There’s no doubt about it, we completely bypassed spring in South FL as summer arrived with brutal temperatures hitting a heat index of 100+F, coupled with the customary humidity, all you want to do is stay indoors our of the heat.
Keeping up with the midweek slump, it’s time to try some light fare with virtuous and effortless recipes that are so packed with flavor, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of them sooner. Such is this one. White flaky, delicate fish marinates for a short 30 minutes to absorb the flavors superbly well. You’ll find that it’s packed with umami and the perfect dish for busy, lazy weeknights when time constraints and the summer heat is very tangible. This rendition makes for an unctuous and succulent piece of fish dish that’s as swoon worthy as it’s healthy. Ensure the fish is very fresh and not frozen.
1 TSP white miso paste
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TSP sesame oil
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TSP lemongrass paste – Gourmet Garden
1 TSP ginger paste – Gourmet Garden
1 TSP fresh chopped Thai basil – or regular basil
1 TSP clover honey
1½ TBSP Mirin cooking wine
1½ LBS of white flaky fish – halibut, black cod, rock fish or tilapia
½ LB of fresh shitake mushrooms – sliced roughly
1 PKG of snow peas, chopped Bok Choy or fresh spinach
½ cup of chopped scallions
Thin lemon slices (optional)
1 TBSP black or white toasted sesame seeds – garnish (optional)
PREHEAT OVEN TO 400F – (If you have a counter oven use that instead of the big one)
Whisk the ingredients together to make the marinade. Cut the fish filets to 4 portions and marinade them for 30 minutes in the fridge. Take them put and allow them to sit out for about half an hour to remove some of the chill from the fridge.
Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper approximately 14”x 14” and place the shiitakes, snow peas and scallions down first and spoon a bit of the fish marinade on top. Add a piece of cod on top of the veggies and ladle 2 TBSP of the marinade over the fish. Place some slices of lemon next to the fish and grab the top of the paper, roll downwards and close the sides tucking the paper under or tie the ends with some kitchen twine, ensuring the packages are closed tightly so juices don’t escape, but not too tightly. Place the packages on an oven tray and bake for 12-14 minutes until the fish is no longer transparent and flakes easily with a fork. Remove the contents carefully from the packages and serve over fragrant, tender jasmine rice or serve the package as is.
En papillote is a standard, classical French cooking technique of steaming fish in parchment paper and since anything retro is making a big splash in the food arena, it’s a fool proof way of cooking delicate fish. The flavors have to prevail because you are steaming, hence whatever condiments used need to infuse into the dish, to prevent a bland rendition.
The take here is Asian, but any manner of flavor groupings works. Black cod is a very buttery, melt-in-your-mouth fish and excellent for this preparation.
Invest in Breville Smart Oven, once it’s sitting on your kitchen countertop, you’ll kick yourself for not acquiring this small appliance sooner. I’m a professional chef and I’ve no idea how I survived without it prior to getting it. Not only does it work better than regular wall or stove ovens, it’s a cinch to clean and it’s the perfect solution to keep your kitchen heat-free during hot summer months. I guarantee you’ll use this appliance year round
Gourmet Garden has a variety of condiments such as fresh basil, ginger and lemongrass pastes that come in a tube and are sold in the produce section of most supermarkets.