Fish Stuffed with Spinach and Pecans in Puff Pastry

>> Friday, February 13, 2015

Fish Stuffed with Spinach and Pecans in Puff Pastry

Every year, Joe's company throws a lavish annual party in Chicago's Loop, and man do we love dressing up and eating well. This year our dinner theme was a Casino Night at the Palmer House. I've only walked through that glorious building, but in January we stayed there overnight.

Palmer House Chicago, the Great Hall
Palmer House Chicago, the Great Hall

This year, I was especially excited to go to a black-tie event because Joe was planning to wear his gorgeous charcoal pinstripe suit and I had a sparkly new dress.

Angela selfie
I look like I'm about to cry, but I'm actually trying to correct the fisheye lens effect so my face isn't bulging forward in the pic. What's up with that, iPhone?
The dinner theme was "Casino Night", and I know very little about casinos except what I saw on the movie "Rain Man". I used to play BlackJack with some friends back in the day at a nightclub, but  I didn't really remember the intricacies. By the end of the night, though, I had a huge stack of chips to trade in for raffle prizes.

I went to bed bragging that I was naturally lucky with Blackjack. In the morning, under a quick shower, I remembered that I'd started playing at the table by announcing I was a newbie, and I had some very talented people giving me advice each round. 

Oh well, at least I felt like a  million dollars. 

This recipe is similar to an entree at the fish carving station. It was a big stand-out in my mind and we knew we had to develop a similar recipe. This is actually pretty easy and looks elegant on the table (if you're not recipe-developing at 10 pm on a work night). If it makes you feel special, why not put on your prettiest dress-up clothes for dinner?


1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz baby spinach, rinsed, dried, and stemmed
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 (2 1/2 to 3-ounce) white fish fillets (we used cod, but I would have used orange roughy or sole if it was on sale.)
2 tsp fish seasoning (we used Emeril's)
1 (17.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

For the Lemon Sauce

4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
dash salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2  cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place lightly greased parchment paper in a cookie sheet.

Sprinkle the fish with the fish seasoning and let marinate in the fridge while you're making the rest of the dish.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high, then add the chopped pecans and shake them in the pan while they toast slightly and become fragrant. Set them aside. Melt the butter in the skillet, then add the garlic and spinach, salt and pepper to the pan. Toss the spinach over medium high heat 2-3 minutes, until the leaves are bright green and slightly softened. Let cool.

Sprinkle the counter or a large cutting board with flour. Place one sheet of the puff pastry on the work surface, then roll it out very thin - about 1/8" thick. Lay the pastry on the parchment paper and roll out a second sheet.

Lay the fish on the pastry sheet and cover with the spinach mixture. Sprinkle with the pecans, then add the top layer of pastry and pinch the edges together.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg with 1 tablespoon of water Brush over the parchment package. Bake until the puff pastry is golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes

To make the lemon sauce, melt together the butter and olive oil and let cool. Place in a blender or food processor with the salt, lemon, wine, and  shallots; pulse until well blended. Heat the sauce in a small pot until boiling, then reduce to a simmer. Stir the water and cornstarch together, then slowly stir into the lemon sauce. Cook until the sauce is the consistency of gravy.

Remove the fish from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving with the lemon butter sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serves 4


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