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.
Please check out my interview with Chef Don for his advice to novice cooks and his Caesar's Salad recipe. Thanks, RG
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 this unique fish's buttery taste and texture. "
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 succulent fish with 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 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 lemons 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; 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 side 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 on the menu, you must enjoy a small portion. This dish isn't styled to fill the guest but 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 and other professional chefs.
Pacific Sablefish and Mango Strudel
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon butter unsalted & softened
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed ground
- 1 teaspoon ginger ground
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom ground
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 12 ounce Pacific Sablefish fillet
- 1 cup mango peeled and julienne
- 1 red bell pepper julienne
- 1 green bell pepper julienne
- 1 yellow bell pepper julienne
- 1 red onion julienne
- 1 lemon
- 6 ounces spinach raw
- 4 ounces Parmesan cheese grated
- 3 egg whites
- 2 ounces panko bread crumbs
- 7 sheets filo dough
- 2 tablespoons butter softened unsalted
- 3 ounces Parmesan cheese grated
- Combine lime juice, coriander seed, ground ginger, cardamom, butter, salt and white pepper; blend well.
- Coat sable fillet and marinate for 4 hours in the refrigerator.
- Roast Sable at 400° F for five minutes. Let cool, then cut into strips ½-inch wide by the length of the fillet.
- Roast peppers and onion at 400° F. until some peppers begin to blacken. Let cool.
- Add mango and combine with sable.
- Blanch lemon, then zest and add to the combination of sable, mango, and pepper mixtures; toss lightly to mix.
- Rinse spinach and blanch; dry with clean towel.
- Combine spinach, Parmesan cheese, egg whites, panko; set aside.
- Place 1 sheet of filo on a piece of plastic wrap, lightly brush with softened unsalted butter, placing more on the edges.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, repeat five times.
- Evenly spread/arrange the spinach mixture on the filo except for the outer one inch. Place two more sheets of filo on top and oil the edges.
- Place the sable mixture on top except for one inch around the edges.
- Roll the entire sheet into a log shape, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 400°F until golden brown.
- Let stand for 10-15 minutes. Cut strudel and serve.