The flavors and aroma of fish and seafood is so delicate and fragile that it is a crime to deep fry it and even baking and grilling is an overkill causing over cooking. Steaming works but many of the delicate aromas and flavors get whisked away in the steam. Making aluminum chambers and cooking in the oven can leave a metallic taint.
The simple solution is to use baking parchment sheets and to wrap fish and seafood into parcels. This steams the fish gently and the parcel itself has a neutral taste and absorbs some of the flavors and aromas of the fish. Nothing is lost.
You can add a variety of herbs and vegetables is complement the natural flavors of the seafood, but don't overdo it. Use about 1/2 to 1/4 of what you think you need. The obvious choices are garlic, ginger, spring onions, coriander, mint, chilli and lime. A few drops of soy sauce adds a little saltiness to the taste.
The crucial ingredient is the fish and seafood. It must be fresh and the very best quality.
Making parcels means there is no waste. Opening the parcels on the plate means that the diner experiences the joys of discovering what's inside and the delightful aromas that rise as the parcels are opened.
Note: The real art of making this dish a success is to match the herbs, spices and vegetables to the fish species or seafood.
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sliced zucchini
3 slices of fresh ginger
8 oz (250 g) sea scallops
4 small sprigs fresh thyme
1 red onion, finely sliced
4 thin lemon or lime slices
4 tablespoons dry white wine
1 small green onion finely diced
4 small sprigs fresh oregano, marjoram
1 cup finely sliced and diced red, or yellow bell pepper
8 sheets of parchment paper (16 in x 12-in ; 40 cm x 25 cm)
8 oz (250 g) large green shrimp, peeled, vein removed, with tails off
[Or use 16 oz (500g) of thin fish fillets, or larger fillets sliced into bite size pieces]
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Use two thicknesses of parchment paper to make 4 parcels. Fold the paper in half, make a crease and then open up. Start assembling the ingredients by arranging the seafood and vegetables in the center of each parcel. Leave plenty of free space around the food items so that all sides can be gathered to make a parcel. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle the onions and herbs on top and add one or two slices of lime or lemon. Drizzle a small amount of white wine over the ingredients and finish with a teaspoon of butter.
Gather and fold the parcel to bring all the edges together and tie with some kitchen string. To may find that simply twisting the edges together provides enough of a seal, but the string is safer. You want the seal to be tight so the parcel puffs up with the steam but not so tight that it 'pops'.
Place parchment parcels on a baking tray over a pan and bake for only about 15 minutes, until the parcels inflate. Don't overcook. To serve, prick each parcel with a knife to prevent hot steam hitting the diner in the face. But leave the parcels sealed so that the diner can discover what's inside and enjoy the aroma when the parcel is opened.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Mix the seasoned rice vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, lemon peel, salt and pepper in a small bowl to use as a marinade. Slice the fish fillets into 3 large strips. Place all the seafood in a sealable plastic bag with the marinade and refrigerate 1 hour. Fill and seal 3 parchment packets one at a time with the drained seafood. Bake the parchmnet packets on the sheet tray for 8 to 10 minutes.
Nutrition Summary - per serving with fillet of sole, shrimp and scallops:
36 g protein;
10 g carbohydrate,
2 g fat,
124 mg cholesterol,
723 mg sodium
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Assemble all the ingredients in 3-4 parcels and seal. Bake the parchmnet packets on the sheet tray for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Prepare you packets for baking. Tear 4 sheets of parchment paper 12 inches (25 cm) long. Place 1 fillet on each sheet and distribute the remaining ingredients on top of the four fillets. Fold the paper over to form a packet and fold and crimp the edges to seal. Use toothpicks to tightly secure the edges so there are no gaps. Place on a large baking tray and bake for about 12-15 minutes until the packets puff and the fish is no longer translucent inside.
Nutritional Summary Per Serving (1 packet):
6 g protein,
8 g carbohydrates,
14 g fat,
14 mg cholesterol,
3 g fiber,
297 mg sodium.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place 4 large pieces of parchment paper onto 2 baking sheets. Place a serving of fennel, tomatoes, scallops, olives and garlic evenly on one half of each parchment sheet, leaving a wide border at edge. Season with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of wine and oil. Fold top half of each parchment piece over ingredients. Crimp edges in tight folds and seal with toothpicks. Bake until packets puff up and scallops are cooked through (about 20 minutes, depending on size of scallops). Transfer parchment packets to plates. Open carefully allowing the surge of steam to escape.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (215 degrees C). Whisk the olive oil, anchovies, basil, parsley,minced garlic, lemon zest and juice, paprika and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the shrimp, scallions, tomatoes, jalapeno and mix well. Tear off eight 16-inch (40 cm) sheets of parchment paper. Make the packets using a double layer of parchment. Arrange about one-quarter of the shrimp mixture on a double layer or parchment, using a slotted spoon. Top with 2 tablespoons clam juice, one-quarter of the liquid from the bowl and 1/2 tablespoon butter. Seal the packets by folding over the edges. Bake the parcel on baking sheets until the parchment puffs and the shrimp are just cooked through (about 20-25 minutes). Let rest 5 minutes and carefully open the packets and serve with the grilled bread and fresh herbs.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Combine all the vegetables together in a large bowl and season them with salt and pepper. Add the the juice of half the lemon, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon zest, and half of the parsley. Dry and rub the fish fillets with salt and pepper on both sides. Sprinkle the fish with parsley, the other half of lemon juice, and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place half of the vegetables in each parchment bag. Place the fish fillets on top of the vegetables. Seal the parchment parcels and place on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.
To serve, carefully cut open the packets to reseal the steam and serve on individual plates.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cut a sheet of parchment paper to measure approximately 15 by 30 inches (12 x 25 cm). Fold in half crosswise creating a square, and crease down the center. Lay the parchment square on a rimmed baking sheet. Cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp (about 10-12 minutes). Add the shallots and fry for about 4 minutes more until the shallots soften. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and apple cider vinegar. Turn the heat off and add the apples; stirring to coat well. Spoon the apple and bacon mixture on top of the mussels on one half side of the parchment. Place the pieces of butter among the mussels and top with thyme sprigs. Season with salt and pepper. Close the parchment parcels and seal by crimping. Bake for 15-20 minutes.