I have a confession to make… I have no exact measurements for this recipe. I always write down my recipe measurements on a notepad as I go about in the kitchen. This system has worked a charm and I’ve never had a problem with loosing the notepad or forgetting it somewhere…Till now!
I left Brighton and the notepad behind. When I arrived in Rome and realized this a few hours later I went bonkers. “NO! I don’t have the measurements for my next three posts!” I cried. How could I have done this!
But, stuff happens. Especially when there are twenty other plans going on all at the same time.
So, what does this mean? It means I’m going to give you the measurements to the best of my memory and will update this post when I get home.
In any case, this isn’t a recipe that requires much exactness. In fact, because it’s Valentine’s you should let go of your inhibitions and cook with your heart…your instinct. And don’t be afraid to let the food roll off the plate…
This dish calls for two ingredients you may not be familiar with; Sumac and burghul.
Sumac is a tangy, deep red or burgundy spice derived from the dried berries of the non-poisonous sumac bush. It is used along with lemon or in place of lemon to add a tart, lemony taste to salads (ex: fatoush), meats, fried eggs, dips as well as added to other spices like in Zaa’tar.
Burghul is wheat that has been cooked (either par-boiled or steamed), the outer layers of bran removed, then ground into various sized grains. It is not to be confused with cracked wheat. In Lebanon it is most commonly used in Tabouleh although no where near the quantities seen in the western adaptations.
- Remove your phyllo pastry package and defrost about 2-3 hours in advance.
- Take about 100g to 150g of fine burghul wheat and soak according to instructions on the packet. I usually like to add maggi cubes for more flavor. ¼ of a cube should be more than sufficient here.
- Pre-heat your oven to 350F/180C/4G.
- Take a fennel bulb and first slice it into rings then slices, lather with a bit of olive oil and salt.
- Take two sea bass fillets or any white fish of choice and lightly salt then coat it with the sumac.
- By now the phyllo pastry should have defrosted. Each parcel will require about 4 sheets cut into a square about 10 inches by 10 inches.
- Begin by placing half the burghul wheat in the center of the phyllo square then add the fish fillet, followed by half the fennel slices, a couple of cherry tomatoes and some dill if you’d like.
- Bring all the ends together and tie with a kitchen string. Repeat all the above for the second parcel. Then make an egg wash (mix 1 tsp water with 1 beaten egg) and brush the whole parcel including the tips. This will help it keep together as well as add shine and browning.
- Pop into the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the fish fillet. It usually takes about 8-10 minutes of cooking per inch if fresh and double that if frozen. Voila!