Smoked Mackerel and Thyme Ravioli

I love it when a plan comes together. I haven't done ravioli in a while, and was beginning to miss it. So, I got down and floury. This dish is flaky smoked mackerel, fresh thyme leaves and pops of pepper in a little parcel with a tangy lemon and tomato sauce, shallow fried mushrooms and crispy basil. It was easy and delicious. Recipe follows.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

For the Pasta

2 Cups of Strong White Flour

2 Large Eggs

A couple of pinches of Salt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the filling

200g Smoked Mackerel

2 Tablespoons of Fresh Thyme Leaves

1 Teaspoon of Freshly Ground Black Pepper

3 Cloves of Garlic

For the Sauce

400g Pureed Fresh Tomatoes

1 Teaspoon of Tomato Paste (if the tomatoes are a bit average. If they're nice and Italian, forgo the paste)

Juice of One Lemon

2 Teaspoons of Smoked Spanish Paprika

2 Shallots, peeled and very finely sliced

Olive oil

Salt

Button or Chestnut Mushrooms, halved (2-3 per person)

A bunch of basil leaves

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Method

Put the flour in a mound on the chopping board. Make a well in the middle, and crack the eggs into the well. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. With a fork, beat the eggs in the well, slowly incorporating the flour.

It'll become too hard to do with a fork. That's when you get in with your hands. Incorporate the flour until the dough is pliable. Knead the dough vigorously until you've got a smooth ball. Then, wrap in glad wrap and set aside for half an hour. The gluten with settle and the dough with become a bit softer.

While that's happening, boil you garlic cloves of 10 minutes. Peel and mince after ten minutes, and then put in a mixing bowl. To the mixing bowl, flake the mackerel, then add the pepper, thyme and a generous lug of olive oil. Mix together well.

In a saucepan, pour a decent amount of olive oil. Gently fry the shallot on a medium heat until they're really soft. Add the tomatoes, paprika and lemon juice (and tomato paste, if you're using it(, and lower the heat. Gently simmer it down until it's a very thick sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. It should be quite tart, but if it's too tart for you, a half teaspoon of sugar will bring it back.

By now the dough should be rested. Knead it out, then cut into 6 even sized pieces. Roll the dough out into thin sheets, If you're doing this, you're probably experienced in making ravioli. Stuff your ravioli with the fish mixture.

I use a ravioli tablet, but if you're using a wheel, and you've never done it, try it like this:

Put one pasta sheet on a floured benchtop. Put balls of the fish mixture about 3-4 centimetres apart from each other. Depending on the width of the pasta sheet you'll fit 1 or 2 across, and maybe five along, ten per sheet. Dip a pastry brush in water and use it to wet all the spaces in between the fish balls. Take another sheet and put it on top. Starting at one end, press the sheet down over the fish to join the other sheet of pasta. for each bit of fish, start on one side and work your way around it to force out some of the air. Once you finish, cut the ravioli with the wheel.

Once all the ravioli are complete, bring a pot of really salty water to the boil. Boil the ravioli until al dente - probably about 4-5 minutes.

Get out two frying pans and coat each generously with oil. In one, fry the mushrooms, cut side down and the basil on a medium heat. Pull out the basil once it's translucent - it will go crispy once it cools. Keep frying the mushrooms, turning them around a couple of times so they cook through. Keep cooking them until you're done frying the ravioli.

Drain the ravioli once al dente. Then fry them in a non-stick frying back, flat side only. They'll go nice and crispy on the bottom.

You can plate it how you like. The easiest way is to simply add the sauce to the frying ravioli and get them well coated. Or you can art it up. Whatever works! Serve with the mushrooms and crispy basil.

Enjoy!

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