Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fish en papillote with stewed tomatoes

Opening these packages is a beautiful surprise: the sweet white fish, the bold red and yellow of the vegetables, and a steamy, comforting aroma. We had fallen into a habit of poaching fish -- it's simple, quick, and lends itself to many variations -- but, this night, we were looking for something different. Fish en papillote is nearly as simple, although sealing the parchment paper can be an exercise in frustration.

The stewed cherry tomatoes served on the side are our new favorite way of dealing with tomatoes-that-don't-taste-like-tomatoes (that is, the tomatoes available 11 months of the year). Heating these up with just a touch of olive oil makes them plump and juicy and full of flavor.

Fish en papillote (for two)

What you need:
  • 2 white fish fillets (halibut, John Dory, tilapia, ...)
  • a selection of vegetables cut into long, thin strips (carrots, zucchini, leeks, string beans, fennel, bell pepper, ...)
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh herbs (optional) (dill, parsley, tarragon, ...)
  • parchment paper
What you do:
  • Preheat the oven to 375 (Mark 5) and cut two large squares of parchment paper.
  • Place half of the vegetables in the middle of each square of parchment paper. Place the fish over the vegetables, and sprinkle with 1 tsp olive oil (per package), fresh herbs and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Fold the paper as if you were wrapping a gift, and be sure to seal the ends as well as possible.
  • Place packages on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. If your fillets are thick, the packages will need up to 15 minutes.

Stewed cherry tomatoes

Simply heat some olive oil in a nonstick pot or pan, and add cherry tomatoes (and sliced red onion if desired). Cook over medium-high low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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