Moroccan Pastilla

A great traditional Moroccan seafood dish to match a Mediterranean diet

Updated March 24th 2022

What Is Pastilla?

Another wonderful traditional Moroccan dish prepared for great dinners and wedding ceremonies. Traditionally served after small plates of fresh salads and before the main Tagine course. For instance, Moroccan Seafood Pastilla is a great dish to try out with our extra virgin olive oil.

The name comes from the Spanish word pastilla, meaning in modern Spanish either “pill” or “small pastry”. It is believed that the basic concept of pastilla was probably brought to Morocco by Moorish Muslims who left Spain in the 16th century, or perhaps earlier, because there had been considerable traffic between Morocco and Spain since the Moors conquered the latter in the seventh century.

Others believe that the dish was introduced into Morocco by the Algerians who migrated to Tétouan after the French invasion of Algiers in 1830.

In Morocco, there are two main versions of pastilla: one with poultry and one with seafood.

Here we explore this traditional Moroccan dish with the benefits of selected seafood, shrimp, squid (calamari) and whiting fish.

Shrimp; An Excellent Companion To Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Shrimp is quite nutritious and provides high amounts of certain nutrients, such as iodine, that aren’t abundant in many other foods. On the other hand, some people claim that shrimp is unhealthy due to its high cholesterol content. Additionally, it is commonly believed that farm-raised shrimp may have some negative health effects compared to wild-caught shrimp.

Shrimp Is Low in Calories yet Rich in Nutrients

Shrimp has an impressive nutrition profile. It is quite low in calories, providing only 84 calories in a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving, and does not contain any carbs. Approximately 90% of the calories in shrimp come from protein, and the rest come from fat. Additionally, the same serving size provides more than 20 different vitamins and minerals, including 50% of your daily needs for selenium, a mineral that may help reduce inflammation and promote heart health.

Shrimp is also one of the best food sources of iodine, an important mineral that many people are deficient in. Iodine is required for proper thyroid function and brain health. Shrimp is also a good source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to astaxanthin antioxidants, which may have a variety of health benefits.

What Are Squid?

Calamari is the culinary name for squid, which is a type of mollusk that lives in oceans around the world. This seafood plays a significant role in the Mediterranean and East Asian diet, and it also plays a part in North American and Western European cuisine.

Calamari is an excellent source of nutrients, and it is especially valued in Japanese cuisine.

In Japan, restaurants serve calamari in all kinds of different ways. These serving styles include sashimi, sushi, tempura (fried), grilled calamari, and more.

Calamari has a relatively mild taste however it tends to absorb different flavours from whatever it is cooking alongside. For instance, calamari quickly absorbs strong flavours from ingredients like garlic, ginger, tomato, and herbs.

Calamari is a rich source of protein, of which it provides 15.6 grams per 100 g serving. Also, calamari is a complete protein, which means that it provides all nine of the essential amino acids in adequate amounts.

Calamari contains choline which isan essential vitamin-like nutrient that is particularly important for brain and liver health. It offers around 65 mg per 100-gram serving.

Calamari contains high concentrations of selenium, which is an important mineral with antioxidant mechanisms.

Copper is an essential mineral that plays a key role in bone health, the cardiovascular and nervous system, iron metabolism, and red blood cell formation. Copper is the most concentrated nutrient in calamari, and 100 grams provides 1.9 mg of the mineral, which is equal to 95% of the daily recommended intake.

What is Whiting Fish?

Whiting fish is a popular type of seafood in certain parts of the Atlantic and Mediterranean. It is scientifically known as Merlangius merlangus. A number of other common white fish are called whiting fish, although they aren’t technically from the same species. These fish are modest in size, reaching a maximum size of just over two feet, and has five fins and a long, thin body. In terms of taste, whiting fish is very similar to cod and has a light, lean texture that makes it quite versatile for cooking. These fish are generally considered safe, as they are low in mercury and tend to have minimal environmental toxins.

Whiting Fish Nutrition

When it comes to nutrition, these fish are not extremely nutrient-dense, but they may provide a number of fats, including some omega-3 fatty acids, as well as good levels of protein (15 grams in a 3.5-ounce filet) and moderate amounts of calciumpotassiumvitamin Bmagnesium, and phosphorus. That same size serving of this fish provides about 90 calories. There are no carbohydrates in this fish.

Whiting is an under-appreciated fish that, amongst many other uses makes a great alternative to cod in fish and chips.

Whiting Fish Health Benefits The top health benefits of whiting fish may include preventing heart ailments, soothing inflammation, reducing fatigue, lowering cholesterol, treating cramps, and improving eye and bone health among others.

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Ingredients

  • 700g of peeled shrimp
  • 600g of squid
  • 600g of whiting fish or any type of white fish
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 egg
  • A bag of Chinese noodles (vermicelli)
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (100 grams)
  • Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Pack chopped mushroom cut into pieces
  • 1 pickled lemon
  • 50g olives cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cumin,1 tsp ginger, hot sauce
  • ½ tsp of turmeric, ½ tsp black pepper
  • 500g fine pastry layers (you can make them at home or get the readymade in the market)

Instructions

  1. Clean whiting fish well and steam it or boil it in salty water to remove the scales easily
  2. Clean squid with warm water well and cut it into rings then put in a pot with spices, bay leaves, garlic extra virgin olive oil and ½ cup of water and cook until water is evaporated.
  3. Clean shrimp and grill in a pan with 2 tbsp of butter
  4. Put the noodles in hot salty water for 5 to 10 minutes then drain them and cut them to small pieces.
  5. Add, whiting fish, shrimp to Squid then mix well
  6. In a bowl, put the noodles, mushrooms, olives; tomato sauce, parsley, hot sauce and pickled lemon then mix well.
  7. Grease the round mold with butter.
  8. On the bottom of the dish, place 5 sheets of Pastilla well greased with butter (butter side up) in the overlapping like the petals of a flower and leaving the overflow to the outside edges of the dish (about half of the sheet inside the flat, the other half to the outside).
  9. Place layers in a mold.
  10. Consolidate the bottom of the Pastilla with 1 or 2 more sheets placed in the centre of the mold.
  11. Put the mixture of the noodles on the sheets using the back of a spoon to spread it perfectly.
  12. Put the mixture of seafood over the entire surface of the noodles in order to completely cover the mold.
  13. Add another sheet of pastry on top then fold those layers of the Pastilla.
  14. Arrange 3 new sheets on top in an overlapping to close it firmly. Once the Pastilla is closed, spread the yolk of an egg on the top.
  15. Put the Pastilla in the oven preheated to about 45 minutes (more or less depending on oven). Pastilla should be golden brown on its entire surface, the sides and bottom. It has to be crispy.
  16. For garnish: Put some ground cheese, shrimp and circles of lemon on the top and serve it hot.
  17. Your Moroccan Seafood Pastilla is ready to be served

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