Sunday, February 8, 2015

Seafood B'stilla v.2015

I am notorious for never making the same thing twice. So, during a dinner party during the holidays a few close friends were talking about some of our dinner party highlights over the years and one dish bubbled to the top as the most unforgettable dish I've ever made.

Then it turned into a challenge: "We know that you never make the same thing twice - that you can't make the same things twice - but even if you made the seafood pie and it was only half as good as the first one, it would still be the best dish you've ever made."

Seriously? Wow. A challenge, an insult, and a compliment all at the same time. Gotta love friends who tell the truth.

Here's the Seasfood B'stilla v.2010 when I made it for Jake's 35th birthday...

So, I promised that I would re-do the seafood pie during 2015. At. Some. Point. That gave me through December 2015 to make it. But, not one to procrastinate on my cooking obligations, I opted to get it done in the beginning of the year.

The Menu...while I did serve other dishes, this was the only thing that mattered to them.

The Seafood Pie Vultures...I'm not saying who, but two of these guys actually tried to lock the other one out of the house to keep the pie to themselves.

And the Seafood Pie...I actually made two pies, knowing that the guys wouldn't want to share with their own kids! The kids got their own.

Ingredients makes two 9" pies

  • 3 to 4 pounds seafood (I used a mixture of cod, scallops, calamari, and shrimp)
  • 1 pound of shrimp, separated from the rest
  • 2 T butter
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 fennel, trimmed and chopped
  • juice and zest from 1 organic lemon
  • 1/2 t ground paprika
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • fresh tarragon
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh mint
  • phyllo dough, thawed
  • butter, melted

In a large, flat-bottom pan, melt 2 T butter with a splash of olive oil. Saute the onion and fennel until the onions are transparent and the fennel softened. Add in the seafood - minus the shrimp for garnishing - and season with lemon juice, zest, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper.When seafood is almost cooked, fold in the fresh herbs.

Layer six sheets of phyllo dough is a baking dish, brushing each with melted butter before laying the next one on top. Fill the dish with the seafood mixture, drained of its sauce.  Fold the overhanging pastry towards the middle and cover with two more layers of phyllo, brushing with butter again. Overturn the pie onto a flat baking dish. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 400 degrees till the phyllo dough is browned and crisp, probably about 35 minutes.

In the meantime, marinate shrimp in the cooking liquid. Pour off the liquid and quickly brown the shrimp.

To serve, plate the b'stilla. Lay thinly sliced lemons on the cooked pie and pile on the shrimp. Sprinkle with more fresh herbs.


  1. So what was the verdict? Was it half as good as the first??

    1. I think so. No one really spoke for the length of dinner. We were too busy stuffing our faces. I'll take that as a good sign.


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