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.