Monday, September 23, 2013

Technique 101: en Papillote

The usual style of cooking here at MiddleBar places ingredients forward, rather than preparation.  I usually don't get too technical as far as recipes go, but occasionally it's nice to incorporate something that requires a bit more technique. One of the tastiest and easiest technically driven recipes is fish en Papillote (in parchment).
En Papillote is a french technique where foods are poached in their own juices or stock inside a folded parchment paper pouch.  When baked, it steams the food, leaving a rich, luscious texture, never dry.  It is a brilliant way to cook fish and vegetables, and recipes can be found throughout the world that incorporate this technique.

In honor of Mrs. Julia Child, who had a birthday not too long ago.  This recipe is dedicated to her, as she would've been a huge fan of this quintessentially french dish.
For each serving:
8 ounces boneless fish fillet, such as snapper, salmon or cod
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 large sprig fresh thyme
2 Ceregnola or other large green olives with pits
Extra-large egg

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the fish fillet on a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it with the salt and pepper. Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil over the top of the fillet. Lay the thyme on top and place the olives next to the fillet.

Beat the egg together with 1 tablespoon of water for an egg wash. Brush the egg wash around the edge of the parchment paper and fold it in half. Carefully fold the edge of the parchment paper under and around the fish to make a package. Place the package on a sheet pan and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Serve hot in the parchment paper.

Pairs nicely with a roasted potato and a little sauteed spinach.  Or, try a rice pilaf with roasted broccolini. Pretty much good no matter what.

Bon appetit, y'all!