Packets: Poisson & Pescado

Fish packets are underrated. They are easy. They are quick. The fish is happy. Or, the fish tastes happy…it is tender and delicate, just exactly as it should be. For some reason, we don’t cook fish in packets often. At least, I didn’t. Now I do. It’s a tasty present, seasoned exactly as I like it and completely customizable. This is a present worth sharing!

I took my first stab at fish packets a few weeks ago for Jose’s welcome home dinner. I got the recipe from Tasting Table, it was titled Sole en Papillote. Anyway, Jose was ridiculously jet-lagged, coming off of 48 hours of travel time from Kampala to SF. Honestly, I should have known better. By the time we got home from the airport it was almost 10pm and he’d been awake for two days. I’m sure he wanted to fall asleep immediately, and here I was, pushing a fish packet and couscous like it was a pillow and a Tylenol PM. Granted, the former taste sooo much better. Anyway, he managed to stay awake long enough to finish our dinner and I felt quite accomplished. Fish packets and I were in cahoots. I could tell this was the start of a delicious relationship.

It wasn’t but the next weekend when fish packets and I were reacquainted. We’d rented a house in Tahoe with a group of friends. Cliff and Noella had traveled all the way from Salt Lake City. On our first night they prepared Cliff’s specialty…you guessed it. Fish packets. Not just any, but Asian Fish in a Packet from Moosewood Cookbook. I was so inspired that last weekend I prepared an extemporaneous Mexican version for our friends, Molly and John. The recipe was based on of an email Cliff sent me with Moosewood’s ingredients for Caribbean Fish in a Packet, because anything remotely tropical pairs nicely with our corner store staples: chips, salsa, tortillas, black beans, and avocados. Fish tacos, packet style. Por que no?

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for! Recipes. Two of them.

The Sole en Papillote is understated and simple. I loved it with the couscous. I sautéed a diced shallot in olive oil, added the couscous and water and let it sit for 5 minutes, then threw in some pitted and halved kalamata olives, toasted, slivered almonds, chopped parsley, lemon juice and crumbled feta. Done!

Sole en Papillote

Serves 2

I N G R E D I E N T S
• 6 thin lemon slices, seeds removed
• 4 fillets of sole (about 1 pound), cut in half crosswise
• 2 teaspoons capers, drained
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• ½ teaspoon salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• ¼ cup chopped parsley, for garnish

D I R E C T I O N S
1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Cut two 20-by-12-inch pieces of
parchment. Layer the pieces and fold in half crosswise. Trim into
a large heart shape. Separate the layers, refold in half along the
crease and place them on a large baking sheet, creased sides
facing in.
2. Open the parchment pieces and place two lemon slices flat along
the inside crease of both. Divide the fish evenly between the
parchment pieces; layer the fillets and place them on top of the
lemon slices. Scatter 1 teaspoon of capers over each stack of
fillets. Dot with the butter and season with salt and pepper; top
each stack with the remaining lemon slices (one for each stack).
3. Fold the parchment over the stacks. Starting at the top, seal the
packets by making small, tight folds all along the open edge of
the parchment, twisting the parchment at the bottom to secure
tightly.
4. Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook until the parchment
is puffed up and the juices inside are bubbling, about 15 minutes.
Transfer to a serving plate and carefully cut open the packets.
Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Now for the Packets de Pescado. I served them with soft taco fixings and it worked out muy bien. I think this recipe could be simplified by subbing fresh salsa with the bell pepper marinade. These are fun and different and sabroso to the max.

Tropical Fish…Packets

Serves 4

I N G R E D I E N T S
• 4 fillets of red snapper (about 1 pound)
• 2 bell peppers, diced (I like using different colored peppers, aesthetically appetizing)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
• 3 scallions, thinly sliced
• Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
• 3 ripe tomatoes, sliced
• Juice from 1 lime
• Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt, to taste

D I R E C T I O N S
1. Combine bell peppers, jalapeno, scallions, cilantro,
olive oil, lime juice, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 425°.
Cut four 20-by-12-inch pieces of parchment. Layer the pieces
and fold in half crosswise. Trim into a large heart shape. Separate
the layers, refold in half along the crease and place them on a
large baking sheet, creased sides facing in.
3. Open the parchment pieces and place three tomato slices flat along
the inside crease of both. Divide the fish evenly between the
parchment pieces; layer the fillets and place them on top of the
tomato slices. Scatter the pepper mixture over the top of each fillet and
spoon a bit (not too much) of juice over the top.
4. Fold the parchment over the stacks. Starting at the top, seal the
packets by making small, tight folds all along the open edge of
the parchment, twisting the parchment at the bottom to secure
tightly.
5. Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook until the parchment
is puffed up and the juices inside are bubbling, about 15 minutes.
Transfer to a serving plate and carefully cut open the packets.
Garnish with remaining pepper mixture and serve immediately with taco fixings.

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5 thoughts on “Packets: Poisson & Pescado

  1. Praise the packet! We’ll give these recipes a try. Freshness in a present in the cold, cold, cold. XOXOXOX and a big packet of love to you

  2. Fish is very popular in Japan. 素敵なレシピをいただき、ありがとうございます。

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