Monday, February 10, 2014

A Quintet of Cuisines: Brik bil Anchouwa

Tonight was brik night. There are recipes for three different fillings given, anchovies (or tuna, for the faint-of-fish), lamb, and chicken. We've had both chicken and lamb recently, so we opted for the tuna version.

The filling for all versions is easy to assemble and is briefly cooked before using. The fishy version has anchovies or tuna, finely chopped onions and parsley, lots of capers, and freshly ground black pepper. These are mixed then briefly fried. Actually, I expect that, as with a quiche or a crèpe, you could use most anything you've got around needing to be used up to fill a brik.

Having read the instructions for making malsouqua, the sheets of pastry used to make the brik, I figured the store-bought sheets were going to work just fine. Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco were all French colonies at one time, so, even out here in the country, sheets of brick/brique/brik (I've seen all versions in recipes) are available in the cooler next to filo, pâte brisée, pâte feuilletée, and pizza.

In the photo, my hand is under the paper that the sheet rests on. I've peeled the edge of the pastry so you might be able to get an idea of how thin they are.

The store-bought brik sheets are about 12" in diameter. I'd already started heating the oil in the smaller pan asked, when I realized how big they were, so I quickly changed to a bigger pan. After peeling the pastry sheet from its paper, you add the filling, make a dent in that, and top with an egg. A small egg, please, since a big one would swamp the works. Then into a skillet to fry in olive oil.

These are the filled briks frying in what was probably not quite enough oil. The first one, on the left, is a bit messy, since I'd neglected to remove it from its supporting paper before filling, and it tore on the bottom as I tried to get it free. Given that these sheets are at least 2" in diameter bigger than the one's you'd make following the instructions in the book (should you really want to do that), they're probably a bit underfilled. 

Two minutes on each side, then onto the plate for serving. Not so pretty, but very tasty.

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