Opa! Tonight we begin our Greek adventure. This is Dad’s first time at bat in this international cooking experience and he hits it out of the park! On the menu tonight – Psari a la Spetsiota, Dolmades with Bechamel and Sfiggoi.
We began with the Psari a la Spetsiota (or Baked Fish with Bread Crumbs and Tomato). We chose the Swai fish for this dish based on the butcher’s recommendation at the grocery store. When Dad asked what kind of fish we bought, Miss A proudly declared, “Dead fish.” So we salted our “dead fish” and set it aside for 30 minutes. At the same time we mixed the topping ingredients to set aside as well.
Next we began work on the Sfiggoi (pronounced sveengy). Basically Sfiggoi is a little deep-fried dough puff similar to the French beignet. We mixed the dough batter and then mixed in the eggs. Mr. N taught Miss A how to crack an egg today. While he’s getting quite adept at it, Miss A couldn’t quite grasp the pulling apart of the shell vs. smashing it in her hands. It was some good messy fun!
While the fish was in the oven Dad began work on the bechamel, a medium-consistency gravy with hints of nutmeg. The bechamel required continuous stirring for 20 minutes. It was at this point that Miss A began her ritual flitting around while Mr. N decide that our blog needs a logo.
With everything rolling along as planned, it was time to deep fry the sfiggoi. This was one of those moments that I had to overcome some serious fears – and not just of the calories. It was nearly 10 years ago to the day that I was deep-frying french fries in our Phoenix-area apartment that the oil caught on fire, nearly taking my face off, destroying the kitchen, flooding our apartment and displacing us for weeks. So with our fire extinguisher at the ready, major butterflies in my stomach and some serious shakes, I began to deep fry our little dough puffs.
After surviving the deep fry we sat down to enjoy our Psari a la Spetsiota and Dolmades (from Costco) with bechamel. Everything was a hit – particularly the fish. The kids ate their complete first and second servings! As for the Dolmades – Miss A wasn’t a fan at all. Mr. N enjoyed the stuffing and left the grape leaves behind. And dad and I both enjoyed the healthy treat. I thought the bechamel was delicious, dad was less impressed and the kids couldn’t stand it. But hey – they at the fish. That’s a major success! So for our spoons – Psari a la Spetsiota came in at 4, 4, 3.5 and 3 for Dad, Mom, Mr. N and Miss A . The bechamel – 2, 3, 0 and 0.
And for those death-defying little deep-fried balls of goodness…Oh were they wonderful with a little drizzled honey and a sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar. Easily 4 spoons all-around. I’d make these at least a couple of times a year…if it wasn’t for the deep-frying that is, but as it stands I think these are best left to the professional chefs. Opa!