My friend Christy came over for lunch the other day. She’s one of my favorite people to eat with and I often think of her when I’m cooking, since our tastes are so similar. She asked where the inspiration for this dish came from. I can’t honestly remember. It may be the heat (still up close to 100 degrees F, which is obviously wrong for September), or just a leaky memory. Wherever the idea came from, it was good.
It went well with the Creamy Cucumber and Tomato Salad that I’d made (more on that another week), the Roasted Eggplant Soup that she’d brought, and the Lemon-Basil Spritzers that we were drinking to beat the heat. I mean, mostly, we were just happy to be hanging out. But, it’s always even better when there’s yummy food to compliment a wonderful friendship.
It all started with what I call Fish Wellingtons. And they all started with a good pie crust. I use Alana Chernila’s recipe. (Page 149 of her cookbook, Homemade Pantry.) It’s the best pie crust I’ve ever made. I gave Christy this cookbook as a birthday gift during lunch. I’m not sure who was happier that she has it now, her or me.
I’d made the crust the day before and frozen it. It’s also great made the day of.
Frozen pie crust is a great stress/tension reliever. Have you ever had the opportunity to smack a partially frozen pie crust with a rolling pin? As effective as a punching bag, and, you can eat it later.
I’ve used two kinds of fish for this dish. Swordfish and Halibut. Use what you like and what you’d think will go well with the rest of the ingredients. I liked both of these, and would use either again (especially if they’re on sale, which is why I used Halibut this time, Swordfish last time).
Sometimes I like to stand by the stove and listen to the food cook. I often forget to slow down and listen. There’s so much beauty to be found in simple things like liquid bubbling in a pan. Things like this refresh me.
You don’t have to use butter. But, I love the deep flavor that it adds. If you’d prefer, olive oil would be great too.
You also don’t have to brown the butter, if that makes you nervous. But, you’ll be missing out on the even deeper, richer flavor that browning it brings.
The potatoes and zucchini are thinly sliced and crisped up in a skillet. When they’re done, garlic is added, mostly to make you swoon from the insanely awesome smell.
Crusts are smacked and rolled out. They’re topped with all the goodies you’ve been smelling (and sampling – the potato filling might not all fit – don’t be afraid to stand at the island and eat the leftovers – saves a container from having to be washed at a later date).
The crust is folded over, crimped shut with a fork, poked a bit, then brushed with a beaten egg (save the rest of the egg to add to scrambled eggs or an omelette).
Then, the best part (according to Tim): sprinkle each one with some coarse sea salt (preferably some that you brought back from Paris when you were there almost a year ago…). It adds a great crunch.
I’m wishing that I’d made six instead of three. I think I could eat this everyday for like ever… But, then I say that about most things.
- 2 C vegetable stock (or white wine)
- 1 fillet fish (Swordfish or Halibut), skin removed
- pinch salt
- pinch pepper
- pinch fennel pollen
- 2 T butter
- 4 small potatoes, halved and thinly sliced
- to taste salt
- to taste pepper
- pinch fennel pollen
- 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 pie crust, divided equally into 3 pieces
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1 egg, beaten
- coarse sea salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
- Heat stock and when it’s boiling, add the fish with a pinch of salt, pepper, and fennel pollen. Braise for about 10-20 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
- Heat a skillet. Add butter. When it starts to brown, add potatoes, salt, pepper, and fennel pollen. Cook for about 7 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini and cook for about 6 minutes more, with a dash more salt, pepper, and fennel pollen. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Roll out pie crusts. Place on a baking sheet. Divide potato mixture between the three crusts and spoon onto one side. Top with tomato slices and the fish. Sprinkle with a bit more salt, pepper, and fennel pollen.
- Fold the non-topped side of the crust over the fish and veggies. Press edges down and crimp to seal with a fork. Pierce the top a few times with the fork. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes on a rack place in the top third of the oven.