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Most Requested Dish: Seafood B'stilla (AKA Moroccan Seafood Pie)

Years ago, I made this for my husband's birthday dinner. It has since become my most requested dish from my circle of friends. Granted, I never make the same thing twice...at least not exactly the same. But I decided that I would re-publish this and put in in the Purple Book as this is the dish that has received the loudest ooos and ahhhhhs. Maybe ever. Brian said it succinctly: "two of my favorite things - seafood and pie!"

A note about the seafood: Use whatever seafood you have - make sustainable choices, please! For this b'stilla I used Pink Shrimp (wild-caught, from Oregon), Bay Scallops (farmed), Mussels (farmed), Pacific Cod (longline-caught, from Alaska), Squid, and Shrimp.

Ingredients makes two 9" pies

  • 3 to 4 pounds seafood (I used a mixture)
  • 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
Procedure
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.

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