Fish in Parchment — A Healthy Technique
This fancy French culinary term translates to “in parchment” and sounds complicated and fussy, but is really easy, super-fast, healthy and oh so very tasty!
When the fish, vegetables, herbs and seasonings get sealed together in a parchment packet, it creates this aromatic moist heat, cooking the ingredients in their own juices. It doesn’t need a lot of fat, so I love to use a flavored olive oil to ramp up the taste, and a little pat of butter to create that creamy mouth feel.
This recipe epitomizes the Mediterranean lifestyle with its emphasis on whitefish and flavors of basil, capers, lemon and garlic. Served along with a nice leafy green salad or steamed green vegetables it is filling but light, healthy but delicious, pretty, but easy.
The focus of this recipe, like many in the Mediterranean lifestyle, is on clean, fresh, ingredients. The cooking method results in appetizing aromas and a healthy dinner, done in just 20 minutes – who doesn’t need more meals like that? It’s a great weeknight meal but pretty enough to serve to company.
This recipe and this approach to cooking fish have changed the minds of many who say they don’t like fish. So, even for those of you who aren’t sure about steaming fish, BE BRAVE and try this, it just might change your mind.
Grouper en Pappiotte Recipe
4 fillets of grouper (you can use cod or any other flaky white fish if you prefer)
2 tablespoons Basil EVOO **
3-4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
1/8th teaspoon Chili and Black Pepper Seasoning **
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons capers, drained
½ cup sliced olives
Salt and pepper to taste
8 teaspoon dry white wine (or chicken stock)
8 fresh sprigs of thyme
4 teaspoons unsalted butter
Fresh basil microgreens to garnish
Heat oven to 450 F
Fold four 15 inch square pieces of parchment in half. Starting at fold of each piece, draw a half a large heart shape. Cut along the lines and open.
Place a fish fillet next to the crease on each parchment piece. Season with salt and pepper
In a skillet warm the oil, sauté sliced garlic and chili and black pepper seasoning until garlic turns golden (I minute).
Remove from heat and add tomatoes, olives, and capers. Divide the tomato mixture over the 4 fillets of fish
Top each piece of fish with 2 teaspoons of white wine or stock, 2 sprigs of thyme and a teaspoon of butter.
Fold the other half of the parchment over the fish. Starting at the top of the heart, make small tight, overlapping folds along the outside edge to seal the packet.
Place packets on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes
Remove, transfer packets to plates, open and serve with a lemon wedge and toasted ciabatta bread to dip.
** I particularly love using Oil & Vinegar’s Basil EVOO and Chili & Black Pepper Seasoning — the fused flavored Basil oil has a distinct, fresh and delicious flavor that is key to this recipe. The Chili and Black Pepper seasoning lend a nice touch of heat from a combination of black pepper and chili. You can substitute this with the equivalent amount of course ground pepper and chili flakes but add some additional garlic to the recipe.