My sister-in-law gets frequent requests from friends and family to make her signature Seafood Bastilla. This is her recipe.
Swordfish, shrimp and calamari are mixed with rice vermicelli, black mushrooms and a spicy tomato sauce. The filling is enclosed in paper-thin warqa or phyllo dough, and then baked.
The measures below are for raw seafood prior to cleaning. Prep time does not include shelling or deveining shrimp, or cleaning calamari. Save time by having your fishmonger do some of this for you.
Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Yield: One 12" bastilla - Serves 6
- ----- Seafood -----
- 1 kg (2 lbs.) fresh medium shrimp, shelled, cleaned and tails removed
- 1/2 kg (1 lb.) fresh calamari, cleaned and cut into 1/4" rings, tentacles chopped
- 1/2 kg (1 lb.) fresh swordfish (or other firm, low-fat fish)
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- salt and pepper
- ----- Tomato Sauce -----
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and grated
- 2 large cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
- 1 large handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ----- Vermicelli Filling -----
- 1 handful dry black mushrooms
- 175 g (6 oz.) dry rice vermicelli
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- tomato sauce
- reserved liquids from cooking the seafood
- ----- Assembly -----
- 1/2 kg (1 lb.) warqa or phyllo dough
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 1 cup grated cheese (Edam, Mild Cheddar, Gouda, etc.)
- ----- Garnish -----
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated cheese (optional)
Make the Tomato Sauce
In a small pot or pan, mix the grated tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and vegetable oil. Simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the parsley, remove from the heat, and set aside.
Cook the Shrimp
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large non-stick skillet. Add shrimp and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Sauté over medium-high for one or two minutes, until the shrimp turns white but the center is still slightly clear.
Drain the shrimp, reserving the liquid, and set aside.
Cook the Swordfish
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add the swordfish and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, turning several times, until the fish flakes easily.
Transfer the fish to a plate and reserve the liquid. Pick the fish off the bones, breaking it into bite-size pieces, and set aside.
Cook the Calamari
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add the calamari and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cover and simmer one hour over medium-low heat, or until very tender.
Drain the calamari, reserving the liquid, and set aside.
Prepare the Mushrooms
Soak the dry mushrooms in water for 30 minutes. Drain, chop the mushrooms coarsely and set aside.
Cook the Rice Vermicelli
Soak the rice vermicelli in water for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and chop into pieces about 2” to 3” long. Place the vermicelli in a pot with the reserved liquids from the seafood. Stir in the soy sauce, hot sauce and the tomato sauce.
Cook uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vermicelli is tender and the liquids are mostly absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Combine the Filling
Place the cooked shrimp, calamari, fish, mushrooms, and vermicelli into a very large bowl and mix well. Taste the filling – it should be slightly salty and spicy. If desired, adjust the seasoning with additional soy sauce and hot sauce.
Assemble the Bastilla
The bastilla will be assembled in this order:
- bottom layer of warqa or phyllo
- seafood filling
- grated cheese
- top layer of warqa or phyllo
Keep your warqa or phyllo covered with plastic wrap while working, and brush each piece of dough with butter as you work with it.
It's easiest to assemble bastilla if you work inside a 14” or larger round pan, but you can work on a flat surface if necessary.
Brush melted butter, then vegetable oil, on the bottom of your pan or your work surface.
Overlap single layers of warqa (shiny side down) or double layers of phyllo, to cover the bottom of the pan. Allow several inches of excess dough to drape over the sides of the pan, as shown in this photo. Remember to brush butter on each piece of dough.
Add a 12” circle of warqa (shiny side down) or two 12” circles of phyllo. This serves as the base of your pie. Butter the dough.
Distribute the filling over the base, lightly pressing and molding to maintain the circular shape. Dribble 2 tablespoons of the melted butter over the filling, and top with the grated cheese.
Fold the loose edges of the dough up around the filling to fully enclose the pie. Try to maintain a circular shape, and trim off any excess dough that can’t be folded neatly. Brush the tops and sides of the pie with butter.
Top the pie with two or three overlapping layers of warqa (shiny side up), or four or five overlapping layers of phyllo, to form a smooth top. (Remember to butter each piece of dough.) Fold the edges of the dough snugly down around the edge of the pie, tucking the excess under the pie and gently molding a rounded edge.
Brush the entire top and sides of the bastilla first with butter, then with the beaten egg yolk.
The bastilla is now ready for baking. The unbaked bastilla may be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated (one day) or frozen (up to two months).
Bake and Serve
Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).
Place the bastilla on a buttered baking sheet – a pan with no sides allows for easy transfer to a serving plate – and bake until crisp and golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes. A bastilla taken from the freezer may take longer.
If desired, garnish the bastilla by sprinkling grated cheese on it and returning the pie to the oven to allow the cheese to melt and brown slightly. Transfer the bastilla to a large platter for serving.