Sfingi and Swai

Actually it was swai first then the sfingi at poker last night.  Honestly I never heard of either of them as I walked into Cafe Europa but I was glad I got to. Come to find out swai is river catfish from Asia. I’m told that it’s becoming very popular and beginning to replace tilapia as the featured fish on several menus. So when Carolyn recommended it, I figured it was an adventure to try something new and either way I would have something to write about.

Swai Franchaise Cafe EuropaIt was one of my better gambles of the night as the Swai Franchaise was excellent.  The light breading protected the delicate moist flesh of the fish while absorbing the garlic the fish was pan-fried with.  I have had tilapia and catfish but this reminded me more of flounder with flaky white flesh.  The generous portion was paired with tomato risotto, broccoli and asparagus.  The risotto was creamy with a mild tomato taste.  The broccoli and asparagus were steamed a little too much but just a little leaving them still flavourful.  I thought the dish was well conceived and nicely presented as you can see in the photo. I would recommend this as a great way to try this new (at least to me) fish.

The entree was preceeded by a house salad with basalmic vinaigrette. The salad had romaine lettuce, red onions, back olives, cucumbers and tomatoes. Pretty standard with nice fresh veggies and the solid house dressing.

Garlic knots Cafe EuropaAs the poker tournament played out over the evening, the players started to pick up a wonderful garlic smell coming out of the kitchen.  Garlic smell coming out of Italian restaurant kitchen is not unusual but this was different, it seemed sweeter and more garlicky than normal.  It was even making the Italian folks hungry.  Come to find out that Phil was making some garlic knotsfor the bar crowd. Although these are very simple to make; infuse the pizza dough with some garlic, roll out dough, tie the knots, bake in pizza oven and the brush with garlic infused butter. The hot-out-of-the-oven knots were delicious and nice surprise for those of us still in the bar.

Sfingi at Cafe EuropaThe second surprise of the night was the Sfingi.  I had never heard that term before but  come to find out these are basically Italian donuts.  Phil made these from the same pizza dough (without the garlic) and deep fried them for a few minutes and then coated them with granulated sugar while they were hot.  Somehow the granulated sugar almost fluffed up and appeared powdery on these dough fingers.  The hot dough and sweet sugar was a nice but unexpected treat.   Thanks Phil.

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8 Responses to “Sfingi and Swai”

  1. dragonlife Says:

    Dear Peter!
    Greetings from Shizuoka!
    You are adding a new twist to gastronomy with poker!
    Reminds me of Lord Sandwich! LOL
    Cheers,
    Robert-Gilles
    (http://shizuokagourmet.wordpress.com/)
    (In case WordPress takes you top my Fantasy Blog!)

    • peterjustason Says:

      Thanks for the reply Robert-Gilles. I know the Lord Sandwich story but isn’t there something about sushi being created so Japanese Lords could eat with one hand and play some sort of game with the other?

  2. dragonlife Says:

    Dear Peter!
    Greetings!
    Sorry for the delay!
    Unfortunately the Lord Sandwich story does not apply to sushi!LOL
    Sushi was first created to provide fish to people living away from the sea.
    It was called “Narezushi” and the fish was fermented in rice first before being wrapped around large balls of freshly-steamed rice!
    Cheers,
    Robert-Gilles

    • peterjustason Says:

      I thought I remember Alton Brown on a show about sandwiches saying Japanese had invented sushi for similiar reasons but your story make more practical sense. Have you bloged about sushi on Dragonlife?

  3. dragonlife Says:

    Dear Peter!
    Greetings again!
    I think that Alton Brown is confusing sushi in general with nigiri/rice balls which could be considered as “Japanese Sandwiches” as they often contain something in their middle. No worries!
    I do have a separate blog for sushi only at:
    http://shizuokasushi.wordpress.com/
    Cheers,
    Robert-Gilles

    • peterjustason Says:

      Thanks for clearing that up.  I will be visiting your blog.  Have recommended any places in the US or Canada for sushi?

  4. dragonlife Says:

    Cheers, Peter!
    Havn’t been to Canada or the States, except Anchorage Airport a long, long time ago!
    If you have any sushi places to recommend, I will link my blog to them !
    Cheers,
    Robert-Gilles

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