Moussaka with Fish

An Israeli recipe, Moussaka with Fish can be made with most types of fish, using either a mixture of fish, or just one kind. Serve with buttered noodles and a green vegetable for a warming and filling meal.

2 large aubergines

1 tablespoon plus

1 teaspoon salt

6 fl. oz. vegetable oil

1 oz. butter

2 small onions, finely chopped

8 oz. cod fillets, cooked, skinned and flaked

1 lb. halibut steaks, cooked, skinned and flaked

14 oz. canned peeled tomatoes, chopped

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper :1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried dill

2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

4 oz. Cheddar cheese, finely grated

1 oz. butter

2 tablespoons flour

5 fl. oz. single cream

10 fl. oz. milk

4 egg yolks

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Cut the aubergines into slices. Place them in a colander and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt. Set the aubergines aside for 30 minutes to degorge. Dry the aubergine slices with kitchen paper towels. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 375CF (Gas Mark 5, 190°C).

In a medium-sized frying-pan, heat 2 fluid ounces of the oil over mod-crate heat. When the oil is hot, add about one-third of the aubergine slices and fry them for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown. With a fish slice or spatula, remove the aubergine .slices from the pan and set them aside to drain on kitchen paper. Fry the remaining slices in the same way, adding more oil to the pan as necessary. Set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are soft and translucent but not brown.

Stir in the flaked fish, the tomatoes with the can juice, the cayenne, thyme, dill, pepper, paprika and the remaining salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

Arrange one-third of the aubergine slices on the bottom of a medium-sized baking dish. Spoon over half the fish and tomato mixture and sprinkle over half the cheese. Cover with another third of the aubergine slices and spoon over the remaining fish and tomato mixture. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and cover with the remaining aubergine slices. Set aside.

To make the sauce, in a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat and, with a wooden spoon, stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Gradually stir in the cream and milk, being careful to avoid lumps.

Return the pan to the heat and cook the sauce, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it is very thick and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool to lukewarm. When the sauce has cooled, beat in the egg yolks.

Stir in the lemon juice.

Pour the sauce over the aubergine slices to cover them completely. Place the dish in the centre of the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Remove the dish from the oven and serve immediately.

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