449 – Seafood and Spinach Pastilla / بسطيلة السمك والسبانخ

Ingredients

  • Warka (or phyllo dough)
  • 500 grams white fish (whiting), cut into bite sized chunks
  • 500 grams calamari, cleaned and cut into rings
  • 500 grams shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 700 grams fresh spinach
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli pepper powder, to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 preserved lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Harissa (spicy north african paste) – optional
  • 1 egg
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Grated cheese (optional)

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients
1- Roughly chop the spinach. Finely chop the parsley and cilantro. Crush the garlic cloves. Finely chop the preserved lemon.
2- To prepare the charmoula, in a large bowl combine: the chopped parsley, chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, red chilli pepper, crushed garlic cloves, and olive oil. Mix well.

Step 2: Making the Filling
1- In a deep saucepan, heat a little bit of olive oil. Add the chopped spinach and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes or until the spinach is cooked and the liquids in the pan have evaporated.
2- Remove the spinach from the pan and reserve.
3- In the same saucepan, drizzle a little bit of olive oil. Add the calamari and cook for 3-4 minutes.
4- Add half of the charmoula sauce to the calamari, mix and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
5- Add the white fish chunks. Gently mix in with the calamari, and continue cooking for a minute or so until the fish changes color from translucide to opaque.
6- Remove the calamari and fish from the pan and reserve.
7- In the same saucepan, drizzle a little bit of olive oil. Add the shrimp and the rest of the charmoula. Mix and cook for a few minutes until the shrimp is done.
8- Remove the shrimp from the pan and reserve. Make sure that the liquids stay in the pan, and that the shrimp is removed dry.
9- In a large plate place: the spinach, calamari, white fish, and shrimp. Add the preserved lemon, fresh lemon juice, and harissa. Gently mix all the ingredients together.
10 – Let the seafood filling completely cool down before using it.

Step 3: Wrapping the Mini Pastilla
1- Lightly beat 1 egg with a fork. This will be used to ‘glue’ the warka.
Note: We are making mini-pastilla, but you can make the pastilla with the size of your choice.
2- For small pastilla, take a small round deep ramequin and place a round warka inside, the edges of the wark should be overflowing from the ramequin.
3- Fill the ramequin (warka) with the seafood filling. Bring the edges of the warka to the center and close them over the ramequin. Brush the edges with the egg so that they stick together.
4- Flip the ramequin and take out the warka pocket carefully.
5- Place another round warka on top of your working area. Place the warka pocket (from the ramequin) in the center of the warka on the table, smooth face up and rippled side down.
6- Bring the edges of the warka on the table over the warka pocket in its center. Gather the edges on the top and brush with the egg so that they stick together.
7- Place the pastilla in a plate and repeat the wrapping instructions with the rest of the warka until you finish the filling.

Step 4: Cooking the Pastilla
Note: You can either brush the pastilla with melted butter and bake it at 180 C / 370 F until it becomes deep golden brown or fry it. In this video we are frying the mini pastilla.
1- In a deep saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Once hot, place the mini-pastillas in the hot oil smooth face down first and fry until it becomes deep golden brown.
2- Flip the pastilla to the other side, and continue frying until the second side becomes golden brown as well.
3- Place the fried pastilla, smooth face up, on a plate covered with paper towel to absorb excess oil.
4- top immediately with grated cheese. Serve immediately, hot and crunchy!