Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fish Fillets en Papillote




Daring Cooks July Challenge: en Papillote

Our July 2012 Daring Cooks’ host was Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie! Sarah challenges us to learn a new cooking technique called “Cooking En Papillote” which is French and translates to “cooking in parchment”.

I've been aware of this technique for ages, but wrote it off as too fussy and more than a little intimidating. Why mess with wrapping with paper? won't the fish get mushy? and on and on the excuses went as I talked myself out of any attempt to cook en papillote. Bad move, cuz this technique rocks! Note to self: be more adventurous more often!


Most of my prep time went into selecting ingredients, skimming some recipes for ideas and mentally tasting the different flavor combinations. Choices, too many choices, and I wanted to try them all. I settled on two contrasting combinations. Mediterranean: fennel, kalamata olives, tiny tomatoes, garlic, capers and a pinch of lemon zest. Asian/fusion: lemon, ginger, sesame, scallions, sesame oil, mirin and sweet Thai chili sauce. Following that I sped on to skin the steelhead fillets and chop a few vegetables - sped on? well, that took mere minutes. Next I cut four parchment rectangles and was ready to roll, fold and tuck.


Cookbook recommendations for oven temperature ranged from 350 to 450 F, too wide a range for comfort, and cooking times ranged accordingly. Playing it safe, I settled on an already-proven 15 minutes per inch of thickness at 425 F. It worked beautifully with our 1-inch thick steelhead fillets, though I did open one packet to check for doneness after 12 minutes. 


RL practically swooned after his first taste of the Mediterranean packet, consuming it all before he even tried the other preparation. I opened both of my packets at the same time, savoring the aromas, tasting a bite from one then a bite from the other, back and forth. My favorite was the blend of Asian ingredients; the sauce alone was tasty enough to eat with a spoon, maybe toss in some rice to soak up the last drop. I'll make both of these variations again and again... the Capt. would love fish en papillote weekly. 





Mediterranean Steelhead Fillet en Papillote





1 steelhead fillet, skinned & deboned, blotted dry
set atop ¼ cup julienned fennel
topped with
            light sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper
            ¼  tsp capers or green peppercorns
            ¼ tsp minced garlic
            pinch of mixed Italian spices
            6 grape tomatoes, halved
            6 kalamata olives, halved
            spray of fennel fronds
            ¼ tsp grated lemon zest
            drizzle of olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 F.
Layer ingredients in order listed on 10x12-inch piece of parchment paper.
Double-fold the long edge to seal; double-fold  the ends and tuck under.
Place on baking sheet.
Repeat with other fillets. Refrigerate until ready to bake.
Place baking sheet on middle oven rack and bake approximately 15 minutes, depending upon thickness of the fish. At this temperature my oven takes 12-15 minutes per inch of thickness.
Open one parcel a few minutes early to check for doneness; the fish should flake easily.
Serve parcels immediately, still wrapped so each diner can enjoy the fragrant, steamy flavors as they open their individual serving.


Asian Steelhead Fillet en Papillote




1 steelhead fillet, skinned & deboned, blotted dry
set atop 2 or 3 rings of lemon
topped with
            light sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper
            ¼ tsp toasted sesame seeds
            ¼ tsp grated lemon zest
            1 green onion, white & green parts, minced & julienned
            drizzle of sesame oil
            drizzle of mirin
            1 TBS sweet chili sauce


Preheat oven to 425 F.
Layer ingredients in order listed on 10x12-inch piece of parchment paper.
Double-fold the long edge to seal; double-fold  the ends and tuck under.
Place on baking sheet.
Repeat with other fillets. Refrigerate until ready to bake.
Place baking sheet on middle oven rack and bake approximately 15 minutes, depending upon thickness of the fish. At this temperature my oven takes 12-15 minutes per inch of thickness.
Open one parcel to check for doneness; the fish should flake easily.
Serve parcels immediately, still wrapped so each diner can enjoy the fragrant steamy flavors as they open their individual serving.

1 comment:

  1. My mouth was watering reading that. Can't wait for you to get home so I can taste this. I knew I should have figured out a way to get up to the boat this summer. Laci

    ReplyDelete

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