April 22, 2015 | Posted by Elyse Tirrell
During this last stretch of cool weather, I'm doing everything I can to think spring! I'm trying to will in a new season...and one of my tactics is making this light, beautiful fish dish overflowing with bright spring vegetables (carrots, zucchini and green onion -- yum!), and steamed in parchment paper. If you observe Lent, it would also be a great meal to serve your family for Friday dinner!
Last year, in my class at the International Culinary Center, we learned this simple yet refined way to steam food: in a parchment pocket (or, as traditionally said in the French culinary world, en papillote). It's quite easy to put together, and can be an impressive way to serve guests -- with each person getting their own pocket of perfectly steamed fish and veggies. (Want some extra help folding? Here's a tutorial.)
My fish of choice: halibut. This mild, tasty white fish is lean and firm, yet so tender; I love it. With proper seasoning and the combination of vegetables, fresh herbs, dried chile flakes and a splash of white wine, this dish is packed with flavor, yet light and guilt-free.
When testing different preparations for this dish, I discovered it made a huge difference in the end result if the carrots and zucchini were sauteed a bit before put in the parchment. This helps to release some of the natural water found in these vegetables into the pan, rather than onto the fish. I also really enjoyed the splash of bright flavor from an oaked Chardonnay (on the fish... and hey, why not serve some in a glass too?!), but feel free to experiment with other white varietals that you enjoy.
Now come on out, spring weather! We're so ready for you.