Cod and Asparagus in a Packet of Parchment

My CSA friend, Sarah, introduced me to a wonderful concept.  New to me, perhaps not to you.  A piece of parchment paper enfolds a meal.  I must have heard about this at some point, but never acted on it?  Anyway, what a brilliant idea.  No pots or pans to clean up, tasty, simple and easy.  Who could ask for anything more?  For those of you who like watching it done, I found this video version by Jaden over at Steamy Kitchen.

A French method of cooking, called en papillote, it is almost infinitely variable.  What type of fish you use (or chicken even), vegetables, herbs, spices, added fats (olive oil, coconut cream, butter) or none at all.  I am smitten with the idea.  Will be doing it lots.

These packets contained cod, asparagus, red onion, and from our garden, lemon slices, thyme, and chives. Super good.  You should definitely do this.  I'm thinking next maybe a version of  Laulau, which is a Hawaiian dish, usually done with pork, butterfish, and  luau (taro) leaves, all enclosed in banana or ti leaves, and steamed.  A curried take would also be wonderful, with coconut cream (just a tad) and Indian spices.  Or, how about salmon with sliced fennel, topped with a sprinkling of fennel pollen?

A benefit of doing individual parcels is the little thrill of opening up your very own packet, maybe with your initial on the outside.  That way if a (clueless) person does not want any vegetables they can have the one with only tomato sauce in it.  Some kids do not realize that tomato sauce (like on pizza??) contains vegetables.   Perhaps an individual would prefer not to have carrots, or you name it, in theirs. I put a "B" on Bob's so he could have the bigger piece of fish.  Because he's bigger.

Cod and Asparagus en Papillote

For 2 servings

2 fillets of cod, or your preferred fish
1/2 lb. (about) asparagus, cut in 1/2" slices
2 small potatoes, thinly sliced
salt, pepper
2 tablespoons butter
4 thin slices lemon
capers (optional)
herbs of choice - I used fresh thyme, chives and some minced red onion

Cut parchment paper into rectangles (about 12" x 17"), for individual servings.  Fold in half, then trim so it looks like a heart when opened up. Stack half of your thinly sliced potato on each parchment, then add salt, pepper and whatever herbs you want.  Add a cup or more of chopped asparagus or other vegetables, then a piece of fish, a pat of butter or drizzle of olive oil.  Actually, you don't need to add any oil or butter.  This can be totally fat free. Around here however, that designation is verboten. Top with thinly sliced lemon, and capers if you want and more salt and pepper.

Now fold the parchment over and seal it by folding the edges together, so it looks like a half moon, or "D" shape.  As you fold the edges over, crimp it well.  Next slide all the packets onto a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Be careful opening, as hot steam will escape.  Poke through a slit or two first with a sharp knife. Amazingly good as the flavors meld while cooking.  Another benefit, - clean-up is easy.  Crumple up your paper and toss. I am sending this off to Week-end Herb Blogging for the round-up, which will be hosted by Anh of A Food Lover's Journey.


Couscous & Consciousness said...

These look positively gorgeous - I posted some similar fish parcels recently with olives and herbs that were very delicious and totally hooked me onto cooking fish this way - love the idea of putting asparagus in here and as that is plentiful here right now, this is definitely on my list for this week. Thanks for sharing it :-)

Joanne said...

This is such a wonderful way to really trap the flavor in that fish! Sounds delicious.