Pacific Sablefish and Mango Strudel
This recipe comes from Chef Don Zajac who happened upon my recipe for Caesar’s Salad and decided to email me and let me know that it was wrong. No problem. Chef Don has done extensive research on this subject so I am happy to be able to share his historically correct version with you. Right under the recipe I ask Chef Zajac some questions about his recipe and why he does what he does. It’s a great way to learn how a chef thinks.
According to the Pacific Seafood Group, Sablefish, also called butterfish is “exceptionally rich and flavorful, sablefish is the most expensive bottom-fish landed by U.S. fishermen. Although more than 90% of the sablefish catch is exported to Japan, a growing number of chefs in the U.S. are learning to appreciate the buttery taste and texture of this unique fish. ”
Questions and Answers:
RG: Can you describe what type of fish Pacific Sable is? White, dark, strong, mild? And what can you substitute for sable if it is not available?
Chef Don: Pacific Sable can be compared to Chilean Sea Bass. It’s a very succulent fish that has an oil content comparable to salmon. It also can be compared to Halibut. A firm, white flaky fish that is very tender.
RG: How do you combine the lime juice, coriander seed, ground ginger, cardamom, butter, salt and white pepper. Do you use a blender or mix by hand?
Chef Don: Yes, use a blender.
RG: Do you have to turn the peppers and onion while they are roasting or just leave them alone?
Chef Don: Use a rack to avoid the need for turning. Rest. Peel.
RG: Why do you blanch the lemon before zesting? Does it make it easier to zest or does it change the flavor?
Chef Don: When the lemon are processed, the lemons are coated with wax. Blanching the whole lemon will make the task easier instead of zesting, then, blanching. Also, when blanching the lemon has a much more pleasant taste. It rounds out the flavor rather than being too harsh.
RG: What is panko and what can you substitute for it?
Chef Don: Japanese Bread Crumbs available at any well stocked Grocer.
RG: Many of my readers have never worked with filo dough. Can you give us some tips on working with it?
Chef Don: Try to purchase fresh filo. If it is not available, go ahead and use the frozen. Let it thaw in the refrigerator for a day. When using the sheets, cover with a damp towel so the filo doesn’t dry out.
RG: Why so many layers of filo dough?
Chef Don: Filo is ultra thin, therefore, the additional layers will keep the strudel nice and crisp.
RG: Do you use the plastic wrap to roll the log?
Chef Don: Yes
RG: What do you like to serve as sides dishes with this recipe?
Chef Don: A nice light salad as a luncheon item. However, it’s important to remember that to enjoy the items of the menu, that you enjoy a small portion. This dish isn’t styled to fill the guest, rather to accompany and compliment the entire menu tasting.
RG: What wine would you serve with this dish?
Chef Don: Hmmm, I would say your favorite Chardonnay or even a Beaujolais.
Chef Don, this looks like a challenging recipe for us novice home cooks and I can’t wait to try it and be back with more questions. Thanks so much. RG
Please check out my Novice to Pro page for more recipes and interviews with Chef Don as well as other professional chefs.