So the other day, my wife said she wanted fish for dinner. The pickings at the fish counter seemed pretty slim, but there were some orange roughy fillets, a firm fleshed white fish, that looked pretty good, so I picked up a couple. It occurred to me that I should try cooking them in a pouch. So I picked up some aromatic vegetables — a leek, and a parsnip. I also picked up a yellow squash, to round out the meal. Now I needed to think of a liquid that would work with all of these things. I settled on a bottle of extra-strong ginger beer.
So, I preheated the oven to 450°, and then I cleaned and sliced up the leek, and softened it in some butter in a frying pan. Then I julienne’d the parsnip, and put them in with the leeks, and added about a quarter cup of the ginger beer, and some salt, and popped on the lid, letting them steam for a couple of minutes. I’ve also found this great sweet and smoky paprika spice mix — not sure who puts it out, but I’ve been sprinkling it in everything lately.
Traditionally, “en papillote” is done in a parchment paper pouch, but I used some aluminum foil instead. I sprayed it with a little canola oil spray, though there was enough liquid left from the softened vegetables, it wasn’t necessary. I laid out the fish on the foil, and topped it with the softened veggies, and then diced up the yellow squash, and topped it with that. Then I folded up the edges of the foil and made a tightly closed packet, and popped it on a cookie sheet and into the oven for — not exactly sure. 30 minutes, maybe. I don’t think the timing was particularly critical, since the steam was gently cooking the fish, and there was still plenty of liquid left. For all I know, I completely overcooked it, but it still came out great. The fish was firm and sort of reminded me of lobster meat. I served it over the multi-grain israeli couscous that T.J.’s sells.