Cooking fish wrapped in parchment paper—en papillote—yields great results. The fish is moist and tender and is cooked with a minimum of fat. This recipe from the March 2014 issue of Food and Wine calls for striped bass, but any kind of thick fillet would work. The fish is topped lemon slices, salt and bay leaves (I used thyme instead), wrapped in parchment, and baked for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, you sauté onions and garlic and then add tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, hot peppers and ground coriander to make a delicious, fresh-tasting salad.
Avoiding Additives and Preservatives
Ground spices may contain colour and anti-caking ingredients, so check the label.
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium tomatoes, cut into ¼ -inch dice
2 cups lightly packed cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves, chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
2 jalapeños, minced
1 fresh hot red chile, seeded and minced, plus sliced chile for garnish
1 tablespoon ground coriander
Four 6- to 7-ounce skinless striped bass fillets, about ¾ inch thick
8 thin slices of lemon
4 fresh bay leaves
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a medium skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 7 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, jalapeños, minced red chile and coriander. Season with salt; let cool.
Arrange 4 large sheets of parchment paper on a work surface. Season the fillets with salt and set one in the center of each sheet. Top each fillet with 2 lemon slices and 1 bay leaf; drizzle with 1 tablespoon each of the remaining olive oil. Bring up 2 opposite sides of the parchment over the fish and fold to seal. Fold up the edges to create a packet.
Transfer the papillotes to a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly puffed.
Mound the tomato salad on plates. Carefully open the packets and set the fish on the salad. Garnish with the parsley sprigs and sliced chile; serve. Serves 4.
From the March 2014 issue of Food and Wine