Shirley King’s Seafood Strudel

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Shirley was one of my favorite people. Outspoken, opinionated, strong willed, vulnerable, and honest as the day was long, she also happened to be a brilliant chef, and authored several books on fish. It was at a dinner party in her home that I first became friends with the Batterberrys of Food Arts Magazine, where I first saw the recipe. It was intended to be served in 1 inch slices as an appetizer on a bed of fried leeks, but I love it so much I serve it as the main course, accompanied by a salad. The incredibly light and crisp pastry wrapped around the creamy seafood filling is, quite simply, divine.

The first time I made the recipe, I was able to get the specified fresh phyllo (fillo) which made it much faster to prepare. But since I have a hearty dislike for the frozen variety, which usually goes through a few freeze-thaw experiences causing the thin sheets to stick together, I now make it with strudel dough. The recipe is in “The Pie and Pastry Bible” (you will need to double the recipe to make the two seafood rolls) and I am including a few step-by-step photos herewith. It is the most magical dough and an exhilarating experience to start with a ball of dough the size of your fist and then stretch it to around 48 inches.

Special Tip: phyllo and strudel work best in warm and humid conditions, making this an ideal recipe for summer.

If you’d like to see a video of pulling strudel click below.

Makes: 6 servings

·       85 grams 3 oz. unsalted butter

·       80 grams/10 1/2 Tbsps. all-purpose flour

·       1/3 cup dry white wine

·       116 grams/1/2 cup heavy cream

·       363 grams 1 1/2 cups whole milk

·       salt

·       black pepper, freshly ground

·       227 grams 1/2 lb. fresh bay or sea scallops, side muscle removed, diced

·       2 Tbsps. canola oil

·       227 grams 1/2 lb. med. shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into 1/2" pieces

·       454 grams/1 lb. fresh or pasteurized lump crabmeat, picked over twice for cartilage

·       1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

·       1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

·       pinch of cayenne

·       14 sheets packaged phyllo dough

·       73 grams/6 tablespoons clarified unsalted butter

1.     Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour until smooth; reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes (stir as needed.)

2.    Whisk in wine, cream and milk until thickened; simmer gently 5 minutes.

3.    Remove from heat; strain through fine sieve; season; reserve.

4.    Sauté scallops in the 2 Tbsps. oil over high heat 1 minute; add shrimp; sauté 2 minutes; transfer with slotted spoon to reserved sauce.

5.    Stir in crabmeat, dill, lemon juice and cayenne; cool.

6.    Unroll phyllo; stack 7 sheets—brush each with clarified butter before covering with next; cover with damp cloth; reserve.

7.    Repeat process with remaining 7 sheets.

8.    Spoon half of seafood mix onto 1 short end of first layered phyllo rectangle; roll; brush with clarified butter; refrigerate; repeat process with remaining seafood and phyllo rectangle; chill 30 minutes to 1 hour.

9.    Heat oven to 400˚ F/200˚C.

10.  Make 3 1 inch long steam vents into the top of each strudel. Transfer to baking sheet; bake until golden (about 20 to 30 minutes); remove from oven; cool 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note: After about 15 minutes of baking, if the ends of the strudel roll start browning too quickly, tent them with aluminum foil.