Some dishes remain etched in our minds… often linked to fond memories of the people who we ate them with or the places where we sat to savour and indulge in them. We may not cook them all the time… in fact years may trickle by before we find them on the table once again. In some ways comparable to beautiful, strong friendships that are created over the years. The ones that not only survive, despite the distance and life keeping us busy, but grow stronger… with no need of daily text messages or phone calls every week. The absolute joy of seeing these friends, after months or even years is like waking up on Christmas morning!
Seafood Bonbons were something my mother used to make on occasions for grown-up Dinner Parties with their friends. They were usually served as an entrée/starter before the main meal came out. In the days where the table was beautifully laden with tablecloths, fine china and crystal glasses. Cutlery set out like soldiers either side of the plates… “always work from the outside in!”, my mother taught us well. I was but a child then… but would peep through the dining room door to look in wonder at the beautifully dressed ladies and the feast that they were all partaking in. There was such an element of excitement on Dinner Party nights… the sights and sounds and smells all tucked away, to this day (somewhat hazily, yet sweet) in my mind.
Over the years, we’ve had dinners of our own with friends… not quite the fancy, elegant dinner parties of the 70’s, but the more relaxed and casual versions of the 90’s and 00’s. Seafood Bonbons have made the occasional appearance with some of our dear friends too… and always to much delight and appreciation! On my table this week they featured as a main dish, with two bonbons per person instead of one. I hope you’ll enjoy them as well.
Seafood Filo Bonbons with Lemon Cream Sauce | Gather and Graze
For the Bonbons:
- 500ml/4 Cups Water
- 300g Raw Prawn/Shrimp Meat (chopped in halves)
- 300g Raw Scallops (chopped in halves)
- 16 (Long) Chives
- 1 Heaped Tablespoon Cream
- 1 Clove of Garlic (Crushed)
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 16 Sheets of Filo Pastry (I use Antoniou brand, which are 28cm x 40cm)
- 75g/5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (Melted)
For the Sauce:
- 2 Free-Range Egg Yolks
- 80ml/⅓ Cup Cream
- 80ml/⅓ Cup Reserved Stock (from poaching the seafood)
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 30g Unsalted Butter (Softened and Diced)
- 1 Tablespoon Chives (Chopped)
- Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Place the water into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the prawns and scallops, cook for 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon to a mixing bowl to cool down a little. If there is any excess water that has transferred to the bowl with the seafood, be sure to drain it out. Now add the chives to the saucepan and cook for 3 seconds, remove and also set aside for the moment. Reserve 80mls (⅓ Cup) of the cooking water/stock and set aside for making the sauce later on.
When the prawns and scallops have cooled a little, add the 1 tablespoon of cream, the crushed garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC and line 2 large baking trays with parchment/baking paper.
Lay out one sheet of filo pastry on a clean board or bench top (with a short end closest to you) and using a pastry brush, brush on a light layer of melted butter. Place another sheet of filo on top and once again brush the top lightly with butter. Across the end closest to you, scoop an eighth of the prawn/scallop mixture to form a log shape, leaving a section on either side bare. If confused, please see my attempt at a diagram below…
Now lift the edge of the filo pastry closest to you and fold it over the mixture. Continue then to roll the pastry right up to the other end. Pinch in the sides to make a bonbon shape and tie the softened chives around either end (as per the photo below). Continue making the other 7 bonbons in the same manner and place on the prepared baking trays. Brush the tops with a little more melted butter.
Slide the trays into the pre-heated oven and bake for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
While the bonbons are baking in the oven, prepare the sauce so that it’s ready to serve as soon as the bonbons come out of the oven… In a small saucepan, combine the egg yolks, cream, reserved stock and lemon juice. Place over a gentle heat. Warm the mixture, though do not allow it to boil. Gradually add in the butter, piece by piece and stir until the sauce has thickened to a nice consistency. Add in the chopped chives and season well with salt and pepper.
Serve without delay! Place two bonbons per person onto a plate with some sauce carefully spooned around them. A fresh green salad (in summer) or some lightly steamed greens (in winter) would be the perfect sides to accompany this dish.
* Very slightly adapted from a recipe in the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Dinner Party Cookbook No. 2′