Mildly spicy curried scallops wrapped in phyllo are an elegant first course or light main course. A small amount of ground walnuts, breadcrumbs and mustard are added between the buttered layers for more flavor and texture. They are best sold ready to be cooked at home. A suggested garnish is three blanched sugar snap peas fanned with half a cherry tomato at the center for each strudel.

Although thick leaves can be used (in which case use only two layers instead of three), thinner leaves make the finished rolls more refined and delicate. Pre-cut pastry leaves are the same size as conventional sheets but are cut in half and wrapped in two sealed packages. This works well because speed is important so the leaves don’t dry out, and having two packages keeps them fresher longer.

Yield: 4 strudels
Preparation time:
40 minutes plus 25–30 minutes baking time
Shelf life: 2 days (best baked at home)

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 3 ounces clam juice
  • ¾ pound bay scallops
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ tablespoon grated ginger root
  • 2 t o 3 teaspoons hot or mild curry paste
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch red pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup drained fruit from chutney, finely chopped
  • ¹⁄3 cup thinly sliced scallions, including green parts
  • ¼ cup drained, thinly sliced canned water chestnuts

For the strudel:

  • ¼ cup freshly toasted breadcrumbs
  • 1½ tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 12 half-sheets (or 6 full sheets,halved), defrosted in the refrigerator overnight if frozen
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted paprika, to garnish

Method

  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Lightly butter a jellyroll pan.
  2. Prepare the filling: In a medium-small saucepan, add the claim juice and scallops, and bring to a simmer. Poach until barely cooked, about 2 minutes; drain, reserving the broth.
  3. Dry the pan. Over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the flour and cook until lightly colored, stirring with a wooden spoon. Whisk in the reserved clam broth, ginger, curry paste, salt, black pepper, red pepper, garlic and lemon juice. The mixture should be thick. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the chutney, scallions, water chestnuts and reserved scallops to the curry mixture.
  4. Assemble the strudels: In a food processor, combine the breadcrumbs, walnuts, mustard and salt and pulse a few times to distribute evenly, or stir together in a bowl.
  5. Lay 1 half-sheet of phyllo with the 8-inch edge near you on a towel-lined work surface, covering the remaining phyllo with a dry towel. Brush the sheet lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with a generous ½ tablespoon of crumb mixture. Repeat with a second phyllo sheet layered on top of the first, buttering and sprinkling with the crumb mixture. Add a third layer and brush only around the edges with melted butter.
  6. Spoon about ½ cup of the filling along the lower edge of the strudel, leaving about a 1-inch border on either side. Fold over the phyllo edge near you and roll on to the filling to form a tube shape. Continue to roll until about half of the dough is rolled, turn in the
    side edges to form neat packets, and finish rolling. Transfer the strudel to the pan, placing it seam-side down. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with paprika. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the remaining dough and filling.
  7. Bake strudels in the upper third of the oven until golden brown, about 14 minutes. Serve immediately or store in cooled oven for up to 45 minutes.

Nutritional Data (per serving):
Calories: 400; Cholesterol: 75mg; Sodium:
1,090 mg; Fat: 18 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g