The burghul soaks up all the flavours of the aromatics, clams and calamari in these all-in-one meals.
Fragrant seafood and burghul parcels
The burghul in these all-in-one meals soaks up all the flavours of the aromatics and seafood. We’ve used clams and calamari, but prawns and pieces of fish also work really well.
Prep time 25 mins, cook 50 mins (plus chilling)
400 gm (21/ cups) coarse burghul, rinsed
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 baby calamari (about 150gm each), cleaned, tentacles cut into bite-sized pieces, tubes sliced into rings
16 large clams, cleaned
Lemon wedges, to serve
60 ml ( 1/ cup) mild extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
150 ml dry white wine
1 tbsp coarsely chopped oregano
Large pinch of saffron threads soaked in 1 tbsp hot water
1 For saffron soffritto, heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent (8-10 minutes). Add garlic and stir to combine, then deglaze the pan with wine, scraping the base of the pan. Add oregano and saffron and its water, season to taste, bring to a simmer, then simmer until reduced by half
2 Meanwhile, par-cook burghul in a large saucepan of boiling water (4-5 minutes). Drain well and toss with olive oil. Add the saffron soffritto and toss again.
3 Preheat oven to 200C. Place 4 large pieces of baking paper (about 40cm long) on a work surface. Top each with another large piece of baking paper offset at an angle. Divide burghul mixture among the sheets. Top with seafood, then gather all the corners of the paper to the centre and tie securely with kitchen string.
4 Bake parcels until calamari is just cooked, clams have opened and burghul is heated through (20-22 minutes; unwrap a parcel to check). Serve with wedges of lemon.
Wine suggestion Crisp young Hunter sémillon.
Baby potatoes with butter, mint and pancetta
A mix of baby potatoes adds variety here, but using all chats, for instance, works just as well – the beauty of this side is in the flavour from the pancetta and herbs, and the way the potatoes caramelise in the butter. A generous sprinkling of pecorino makes the perfect finish.
Prep time 15 mins, cook 1 hr
Serves 4 (pictured p119)
80 gm mild pancetta, cut into lardons
800 gm mixed baby potatoes such as purple congo, pink fir apple and baby Nicola, larger ones halved
¼ cup mixed finely chopped mint and flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp dried mint
60 gm cultured butter, diced
Finely grated pecorino pepato, to serve
1 Preheat oven to 190C. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat, add pancetta and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden and starting to crisp (2-4 minutes). Transfer to a bowl, and add potatoes, fresh and dried herbs, butter and a good grind of black pepper.
2 Place 2 large pieces of baking paper (about 40cm long) on a work surface and top each with another large piece offset at an angle. Divide potatoes between the paper, wrap and roast until tender and starting to caramelise (1 hour). Sprinkle with plenty of pecorino and serve hot.
Lamb shanks with olives and red wine
The flavour of the red wine and olives in these parcels becomes concentrated as they cook, seasoning the fall-off-the-bone lamb. We’ve served it with a simple fennel and celeriac salad; try it with boiled orzo tossed with a little olive oil and salt. When it comes to wrapping the parcels, leaving the bone exposed is an impressive way to present the shanks – stand them upright in a bowl to wrap them and secure the parcels around the bone.
Prep time 25 mins, cook 3 hrs
Serves 4 (pictured p118)
4 French-trimmed lamb shanks
(about 250gm each)
300 gm tomato polpa (see note)
100 ml dry red wine
80 gm small unpitted Kalamata olives in brine, plus 1 tsp olive brine
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 rosemary sprigs, torn
1 oregano sprig, torn, plus extra to serve
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dry-roasted fennel seeds
Fennel and celeriac salad
60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
3 tsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 baby fennel bulb, shaved on a mandolin ½ celeriac (about 300gm), cut into julienne 2 golden shallots, thinly sliced
1 Preheat oven to 160C. Place 4 large pieces of baking paper (about 40cm long) on a work surface and top each with another piece at an angle. Divide lamb shanks among sheets and pull up sides of paper to prevent liquid escaping. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and spoon onto each shank, then season to taste.
Fold paper up around the shanks and secure with kitchen string. Place parcels in a baking dish and bake until lamb falls from the bone (2¾-3 hours; unwrap a parcel to check).
2 For fennel and celeriac salad, whisk olive oil, vinegar and mustard in a bowl. Season to taste, then add fennel, celeriac and shallot and toss to combine. Unwrap lamb parcels, top with extra oregano and serve with fennel and celeriac salad. Note Tomato polpa, finely chopped tomatoes canned in their juice, is available from select supermarkets and delicatessens. If it’s unavailable, substitute canned crushed tomatoes.
Wine suggestion A robust Greek red such as an agiorgitiko.>