I’ve been making this pie for years and it has never failed to produce a light, elegant meal. I found this recipe in an old May/June issue of Australia Vogue: Entertaining + Travel magazine. The issue must be at least 10 years old and I still keep it on my cookbook shelf as there are so many good recipes and ideas in that issue. If you’ve never worked with phyllo pastry before, it truly is very easy and the end result is buttery and crisp. I have used red snapper, sole and halibut- depending on what I could find that was fresh in the grocery store. This dish is a personal favorite!
Moroccan Fish Pie
4 medium snapper fillets
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped finely
½ cup loosely packed coriander leaves (cilantro)
½ cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
very finely grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
about 6-8 sheets phyllo pastry
¼ cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a gentle simmer and poach the snapper over a low to medium heat until just cooked. Drain and set aside to cool.
When cool, remove the skin and flake the flesh into a bowl, then stir in the spices, garlic, coriander and parsley leaves, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil. Season to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Lay out the phyllo pastry and cover it with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out. Lay out a sheet of the phyllo on a work surface and cut in half. Lightly butter six shallow pie or tartlet plates, or 4 deeper ramekins. With a pastry brush, lightly butter each phyllo square on both sides and place in each pie plate. Repeat the process with three pieces of pastry at a different angle so that the corners don’t match up.
Divide the fish pie filling into 6 (or four- depending on how many pie plates or ramekins you have) equal portions. Spoon filling into each pie plate then place a phyllo square on top on this and butter it lightly. Fold the edges of the pie inwards to sit on top of the pastry top. Again, lightly brush with butter. Repeat the process with each pie. Place the pies on a baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Serve with a salad on the side and a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc… Enjoy!