One of my favorite podcasts is Cast of Thrones. The hosts are even more obsessed with Game of Thrones than I am, and listening to their podcast gives me the chance to pore over the details of every GOT episode. A few weeks ago I sat down with the illustrious Jennifer Cheek, one of the co-hosts, to discuss my experience* cooking from the official Game of Thrones cookbook, A Feast of Ice and Fire. Since there was no new episode this week, the interview is taking the place of their regular podcast. You can hear the interview at their website, or download it directly from iTunes.
In honor of Cast of Thrones and any podcast listeners visiting FIG for the first time, I tried out a few more recipes from A Feast of Ice and Fire. I’ve chosen recipes that function well as sides or appetizers. They may seem familiar but each one has a little Westerosi twist.
And if you haven’t read or watched Game of Thrones (you don’t know what you’re missing) these dishes are tasty enough to stand on their own.
I love savory tarts, and when I read the ingredients for these I knew I’d found the right recipe for that tin of smoked trout that had been languishing in my cabinet for months. You see, I’d read about it on The Kitchn, not to mention eyeing it warily every time I did my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s.
The verdict? If tuna is the chicken of the sea, smoked trout is the bacon of the sea. (Or bacon of the river? Trout is a freshwater fish.) The trout is rich and smokey, a little salty, and has a pleasant, firm texture. It’s different from canned tuna in that instead of packing shredded fish into a can, the manufacturers have gently laid three tiny fillets inside the tin, preserving their textural integrity.
The filling for the tarts is a simple mixture of cream cheese, heavy cream, and smoked trout. You could easily add your own flavorings, like lemon, green onions, red pepper, etc. One thing about the recipe I did not do: in the cookbook each tart is baked with a single blackberry on top. I couldn’t get on board with the blackberry and fish combination, but if that sounds good to you, more power to you.
This was also my first time working with puff pastry. My tarts were a little doughy inside, so I need to do more research about puff pastry before trying these again.
Cooking for non-fish eaters? Smoked ham, bacon, or finely diced vegetables could fill in for the fish.
- One sheet of puff pastry or 12 mini-tart shells
- 4 ounces of smoked fish (such as trout)
- 8 ounces of cream cheese
- One ounce heavy cream, plus a few extra tablespoons for brushing
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Adapted from A Feast of Ice and Fire‘s recipe for Modern Fish Tarts
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- In a bowl, use a fork to break up the pieces of smoked fish. Mix in the cream cheese, cream, sage, salt, and pepper. Mix until evenly combined.
- If you’re using puff pastry, roll it out as thin as possible and cut into 3-inch circles.
- Scoop up a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture and drop it onto the puff pastry circle. Gently cup the edges of the dough around the filling.
- Brush the puff pastry dough with cream.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden.
I doubt there is an iteration of the corn fritter that I don’t love. In my part of the world, they’re called hushpuppies. But these sweetcorn fritters are more of a little corn pancake. Personally, I have some bones to pick with this recipe. The fritters turned out very dense and a little bland. Also, the photograph in the cookbook shows the fritters drizzled with some sort of sauce, but nowhere in the recipe or instructions do the writers give you any clue as to what this substance is. Well, I too decided the fritters needed a little bit of sauce, so I melted some red pepper jelly and spooned it over them. You could add a little hot sauce for kick. Or you could use cocktail sauce. Or even club sauce!
Since I wasn’t so pleased with the way these turned out, I’m going to link you to a recipe for cornmeal pancakes that I do love. It’s by Mark Bittman. (Big surprise, right?) You can add sautéed fresh corn kernels to the batter for something really special.
If it looks like a muffin, tastes like a muffin, and is baked in a muffin tin, then it’s probably a muffin. But since there are no muffins in the fictional realm of Westeros, these spiced apple muffins are dubbed applecakes. These little guys got rave reviews from everyone who tried them.
I’m posting the recipe here for your benefit, with my changes and adjustments. You could take your own favorite muffin recipe and add apples and cinnamon for a similar result, but I think the sour cream in these really gives you a tender crumb and moist texture.
- For the cake:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 medium size tart apples, such as Granny Smith; cored, peeled, and diced.
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- For the topping:
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
- 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds
- Adapted from A Feast of Ice And Fire‘s recipe for Modern Applecakes
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease the cups of a muffin pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a larger bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
- Gradually add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture, alternating with sour cream. Mix well after each addition.
- Stir in the apples.
- Scoop the butter into the muffin pan, filling each cup 2/3 full.
- To make the topping, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Using a fork or your hands, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the nuts.
- Sprinkle the topping over the batter-filled cups. Gently press the mixture into the batter.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Thanks for reading! And listening!