Thursday, September 15, 2011

High glam in the midweek

So, how do we elevate the everyday routine and still get everything done? The ever-essential midweek meal.  This week, I brought back a recipe for fish cooked in parchment; an oldie but goodie adapted from the quick meal master herself, Rachel Ray.  (Zip it Bourdain)

My senior year of college I was religiously-occasionally dieting.  One week I decided to eat nothing but steamed fish and vegetables.  With little knowledge of cooking, and even less knowledge of fish I stocked my fridge and prepared to for an entirely new self.  This diet met a rather gross death after I prepared a piece of steamed catfish.

Fast forward a decade, I love adding steamed fish to my weekly menu, in fact a beautiful filet of fish fresh from a parchment paper packet is one of my favorite meals.   Similar to stuffing a chicken with aromatics and spices, cooking fish in parchment allows you to layer flavors that infuse your end product in a delicate and delicious manner. The entire process is quick, easy and elegant.

On a particularly overbooked weeknight I took to the kitchen a mere 15 minutes before my scheduled departure.  I chopped the few recipe requirements, layered them in paper and wrapped.  My packets then spent a few hours in the fridge as I tended to the post school activities.  Once the dance classes had been danced, and yoga namasted, I returned home and was a mere 30 minutes from this beautiful meal.  With an added side of brown rice, this was certainly a midweek winner.

Fish in Parchment:
Inspired by: Rachel Ray

1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
1 large onion chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 cup good quality olives (I used leftover almond stuffed green olives)
4 filets firm white fish (I used turbot... more on that below)
salt and pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Rip off 4 pieces of parchment paper, each a little over a foot long.
  3. Make layered stacks dividing the fennel, onions, garlic, olives, and fish among the parchment pieces, working in the center of each piece of paper.  Season the fish with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  
  4. Arrange the packets on the baking sheet and place in the center of the hot oven.  Bake the packets for 20 minutes.  Cut packet open and enjoy!  
Turbot proved to be a delicious substitution, however, after a bit of internet research it appears to have 5 times the fat content of cod or orange roughy.  Did we have a great midweek meal?  Absolutely.  Was it healthy?  Not so much.  In the future, I think we will stick with cod during the week and leave the buttery taste of turbot for the weekend dinner party.  

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