When I owned my restaurant, No 10, in Kloof Neck Road in Cape Town, South Africa, I had to come up with different menus every once in a while and my most challenging ingredient was always fish, as I didn’t like eating it myself! I vividly remember standing in my kitchen on a Sunday night, after my last restaurant guests had left, with a glass of wine in my hand, staring at an open fridge and wondering what on earth I could make with fish that would be delicious? Well, this is what I came up with and it became one of my most popular dishes with my patrons and remained on the menu for 2 years! The nice thing about this dish is if you don’t enjoy eating fish, you can make this with shredded roasted chicken meat (or chicken breast fillets) and it’s divine! And, if you’re a vegetarian, you can add other veggies of your choice, instead of the fish or chicken.
- 900 grms hake or kingklip or any firm white fish (or veggies, if you’re going for the vegetarian option)
- 3-4 cups cheese sauce
¾ – 1 packet phyllo pastry (about 8 sheets, or more if you like)
- Salt, pepper, chicken stock powder to taste
- Dried oreganum, 4 cloves garlic – crushed or finely chopped
- Olive oil for frying, melted butter for brushing the phyllo pastry
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley (flat leaf or normal)
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 punnet of mushrooms, sliced (about 200 grams)
- 2-3 cubed potatoes – par boiled
- 5-7 carrots, sliced into rounds – par boiled
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius
- Fry garlic, onion and spices in a little oil (olive or other), till soft and light brown. Add mushrooms and chopped parsley, stir for about a minute and set aside.
- Par boil carrots and potatoes, set aside.
- FISH : If you’re going to use fish, cut the fish into bite size chunks and pan fry in same pan as mushrooms, add seasoning to taste. Set aside
- CHICKEN: If you’re going to use chicken, shred a roasted chicken or pan fry chicken breasts pieces in the same pan as the mushrooms and set aside.
- VEGETARIAN OPTION: For this option, you can use veggies like butternut, cauliflower, or something firm. Par boil bite size chunks, set aside.
- Make a basic cheese sauce, set aside
- Prepare your oven dish/ casserole dish by brushing the sides and the bottom with olive oil or melted butter. Layer 3 sheets of phyllo pastry on top of one another, brushing butter or olive oil lightly, between each layer.
- Fill the dish with all your prepared ingredients in layers, for eg: mushrooms & onion mix, veggies, chicken/fish/veg, cheese sauce and repeat this layer once again.
Top with 4-5 layers of phyllo pastry, once again brushing each layer sparsely with butter or oil. Tuck and fold excess pastry along the sides and corners of the dish. Brush the top layer with butter or oil and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.