one man's ceiling
Thursday, March 22, 2007
  all-my-by-my-self fish-in-a-parchment

i came at this from a couple different directions. first, my girls like fish a lot more than i do and i was feeling like i owed them some. second, i found a recipe for pan-seared tuna that looked excellent for me and zuska but i wasn't so sure about for the girls; also, the recipe included udon noodles, which i'm currently off until easter. third, recently recipes have been showing up everywhere in my consciousness showing things cooked in parchment pouches.

so, putting all this together we get the meal i made last night. i winged the whole dang thing and it would up very edible (or eatable, as gets said in our house). and a word about the name: the girls used to say "all-my-by-my-self" when they were younger to indicate when they did something they were proud of on their own. hence

all-my-by-my-self fish-in-a-parchment preheat the oven to 400 degrees
pour the frozen edamame in a bowl of hot water and let sit
in another small bowl mix the butter and mint
salt one side of the fish and flip it
on the unsalted side spread the mint butter on the fish then set in the refrigerator to chill a bit while you get the rest of the things ready
in the center of each parchment divide the zucchini equally into six servings
drain the edamame and divide into six serving into the parchment on top of the zucchini
season the veggies with salt and pepper, about a teaspoon divided across all the servings
remove the fish from the fridge and cut into six equal sized pieces; alternately, you could chop into 2 inch sized chunks like stew meat
place equal amounts of the fish atop the veggies in the parchment, mint butter side up
pour equal amounts of lemon juice over each of the servings, about 2 or 3 teaspoons for each
draw up the corners of the parchment and twist; tie the parchment pouch closed with string
lightly oil a shallow baking dish and place the parchment pouches in the dish; be sure they have room around each and are not touching
pour in enough water to line the bottom of the pan and place the pan in the lowest rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes
serve at the table in it's pouch to be cut at the table or carefully slide the contents onto a plate

timing can be tricky. the swordfish steaks i got were nearly an inch thick but the tuna i was contemplating was thinner and would have taken slightly less time. about 20 minutes in you will need to open a pouch and test the fish for flakiness. is you need to cook a bit longer you can close the test pouch up and cook without affecting the outcome. if you need to test more than once use a different pouch the second time.

cooking in parchment steams the fish with the lemon juice and vegetable moisture and keeps the smell and flavors contained. the mint butter adds a subtle flavor to the fish and then falls nicely onto the veggies for a nice seasoning as well.

because i made six pouches but suspected we wouldn't eat more than four i froze the two remaining pouches in a freezer storage bag for future consumption. i'm hoping it goes well down the line when we need a quick something to eat and don't have a lot of prep time. i'll report back if there were problems.

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So I tried to make a similar dish, and I realized that I couldn't stand the mint with the fish. I was using mint from my garden, but it was just regular old mint so I don't think it was a significant flavor difference. I also made it with salmon. But still..

Anyway, I was just hoping you'd talk about how the mint-ness worked ultimately, and if you'd do it again. Maybe I need to give it another shot.
sorry it didn't work for you. i used fresh mint although the recipe i was building from originally called for dried.

perhaps it was the salmon. originally iwas looking at tuna steaks but the swordfish was (a) right next to the tuna and looked better and (b) cost less (strangely).

if you do go back and give this another shot i'd try a fish with a milder flavor. if it were availabele i might have tried cod that night and was seriously wondering about tilapia because i know it works well at our place (and i'm already salavating over fish tacos by just writing tilapia! great with sour cream/lime/cilantro dressing!!)

to answer the question, yes, i'd do it again. i'd probably enjoy it more since the first time with a new recipe always leaves me feeling anxious that others will hate it, which has a tendency to spoil appetites.
I can believe, to me, is not the obvious choice here. One of my everyday standard dinners around here is fish (often salmon) wrapped in foil rather than parchment (it's easier) and done with a pat of butter, squeeze of lemon, herbs from the garden (thyme, rosemary, chives all work well) and some chopped veg (zucchini, carrots, shallots, sweet peppers all have been used in various combos). Oh, and white wine is good in there too. And, ground white pepper... a blob of pesto can be good too... sorry, I always do this, don't I? I overthink my own cooking plenty.

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