Friday, March 3, 2017

Tilapia Pot Pie

     Fish Pie For A Chilly Day!
     Seafood Pot Pies are really nothing new, but they are often overlooked by casual restaurant chefs.  Crawfish Pie is an exception and this specialty pie can be found in many traditional Louisiana restaurants.
     A Fish Pot Pie appeals to those who healthier comfort food options.  Today's recipe is made with a heavy Béchamel Sauce, so this Tilapia Pot Pie is hearty and filling enough to be served in cold weather.
     Some people are slow to catch on, when it comes to fishery management.  Since there are relatively few government regulations concerning seafood sustainability, it is the responsibility of the consumer to regulate demand.  Consumers that ignore sustainability issues are the root cause of seafood resource depletion.  By not purchasing unsustainable seafood, the market demand is reduced and pressure on endangered seafood species is relieved.  When sales can only be made on sustainable seafood choices by consumer demand, the fishing industry will target only sustainable seafood resources.      
     Tilapia is a farmed brackish water fish and they are in the Snapper fish family.  Tilapia is a far better choice than Snapper, because nearly all Snapper species are currently unsustainable or they come from the oil contaminated Gulf of Mexico.
     Tilapia are not picky about what they eat, but how they are fed does determine whether a Tilapia resource is sustainable.  Some Tilapia farming methods are much more sustainable than others.  To check the sustainability of Tilapia, follow the link to this resource:  Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
     Pâte Brisée:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.

     Tilapia Pot Pie Filling:
     This recipe yields about 1 3/4 cups.  (Enough  for 1 large individual portion pot pie.)
     Any small pie mold can be used.  I used a 5" wide pop-ring mold, so this savory pie would be free standing.  If you use a pop-ring mold, be sure that the crust does not hang over the rim of the mold or it will break when the pop-ring is removed. 
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 slice of smoked bacon that is cut into small pieces.
     Sauté till the bacon is light golden brown, but not crisp.
     Step 2:  Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside.
     Drain the grease out of the pot.
     Step 3:  Return the pot to medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Add 1/4 cup of small diced celery.
     Add 1/4 cup of small diced carrot.
     Sauté till the onions and shallots turn clear in color.
     Step 4:  Add enough flour while stirring, to absorb the excess butter in the pan and to make a roux.  (About 3 teaspoons.)
     Stir till the roux is well combined.
     Step 5:  Add 1 1/4 cups of milk while stirring with a whisk.
     Stir occasionally till the sauce comes to a gentle boil.
     *The sauce will be a medium thin consistency at this point.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of dry white whine.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add the reserved smoked bacon pieces.
     Add 1 small bay leaf.
     Add 1 pinch of nutmeg.
     Add 1 teaspoon of thin sliced chives.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce is thick consistency that can easily coat a spoon.
     *The volume should be about 1 1/4 cups.
     Step 7:  Add a 5 ounce Tilapia filet that is cut into large bite size pieces.
     Add 1/4 cup of Frozen Peas.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Simmer and reduce till the volume is about 1 3/4 cups.
     *The sauce should be thick enough to easily coat the ingredients.
     Step 8:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Allow the ingredients to cool to room temperature.
     Remove the bay leaf.
     Place the Tilapia Pot Pie Filling in a container.
     Chill in a refrigerator to 41ºF.
     Tilapia Pot Pie:
     This recipe yields 1 individual portion size savory pot pie.
     Step 1:  Select a 5" to 6" wide individual portion pie tin or a 5" wide individual size pop-ring mold.
     Cut 1 round sheet of the pie dough (Pâte Brisée) that is 2" to 4 1/2" wider than the baking mold (or pie tin).    
     *The width measurement depends on the depth of the baking mold.  It is better to cut a round sheet that is a little bit too big, than too small! 
     Step 2:  Lightly brush the baking mold with melted unsalted butter.
     Gently press the round pie dough sheet in place, inside the baking mold, so the excess dough drapes over the edge.
     Step 3:  Spoon enough of the chilled Tilapia Pot Pie Filling into the dough lined baking mold, so the level of filling is 1/4" lower than the rim.
     Step 4:  Trim the excess dough, so it is even with the rim.
     Brush the bare dough edge with egg wash.
     Step 5:  Cut a second round sheet of pie dough that is 3/4" wider than the baking mold.
     Place the round sheet of dough evenly on top of the pie.
     Gently press the second round sheet of dough against the bare egg washed edge of the first sheet of dough.
     Gently roll and press the excess dough edge inward, to form a thick crust.  (For a pop-ring mold, the crust must be inside the rim of the mold!)
     Gently press the crust edges onto the dough that is lining the pie tin, so the ingredients of the pie are sealed in.
     Step 6:  Use a fork to press decorative indentations on the crust.
     Poke a steam vent hole in the top center the pie.
     Cut a small decorative fish shape out of the extra pie dough trimmings.
     Step 7:  Brush the top of the pie with egg wash.
     Place the decorative fish shaped dough piece on top of the pie, so it partially covers the steam vent hole in the top of the pie.
     Brush the decorative fish shape with egg wash.
     Step 8:  Place the Tilapia Pot Pie on a baking pan.
     Place the pan in a 375ºF oven.
     Bake till the crust is a golden brown color.
     Step 9:  Remove the pan from the oven.  
     Allow the pie to cool for 4 to 5 minutes.
     Step 10:  The plating method depends on which kind of baking mold was used!
     *If a ceramic or glass pie tin was used:  Serve the finished Tilapia Pot Pie baking dish on a doily lined serving plate.
     *If a metal pie tin was used:  Carefully use a large spatula to transfer the finished Tilapia Pot Pie to a serving plate.
     *If a pop-ring baking mold was used:  Place the Tilapia Pot Pie pop-ring mold on a serving plate.  Pop-the ring open and carefully remove the pop-ring.  Use a spatula to slide the Tilapia Pot Pie off of the pop-ring mold base onto the serving plate and pop the ring.
     Garnish the plate with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     Tilapia Pot pie is comfort food at its best!  It is important to cook the crust till it is lightly browned.  This way, the crust will be flaky and not gummy inside.  

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