I’m always looking for new ways to cook fish and cooking in parchment paper is a great method to lock in moisture while still retaining a lot of flavor. The idea behind this technique is to cook the fish in its own package made with parchment paper. Then the liquid, I used wine, turns to steam and cooks the fish. I cooked the trout on top of a mixture of sauteed leeks and tomatoes that imparted a lot of great flavor to the fish without being overwhelming. I chose trout because it looked pretty fresh but you can use any kind of white fish for this recipe. The thing about fresh fish is that it shouldn’t taste fishy. Of course some kinds of fish have more of a fishy taste than others, but generally if the fish you are eating has that yucky ‘fish’ taste, it’s probably not fresh. Below are some more ways to tell if the fish you’re buying is fresh. This goes for whole fish so if you’re buying your fish already filleted, just make sure it’s been kept cold but not directly on ice as this will damage the texture and the flavor of the fish.
1. Scales should be intact.
2. Eyes should be clear, not cloudy.
3. Flesh should be firm.
4. Gills should be bright and full of blood.
4 fillets white fish
1 egg white, lightly beaten
Oil or butter
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped small
2 tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped small
1. Sweat leeks in oil or butter on low heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, cook another 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set tomato and leek mixture aside.
3. Fold a piece of parchment paper in half and cut the parchment paper into a circle shape.
4. Season the fillets with salt and pepper and add tomato mixture in the center of the parchment paper.
4. Place the fillets on top of the tomato mixture and moisten with a few splashes of white wine.
5. Brush the edges of the parchment paper with egg white, fold in half, and press edges together to seal. Brush the edges again and make a series on short folds along the edges so the the parchment paper holds closed.
6. Put each parchment paper packet on a sheet tray and place in preheated 450 degree oven. The parchment paper will puff up and fish should be completely cooked after 7 or 8 minutes.
7. To serve, leave the fish in the parchment paper and put the whole packet directly on your plate. Cut open the parchment paper at the top to allow the steam and aroma to escape.