A delightful dinner party dish from Hungary, Tbltbtt Csuka (tehl-tehtsoo-kah) may be served with buttered new potatoes, broccoli and some chilled Hungarian Riesling.
1×3 lb. pike, cleaned, prepared, soaked in salted water FOR 3 hours and drained
2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoon paprika
3 oz. butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 oz. button mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped
2 oz. fresh white breadcrumbs
2 oz. smoked ham, chopped
2 tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
4 black olives, stoned and finely chopped
1 teaspoon mushroom essence
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 parsley sprigs
1 lemon, quartered
Preheat the oven to moderate 350 °F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).
Lay the pike on a wooden board. Rub the inside cavity with half the salt, pepper and paprika and set aside.
In a small frying-pan, melt 1 ounce of the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the shallots and fry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for another 2 minutes or until the shallots are soft and translucent but not brown. Remove the pan from the heat and, with a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots and mushrooms to a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Add the breadcrumbs, ham, tomatoes, olives, mushroom essence, lemon juice, and the remaining salt, pepper and paprika.
Stir the mixture until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Spoon the stuffing into the cavity of the fish.
In a small saucepan, melt the remaining butter over moderate heat. Remove the pan from the heat and, with a pastry brush, brush the pike with the melted butter. Wrap the pike tightly in aluminium foil.
Place the pike in a roasting tin. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 1 hour or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Remove the tin from the oven. Care fully lift out the pike. Remove the pike carefully from the foil and transfer it to a large, warmed serving dish. Garnish the pike with the parsley and lemon quarters.