Friday, April 25, 2014

Rosie Prepares Poisson En Papillote.

 Rosie is cooking en papillote today.
This is a cooking technique that is
grossly under-utilized.
I want to change that.

En papillote means "in parchment."

 It's a moist-heat cooking method
 in which the food, typically fish,
is put in a folded package of parchment paper,
other ingredients, seasonings, and flavorings are added,
and the package is sealed and baked.
The food is steamed in its own flavorful liquids and juices.
As the packet heats, the air inside expands 
and the flavors of the ingredients are swept into it.
Basically, the ingredients are cooked with flavored air
and form a sauce of their own essence.

Some understanding of your ingredients is necessary
so you know what flavors and seasonings work together,
but the en papillote method easily lends itself
to numerous flavor profiles.

This cooking technique is perfect for any white fish filet -
cod, striped bass or rockfish, grouper, mahi mahi, or flounder.
And this method of cooking encourages
the cook to experiment with different flavor combinations,
allowing the items in the package
to flavor and compliment each other.
Add fresh herbs and wine and you have a culinary synergy,
where the total is more than the sum of its parts.

 Today, for my rockfish, AKA striped bass,
I'm going with a nice vegetable and fruit ménage.
I julienned a carrot,
cut a stalk of celery on the diagonal and included the leaves.
sliced a bit of a leek,
made little strips of green, yellow, orange, and red peppers,
and sliced a lemon.

 Our filets are cut into approximately 5-ounce servings.
Place on parchment.

 Top with vegetable strips.

 Add lemon slices, a sprinkling of Old Bay seasoning,
a few pats of unsalted butter,
a pinch or so of kosher salt,
and a few grinds of pepper.

 Begin crimping, starting at the curved end.

 When you get near the pointy end,
add in about 1/4 cup Chardonnay.

 Finish sealing.

Place packets on baking sheet.
 Bake at 350°.
22 minutes.

Open the packet and inhale the steam and aroma and flavors.
It's intoxicating.


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