Monday, October 5, 2009

Another authentic Maltese recipe - Torta tal-lampuki ( Dolphin-fish pie)




Since we are in the lampuka season I thought of posting a lampuka recipe. The Lampuka - also known as Mahi Mahi, Dorado or Dolphin Fish – is Malta's 'national' fish. The season stretches from the end of August to the beginning of November. This is a seasonal fish and is very much in demand during its season. The following recipe was extracted from The Food and Cookery of Malta.
For the pastry

400 g plain flour
200 g margarine
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp (approx.) cold water

For the filling
2 medium sized lampuki (approx. 400 g)
1 onion, sliced 2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped or 1 dessertspoon tomato puree
1 medium cauliflower
800 g spinach
8 black olives
1 tbsp sultanas
6 walnuts, shelled
(I also added some boiled potatoes, and some green olives too. )

Make the pastry. Use no more water than necessary. Keep the pastry cold while you prepare the filling.

Cut the fish into 4 or 5 steaks, coat lightly In flour and fry in shallow oil until just cooked. Remove any bones and the skin. Reserve. (Tip: I prepared the fish the night before because it takes a long time.)

In a large pan soften the onion in olive oil. Add the tomatoes, cook for a few minutes more. Add the cauliflower broken into florets and the spinach. Add about 250 ml of boiling water, cover tightly and cook until the vegetables are just tender. Remove from the heat and add the olives, sultanas and walnuts. Season. It is import ant to let this mixture and the fish get quite cold before finishing the pie.

Line a large shallow pie dish with slightly more than half the pastry. Put half the vegetable mixture over it, then the fish, then the remaining vegetables. Roll out the rest of the pastry to cover. Decorate and brush with beaten egg to which you have added a few drops of oil. Bakc at 200°C/400°F/gas 6 for 30 minutes, then at 180°C/350°F/gas 4 until golden brown and the filling heated through. This pie tastes equally good hot or cold.

Some prefer to cook the cauliflower and spinach separately. In this case, add the 250ml water to the tomato and onion mixture and simmer gently for about half an hour.

For a change, I made small pies (qassatat) instead of a large one. Qassatat come in very handy when I'm at a loss at what lunch to prepare for work.


8 comments:

Juniper said...

Thank you for the recipe! Very interesting sounding with the walnuts and sultanas(have yet to try one like that)! I made lampuki with a tomato, caper, olive sauce last week and we are eating fish soup made from the leftover parts today so we are in the Lampuki way at the moment. Was thinking this year I would try my hand at making Lampuki pie, so thank you!

Jientje said...

SQounds absolutely mouthwateringly delicious!!! I think I would cook the spinach seperatly as does not need very long to cook. The only thing I'm not quite sure about are the raisins, but I suppose one could easily leave them out, no?

Zen said...

Jientje: to be honest with you, I was also sceptical about the raisins but I assure that the sweetness of the raisins complements the bitter-salty taste of the dorado fish. With each bite of my little pies I kept savouring the little sweet raisin bursts. (However I left out the walnuts as I thought the texture of the walnuts wouldn't go well with the soft mushy mixture of the rest of the ingredients) At the end of the day, it's all about tastes!

Juniper: Be prepared to spare at least one hour in removing the bones from the fish. I assure you that your efforts would all be worth it as this pie was incredibly good.

Nick Phillips said...

Those small pies look absolutely yummy :D

Doreen said...

Mmm YumYum I'd love a taste of those delicious looking pies! Thanks for the recipe and I will pass it on. Unfortunately my clan don't like this fish that much so I usually eat it either alone or when we dine out. It is not worth the trouble to make it just for me but I hear someone is buying me some ready made ones which I am looking forward to : )
Oh by the way, I love the idea of your making the qassatat.

accidentally, kle said...

As Mediterranean as I am, I hate fish lol!!

Argentum Vulgaris said...

Zen, I would like to make a post on this on my Fizz blog as an example of authentic Maltese cuisine. The way I do this is to write an intro, steal your photo, then link here for the recipe and directions. Do you mind?

AV

Zen said...

No problem AV - just go ahead.