Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fish en papillote

This recipe is supposed to be salmon, but we had some cod to use up, and it turned out great. So sub in almost any fish you want!

The goal for this dinner with something healthy and relatively quick. Check, and check (with one make-ahead step). Oh, and it's very tasty.

Honey-soy fish en papillote
adapted from Tastes of Home

This recipe uses Yuen Chen Thick Sauce. I have no idea what that is, and our sad little ethnic aisle at the grocery store wasn't much help (they don't even always carry fish sauce) but with the help of google, I figured out how to make my own. I found it kind of amusing. Warning: it's a very aromatic sauce to cook, but even though it's a little fishy, I didn't find it unpleasant. Just... intriguing.

Homemade thick sauce
(I can't remember where I got this recipe)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fish sauce

In a medium sauce pan, combine the sugar and water and cook until it's caramel-colored. Slowly pour in the fish sauce- it will bubble up wildly, but swirl the pan and it'll calm down. Cook until it's thick, a few minutes.

Let cool a bit, and store in a sealed container in the fridge (I couldn't find any info on storage, so I just keep it in the fridge).

For the sauce for the fish:
2T thick sauce
2T honey
1T soy sauce
splash of sake (I used mirin- not exactly right, but it's what I had)

Whisk the sauce together.

For the rest of the dish:
4 6oz salmon steaks, or other fish
2 leeks, thinly sliced
2 stalks scallions, thickly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1T fresh ginger, grated
2 shallots, finely diced
1/2 head of bok choy, roughly chopped

Tear off 4 pieces of tinfoil, each about 3x the size of each piece of fish. If you want, spray with nonstick spray of brush with oil (I didn't, it was fine). Place a piece of fish on each foil and brush generously with the sauce. Bring up the sides of the foil so it's like a cup/bowl and the sauce doesn't spill everywhere. Divide all the sliced veggies (leek, scallion, garlic, ginger, shallot, bok choy) among the 4 pieces of fish and pile up on top of the fish. Divide the remaining sauce and pour over each piece of fish/pile of veggies. Add an additional splash of sake to each of the 4 fish/veggie piles, and wrap up the foil, completely sealing the foil package except for a small steam hole in each. Line them up on a baking sheet (rimmed is best, just in case) and bake at 350F for 15-20 min, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Serve the foil packages on each plate for each person to unwrap, or transfer the fish and veggies to each plate yourself. We served with rice flavored with a little soy sauce and ginger.

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