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Cod en Papillote

After all the fantastic dishes I sampled during Restaurant Week, dinner at home sounded a little underwhelming but at the same time appealing in its simplicity. Cod en Papillote would be a light, easy dinner, I thought. (En Papillote is the French term for “in parchment”.)

I had a few errands to run after work, including a stop by the grocery store. Meatloaf was on my mind, but the hour-long baking time would result in a pretty late meal. I didn’t want to cook on the grill since it was cold and had been drizzling most of the afternoon.  So fish in parchment paper was just the right decision – not too many ingredients, minimal prep work and a short time in the oven.

The dish can really be as basic or creative as you make it. This recipe for Black Cod with Olives and Potatoes from Epicurious.com is a preparation I like. And you can use a variety of white flakey fish you like, or even salmon. My grocery store had fresh haddock, so that’s what I used. My little package of steamy goodness contained thinly sliced potatoes on the bottom (baby Yukon golds are the best), garlic, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and a sprig of oregano. Next time I will chop the oregano and sprinkle it directly over the fish for more flavor.

Below is a recipe I referenced in putting this easy creation together. Click here for the instructional video.

Two 16-inch parchment paper sheets (or tin foil)
2 rosemary sprigs (or cilantro or parsley or thyme)
One 5-6 ounce skinless fish fillet
1/2 cup diced zucchini
3 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 small artichoke hearts (canned) quartered
1 tablespoon dry white wine
salt and pepper
squeeze of fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat your oven to 450F.

2. Lay one parchment paper over another, long side of the paper horizontal. Lay herb sprigs in middle of the parchment. Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Lay fish on top of the herb sprigs. Spoon the zucchini, tomatoes and artichoke hears over the fish. Season the vegetables with a pinch more of salt and pepper. Pour the white wine over everything.

3. Seal the packet closed by rolling and crimping the long sides together over the fish and vegetables. Then roll and crimp the ends closed so no steam can escape. Place on baking sheet.

4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until fish cooked through. Timing depends on thickness of fish. 10 minutes for 1/2-inch fillet; 15 minutes for 1-inch fillet. If you are cooking more than one packet, add another minute to cooking time for each additional packet. Just before serving, carefully open the packet (hot steam!) add just a squeeze of lemon juice over everything.

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