Friday, October 24, 2008

Fish in parchment paper

Tilapia. Yum.

Tilapia is a very mild fish that we see a lot of here in Florida. I was never much of a buyer of fish, so I have no idea if this is a popular fish in other parts of the world or not. I do know that Tilapia is on the menu at most of the seafood places in Florida. I love Tilapia, it is quite tasty and I've never found a bone in any filet that I've ever had and that's always good!

My husband is the cooker of fish in our household and this is one of his favorite ways to prepare it.

Here are the two tilapia filets already sitting on parchment paper squares (that will be big enough to fold around the fish) with a little olive oil drizzled on the paper. Tom has sliced up this pieces of garlic and layed them out on top of the fish.

I have already cut up celery, carrots and green onions into 2-3" pieces.

Then Tom put the cut up pieces on top of the fish, as well as adding in some dill and lemon juice. I wanted to put fresh lemon slices on the fish, but I totally forgot to buy lemons at the store. So a squirt of lemon juice was the substitution. Make sure you only have about a tablespoon of liquid per pouch because you want to steam the fish, not boil.

Doesn't it look pretty?

Then comes the folding of the parchment. Fold the parchment in half and starting at one corner, fold the two pieces in 1"sections all across the side of the fish. You can even staple the folded sides, if you'd like - although we never have. Make sure that you leave some air in the "bags", so don't fold too tightly. When you get to the end you should have a 2-3" tail of parchment, just tuck that under the fish. Alton Brown has a really great segment on how to cook fish in parchment paper - the show is called "The Pouch Principle." I found a transcript for that particular show on the Good Eats fan page - Here.

Transfer the pouches to a baking sheet. Then tuck the ends of the parchment under the fish. I forgot to do that before I took the picture.

Put the whole shebang into a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes for about 6 oz of tilapia. If you are unsure, as I certainly would be, cook for 12 minutes and then take out a pouch and see if the fish is flakey. If not, return to the oven for another minute or so.

The parchment will get toasty brown on the outside. Don't worry, this is normal and perfectly safe.

You can serve the fish pouches right on a plate, with the tops torn from the center out to make an impressive display. If you are serving this to guests, keep the pouches intact and allow your guest to open them. Just remind everyone that there is trapped steam inside, so don't get your face too close! You can also put the contents of the pouch on a plate with rice. This is how we eat them.

This last time we made the Fish in Parchment paper I couldn't remember how long to cook the fish. So what did I do? Googled it of course. One of the resources I found was this site - Gapers Block in an article titled Fish in Parchment Paper by Cinnamon Cooper. To read it, click here. She has obviously cooked fish this way many more times than I have and she has a few different recipes.

My husband loves bread - so I also serve the fish with a nice slice of Italian bread from the Fresh Market. I like to heat up the bread in a pan with a little butter or olive oil. In order to get the most surface area, I slice the bread in an exaggerated slant. This gives each slice of bread and interesting shape and more surface area to butter and brown. The bread looks kind of funny sitting there like that, though lol

I hope you try some fish in parchment paper in the near future. It is really quick and easy and real tasty. Depending on what you eat this with, it can be extremely low calorie and low fat, as well.

Have a fabulous day!


"J" said...

I would have NEVER thought about cooking fish or anything else in parchment paper?!?!?!

We eat's very yummy!!!

Thanks for the tips!!!!

gingela5 said...

I am not so much of a fish person--but that looks neat! If I WAS a fish person I'd try it!

Marg said...

I've done this before, with shrimp and proscuitto, lemon and good black olives on a kebab, too. Here's a good lemon hint. Minute Maid makes pure lemon juice, frozen in a plastic bottle, comes in a box, found in the frozen food section next to the OJ. Great when you are too lazy to squeeze or forgot the lemons LOL! It keeps quite awhile thawed as well. The back of the box tells you how long, and equivalence w/fresh lemon. I've been buying this for years and years and years. REAL lemon, not the plastic squeezy one!

Anonymous said...
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Leigh said...

I love to cook fish and am always looking for new recipes. Thanks! I will certainly be trying this out. Supper in a pouch is always perfect. Less clean up, eh! And the nread looks delish! Thanks!

Crap...why did it post me as anon? It's Leigh!

Kirby3131 said...

HI Leigh! I deleted your annon. comment lol I made myself hungry this morning when I was writing about this.

Marg - That sounds like a great product. I'll have to see if I can find it.

gingela5 - There are lots of things you can put in the parchment - not just fish. Think of it as a steaming bag.

J - it's a fun way to cook food. Like putting a potato into aluminum foil!

tarable said...

This looks delicious! I've cooked in parchment before, but it's been a while - I'll have to break it out again & try your recipe.