Recipe submitted by Ayna Garcia as part of our Summer 2003 recipe contest.
"Fish and rice is a coomon pairing in Asian cuisine. This is a westernized presentation that looks wonderful in the middle of a plate as well as offers a myriad of textures and tastes to tempt the palette."
"Now that I've written these instructions down, the whole thing seems so complicated, but really it's not. There are three layers all together and you don't have to cook or season everything exactly the way I've done. You could even use cheese and potatos for the insides of the "package". The most important thing is that in the end, you wrap the whole thing in filo and shape it like a pear. It's very beautiful on a plate and festive too. What a way to say thank you, or happy birthday, even Happy Holidays! And that would be the point of it all. So it's worth it."
1 1/2 cups long grain rice (or prepare the rice you like)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup onion
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon light soya sauce
4 square pieces skinless sockeye salmon (3-4 inches square, up to 1 inch thick)
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 pinches salt
4 pinches pepper
4 large artichoke hearts (whole)
1 teaspoon truffle essence (a little goes a long way)
8 - 10 sheets filo pastry
Olive oil for basting
1/2 cup ready-made mayonaise
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Begin by preparing artichokes. Peel away artichokes' outer layers then boil remaining in salted water until tender but not falling apart. Strain from water, marinade in olive oil, truffle essence, salt and pepper. Let soak at least half an hour. Then for "Rice Layer", make it easy on yourself and cook rice in a rice cooker. When completed, heat pan with vegetable oil. Saute garlic and onions. Add rice. Stir together. Add soya sauce. Remove from heat and scoop into 3 inch bottomless molds (round cookie cutters). Refrigerate molded if doing these a day in advance. For the "Salmon Layer", brush filets in olive oil. Rub with salt and pepper before grilling. Squirt lemon juice over grilled salmon and refrigerate until ready to wrap. Set oven to broil or ready the salamander. Seperate 2 filo sheets and overlap them by atleast half. Place rice layer in middle of overlapped sheets. Top rice with grilled salmon. Balance one artichoke heart on top of salmon. Then lift edges of filo all around the layers using third filo sheet to patch up gaps if necessary. Twist top tight and cut off excess filo. Mould packages into a pear shape (pyramid with a sharp pinch towards the top). Brush with olive oil. Broil filo packages until golden brown. Set one pear package in the middle of each plate. Decorate plate with dots of lemon mayo. Serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Wrapping Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Ayna also adds, "When I was young, my mom always said I never needed to buy her anything, just MAKE something. So for as long as I can remember, most of my gifts have come from my hands. This is another one. I first experimented with this recipe in cooking school. But in honor of my parents who put me through school, I decided to package ingredients that reminded me of dinners past which I shared with them."