Wish Upon A Dish: Sweet Potato Encrusted Swai, Lima Bean Gratin and My 1st Ever Strawberry Cake

June 4, 2011

Sweet Potato Encrusted Swai, Lima Bean Gratin and My 1st Ever Strawberry Cake

Swai, if you did not know (and most don't) is an Indonesian catfish. It is firm, white and sweet just like catfish but not as dense. The beauty of this fish is that it doesn't flake like flounder making it easier to flip while sauteing for Piccata or Franchese styled dishes.

I am not a fan of catfish but we both love Swai. When it is on sale for under $4.00 a pound I buy a few fillets and freeze them.

Tonight I used one to make The Nudge's favorite meal from Key West.

The restaurant shredded the potato and probably pressed it on to an egg dipped fillet. I have had and have made potato crusted fish with wafer thin chips from a mandolin, sliced down lengthwise, placed tile-style on a piece of parchment and then placing the fillet in the middle, using the paper, rolled the potato chips around the fish. Sweet potatoes have a dense flesh compared to regular white potatoes so I nuked the slices for 3 minutes between wax paper so that they would fold over the fish without cracking.

Sauteed in butter until golden brown and baked in the oven until the fish was cooked, about 10 minutes at 400F. I did think about a sauce and the only thing I could think of was a basil cream sauce I made last year, also for sauteed Swai. I decided against the sauce and instead I served it over a Lima Bean Casserole (read my review about this).

The Nudge LOVES, loves, loves lima beans. Except adding them to soups and stews there really isn't a lot of recipes out there for lima bean side dishes. You can substitute them for favas and make a salad of Wheat Berry Salad with Fava (lima) Beans, which is on my list of THINGS I WANT TO MAKE this summer. But I digress.....this looked too good to not try. Easy peasy I don't know why I haven't thought of it myself.

Creamy Lima Bean Gratin
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons melted
* 2 large leeks, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced crosswise
* 3/4 pound shiitake or cremini mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
* 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
* 3 cups heavy cream
* 2 bay leaves
* 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* Four 10-ounce boxes of frozen baby lima beans
* 1/2 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
* 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the sliced leeks and cook over low heat, stirring, until they are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, 15 minutes. Add the stock, cream, bay leaves and tarragon and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
2. Put the frozen lima beans in the bottom of a 12- to 14-cup glass or ceramic baking dish. Pour the hot cream mixture over the limas. Bake for 1 1/4 hours, or until the cream sauce is thickened.
3. Preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs with the Parmesan and melted butter. Sprinkle the crumbs over the lima beans and broil for about 1 minute, rotating the dish for even browning. Let the gratin stand for 15 minutes before serving.

The gratin can be baked for 50 minutes, then cooled and refrigerated overnight. Bring the gratin to room temperature and bake in a 400° oven for 15 minutes, or until the limas are tender, before adding the crumb topping and broiling.

Review: It was too dry for my liking but The Nudge said it was the way they prepared it in Key West. I think he would have liked a sauce also because he asked....."If you were to make a sauce, what kind would you make?"...other than that it was perfectly cooked.

Today is finally an actual Spring day here in the NE and a good day to bake.

So along with my Lima Bean Gratin, I am also going to finally make a Strawberry cake.

I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen two weeks ago and even though hers was adapted from Martha, I did take her idea, make it healthier and run with it.

I won another web giveaway and inside the package was an OXO strawberry huller and Wal-Mart had strawberries on sale...who could resist.
If you are a strawberry fanatic (like I am) you need to buy a huller. Any brand will suffice, but if you want the Ultimate huller you have to spring for the OXO one.
After using it this morning, I wondered why I never bought one before. This is something you can get the kids to do, at least if they are over 8yrs old.
In a cake like this it doesn't matter what the strawberries look like but if you are making a fruit salad or platter, these will make an impressive presentation.

This cake is almost like a Clafouti (meaning it has a batter that surrounds the fruit not cover it) but with a more cake-like texture. The Nudge is not a fan of strawberries but I bet with some whipped cream, he will eat this.

Spring Strawberry Cake

I am swapping out 1/2 cup of AP for chestnut flour and the other cup for white whole wheat flour. Since this recipe uses the creaming method, I can not sub the sugar for Splenda but I did take out 1/4 cup of it and will fold in 1/4 cup Agave Nectar right before pouring into the pie plate.

* 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pie plate
* 1 cup white whole wheat flour
* 1/2 cup chestnut flour (almond flour would work well also)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon table salt
* 3/4 cup palm sugar + 1/4 cup agave nectar
* 1 large egg
* 1/2 cup lite sour cream or buttermilk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
* 2 tablespoons palm sugar for topping strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.
2. Put butter and 3/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, sour cream, cinnamon and vanilla.
3. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to buttered pie plate. Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.
4. Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack. Cut into wedges. Cake can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered, up to 2 days.

Get all your ingredients measured and ready to go.

The batter will be thick, like icing, but it with all the juice from the fruit it will be fine.

After placing the berries into the batter, sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of the Palm Sugar and place it in the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350F then 1 hour at 325F.

The cake part had the consistency of a biscuit so it was reminiscent of a Strawberry Shortcake. The chestnut flour gave it a nice flavor. I ate mine with ice cream.

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