is uniform in thickness throughout and sides are crimped, chill to set it.  Then blind bake as instructed.