“I pull out what’s inside. And I serve it up fried… God, I love little fishes, don’t you?”*

Main Course / June 2, 2015

For those of you whose children watched all the Disney movies in the 90’s, I know the real truth about who couldn’t tear themselves away from the screen. Yes, Mom and Dad, it was you. Face it, you loved these classics as much or more than your tykes. Right? Especially Ariel, from Little Mermaid, whose sassy red lipped independence shifted the Disney princess genre from blushing to brassy in only a few short scenes. She was a klepto, as well. Remember? Damaged as damaged as can be. But WE LOVED HER. (Oh dear. Maybe I should have been renting Ol’ Yeller!)

As we reminisce about this fairy tale heroine, I can hear my husband now. “Oh, those shells!” he gushes. A constant reminder that a girl with the right bra can get any guy she wants, even when she has no feet. In fact, the whole movie is full of clever characters that enchanted long before Finding Nemo burst onto the billion dollar kid-movie universe. And one of my favorites was Louie, the Crab. Part worrying crustacean, part carefree Caribbean musician, Louie (voiced by René Auberjonois) catapulted himself to stardom when he belted out the cautionary tale, Les Poissons. Who knows why my kids loved it so much! Perhaps there’s a parallel connection to the irresistible nature of toilet humor, because they just kept rewinding and replaying, “…cut off their heads and pull out their bones!” until the VCR started to groan.

But, in spite of the carnage that surrounded our scaly friends, one thing was true: Everyone finds joy in the kitchen. And perhaps, that’s my cue to segue to the real reason for the blog post, the meal!

Inspired by a recipe I saw by Jamie Oliver, this dish is easy and beautiful. Crowned by a deeply flavorful salsa, and accompanied by smooth, ginger carrot puree, I’m happy to report I didn’t cut off any heads or pull out any bones during the prep of my SEAFOOD STUFFED PUFF PASTRY. Since someone else did the dirty work for me, (fish mongers are highly underrated!) I was instantly able to produce a lovely bowl of pinkish, boneless, sweet fish morsels that along with some tarragon and a little cream, turned into the best little dinner surprise since Beef Wellington.

How did the whole thing turn out? Well, just browse through the slide show to see. Download the recipe as well, here. And don’t forget to cue the DVD player, or iPad, so everyone can see our French chef mutilating Ariel’s cousins, while they slice into this pretty little purse of yumminess. Just a little extra something to make your meal memorable, eh?

In closing, I’m certain that after Louie, Ariel and friends departed the French kitchen, someone had to have opened a bottle of capers, and a nice white Bordeaux, to compliment our little meal. I know I did.

Hey…before I close, check out a few more lyrics, just so you know all cooks truly need therapy….

…Now I stuff you with bread
It don’t hurt ’cause you’re dead
And you’re certainly lucky, you are

‘Cause it’s gonna be hot
In my big silver pot
Tootle-loo, mon poison, au revoir!


Seafood Stuff Puff Pastry with Caper Mint Salsa

Sides: Pureed Carrots, and Rice Pancakes with Wine Tarragon Sauce

Serves 4


Ingredients:

Pastry Purses:

1.5 C each, chopped, uncooked deveined shrimp, and Dover sole filets
1/3 C fresh tarragon
2 T olive oil
Kosher salt
1 T flour
1 T milk
Extra flour for dusting
2, ready to bake thawed puff pastry sheets*, (Pepperidge Farm, 17.3 oz. package)
1 egg and 1 t cream blended, for brushing onto pastry


Salsa:

1 C chopped fresh parsley
1/3 C fresh chopped mint
3 T capers drained
2 small cloves garlic, chopped
1 small can anchovies, oil and all, chopped
Olive oil to moisten, about 3 T
Kosher salt, about ½ t
2 t red wine vinegar


Direction:

  • Rough cut the mint, parsley, and the anchovies. Chop the garlic. Add vinegar, salt and oil. Keep chopping and blending until everything is small and blended. Keep in refrigerator for up to 6 hours.
  • Cut seafood into small ½ inch chunks. You can leave the shrimp intact in you’d like. Season with about a T of chopped tarragon, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, the flour, and the 1 T milk. Keep refrigerated for up to 4 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Follow directions on package to thaw and work with Puff Pastry. When thawed, roll out onto a floured service so that you can cut each square into two pieces about 10 inches by 6 inches. When you’ve done that to both sheets you should then have 4 squares. (*As an alternate, if you want less fluted dough for the finished product, roll out the dough thinner so that you have 4, 6 by 6 squares out of one sheet and you can just fold over the dough and seal as opposed to tying it up like a package.) Now, brush the egg wash onto the entire surface of the dough. Place ¾ C of the seafood onto the dough and fold up into a sack and seal, cutting 3 small slits into each one. Place on a greased cookie sheet. When you put the purses into the oven, reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and cook for about 35 minutes or until the puff pastry is done and browned.
  • Serve with caper salsa. I also created a white wine tarragon sauce: Melt 2 T butter in a saucepan. Add ½ C white wine and let reduce by half. Add 1 t flour to 3 T wine, whisk, and then add to heated mixture, whisking until slightly thick. Add some kosher salt and the tarragon and keep warm. Serve ladled over your meal.


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