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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Fish en Papillote

Steamed Fish en Papillote

I was asked to create a low fat menu for a friend celebrating a big “0” birthday, but who did not want a heavy menu.  At first, she was reluctant to celebrate at all until we convinced her that it IS possible to have a lovely meal and not break the calorie bank, and goodness knows, even the top models drink Champagne, so why not just a little glass?!

Party on!  I decided to do an Asian themed fish “en papillote” which is simply a nice mixture of fish steam-cooked with aromatics in a paper bag, broken open at the table to a burst of steam and, if I get it right, a polite round of applause for the chef.  (“Thank you, thank you, sure it was no trouble at all!”)

If you have never tried this method before, then watch this video which explains it all.  It is important to make sure you have a good seal to keep in all the juices.  If you are not confidant that you have, then a good tip is to encase your paper bag in tinfoil too, to be sure, to be sure.  But tinfoil alone would be too fragile, and those precious juices might leak out, in case you are thinking you spotted a short cut!

I picked lemongrass, ginger and lime to be my flavourings, but there are lots of choices.  Sliced courgettes, fennel and dill would be lovely too, or tomatoes red pepper and basil would also work.  I was asked to avoid coriander, or I would have added some too.  And don’t forget a sprinkle of salt, preferably sea salt and ground black pepper.

On a trial run, I added a tablespoon of water, but it was not needed, so I left it out and it was all the better for it.

Here it what it looked like going in to the oven.  This is the trial run, I did not chop the lemongrass the second time and added it bashed, but whole for easier removal.  I also added a whole uncooked prawn for the dinner party.   I used monkfish, salmon and sea bass with a prawn on top, but I can imagine this working well for almost any type of fish.   

 I cooked the fish for 15 minutes at 180c when there were only two in the oven, but increased the cooking time to  20 mins at 180c when I was cooking 8 portions.  I served it with rice and steamed pac choi with shallots and garlic.  

1 comment:

  1. Is a great dish and shows the fish at its best, lots of praise for little effort too ;-)