Yes, it’s a dish created to breathe new life to cooked fish that would have languished in the fridge. Leftover fish rarely looks appetizing when reheated but add color in the form of vegetables, bind with eggs and combine with umami-rich shiitake and you’ve got yourself a winner.
What kind of fish can be used for making torta? Any. I combined leftover milkfish with leftover swordfish. What vegetables can go with the fish? Any. I always aim for a good combination of colors and textures. Hence, carrot, corn and peas.
And the mushroom… does it have to be shiitake? No. Button mushrooms will be good too. Or shimeji. But I don’t recommend oyster mushrooms or enoki because they are too delicate. They will get overcooked and end up undiscernible once the torta is done.
To cook fish and mushroom torta, start by sauteeing the vegetables and mushrooms with salt and pepper. You want the mushrooms and carrot pieces to soak up some of the salt and, at the same time, absorb the flavors of the onion and garlic. When the carrot pieces are tender, stir in the corn and peas to heat them through.
Dump the sauteed vegetables and mushrooms into a mixing bowl, add the flaked fish and stir to combine. Crack eggs directly over the mixture and give everything a quick mix just to moisten the solid ingredients.
There are two ways to cook fish torta (or any torta, for that matter). One is to flip the half-cooked torta in the pan to brown the top side. A second way is to broil the half-baked torta in the oven so that no flipping is necessary. I cooked my fish and mushroom torta in a frying pan using an egg ring.
I heated oil in a small frying pan, positioned the egg ring at the center and poured in half a cup of the fish and vegetable mixture. After two minutes, I removed the ring to allow the hot oil to lick the sides of the torta. Once firm, I just flipped it over to brown the top side.
You don’t have to use an egg ring. I did because I wanted my recycled leftover dish to look as appetizing as possible. I have learned long ago that by combining tantalizing aroma, beautiful flavors and good looks, more leftovers are a remote possibility.
Fish and mushroom torta
- cooking oil
- 1 small onion - peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic - peeled and chopped
- 1 medium carrot - peeled and chopped
- 3 to 4 shiitake - chopped
- ¼ cup corn kernels - canned is fine
- ¼ cup sweet peas - thawed if frozen
- 1 cup flaked cooked fish
- 2 large eggs
- Heat two tablespoons of cooking oil in a frying pan.
- Saute the onion, garlic, carrot and shiitake with a half a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper.
- Add the corn and peas. Sprinkle in another teaspoon of salt and quarter teaspoon of pepper. Cook, stirring, until heated through.
- Transfer the sauteed vegetables and mushrooms into a mixing bowl, add the flaked fish and stir to blend.
- Crack the eggs into the bowl and stir a few times to moisten the fish, mushrooms and vegetables.
- In a small frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least a quarter inch.
- Arrange the egg ring at the center of the pan.
- Fill the egg ring with the fish, mushroom, vegetable and egg mixture.
- Cook the torta for about two minutes before carefully removing the egg ring. Cook for half a minute to allow the oil the touch the sides of the torta.
- Using a spatula, carefully flip the torta over and cook the top side for another minute or so.
- Repeat until all the fish, mushroom, vegetable and egg mixture has been used up.