Mia Hungry Long Time!

Cooking with Paper : Cod en Papillote


Hello my good people! How are you today? Are you having the chillest, laziest, best weekend ever? No? I am! Today I even took a three hour nap. Three hours! I fell asleep with E!’s Oscar special on and I dreamt that I was working some gigantic jewelry diamond expo and I was assigned to handle Madonna, and she was such a bitch and made me run around looking for 1920’s jewelry. Yeah, it was weird.

Anyways, a few days ago I was inspired to cook something healthy and easy. At that point, I had been gorging on seriouslyawfulbutofcoursedelicious food for days and my body was begging for mercy. I went to the supermarket and went straight to fish counter and asked my oh-so-sweet counter dude, what’s the freshest today? He said COD! COD! COD! Okay fine, he didn’t say it like that.

So I got the cod, which by the way did look super sexy and fresh. As I was walking around the aisles, I saw a box of parchment paper. A-ha! I figured I was going to roast the fish (healthiest, most delicious thing ever) and upon seeing the parchment paper I immediately knew I was going to do it en-papillote style. I know, check me out with my fancy culinary lingo. I’m Joooooooooooolia Childs!

Cooking en-papillote is super easy. It’s mess free, fast, healthy, and babes, so dramatic. When you open that pouch on the table and you take a whiff of the aroma released right under your nose… aaaah. It’s sinful really. Anyways, when I got the cod and decided to cook it in this way, it was a bit of an experiment. I had never done it before, and I don’t even have a recipe for one. I figured it’d be easy enough, and that I would take pictures just in case it came out decent and blogable. So the fact that I am writing this, obviously means that it came out good and that I am a kitchen genius. Bow before me, you peasants!

Just kidding! It did came out good, but it could’ve been a lot better. I learned a few things along the way and I figured that you guys would enjoy this recipe. So let’s do this!

The ingredients:
Cod fillets (or any fish really), onion, cherry tomatoes, lemons, and herbes de Provence. I got the herbes de Provence from my local (fancy, Park Slope-ified) Foodtown! It’s a mix of dried herbs from Provence. This one has dried fennel, thyme, basil, lemon zest, and garlic. This mix is really, really good with fish. Of course, you can use whatever herbs you want. It also depends with what kind of fish you’re using. Say you’re using sea bass, maybe you can use capers, parsley, etc. Anything goes!

First, heat up your oven to 425f.

Next, chop up your ingredients to manageable pieces:
I sliced the onions REALLY thin because I wanted to make sure that they will be cooked in the short time they’ll be in the oven (10-15 minutes). I halved the cherry tomatoes and also sliced the lemons thin (after zesting them).

And now we prep the fish!

Hello, lovers. Don’t you guys look mighty healthy tonight!

Ps: I actually do talk to my food this way. This is why I like cooking by myself. It’s more intimate (for me and the food, duh), and I won’t scare my dining companion(s) away.

First, pat dry and remove any bones you see.
Bones in bites: not sexy.

Next: sea salt, pepper, and dry herbs: gently rub them on the fish.
This was my first time cooking with herbes de provence, and I got a little pinch happy. They just smell so God darn wonderful. I totally got carried away.

I mean look at gorgeous they look on my cod:
As you can see, I put about a teaspoon and a half of these herbs on each fillet. My suggestion after eating the final product: a little goes a long way.

Now, let’s put the fish away and take out the parchment paper.

Cut a big square, fold it in half (nice and tight crease), and cut a half heart shape so when you’re done you’ll have a heart envelope.

Open it up:

Put a dab of olive oil on just one side of the heart:

Rub the oil where the fish will be:

Lay a bed of lemon slices:

Okay, here’s an important note. I went a little (okay a lot) lemon crazy and as you can see, decided to lay down an entire battalion of lemon slices here. DO NOT DO THIS. It’s not a mistake of nuclear proportions, but coupled with the dried lemon zest and another pinch of lemon zest I added at the end, the dish came out REALLY lemon-y. It was still absolutely divine, but definitely too lemon-y.

So, please listen to me when I say just put TWO lemon slices. Thin slices. Or three, if your fish fillet is huge.
Okay? Good. Let’s move on.

Lay your fish on the bed of lemon slices:
Dudes, let me tell you right now that I all of a sudden has Bon Jovi’s Bed of Roses playing in my head.

I wanna laaaaay you down on a bed of roses (or lemon slices)… la la la

I’m sorry for that. PS: do you know that Bon Jovi was HUGE in Indonesia? They actually came to Jakarta for a concert when I was fourteen and my mom wouldn’t let me go because she thought it’d be dangerous and I was SO pissed at her and what do you know, two people got trampled to death, or something like that. Thanks mommy for saving my life.

Next, put the onion slices and cherry tomatoes on top:
I LOOOOVE this! I think the fillet looks like a robot at this point.

When I was doing this I restrained myself from putting in too many onion slices because I was worried that they weren’t going to cook. Dudes, I was so wrong! In the final product, the onion slices were so soft and sweet. Next time, I’m putting in a bucket of them. Ferrealz.

Okay, next up: lemon zest, a drizzle of olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice from half a lemon, and a final sprinkle of sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
I took pictures of each of the above individual steps, but they all look the same!
So for your enjoyment, here’s all of them, 129876 almost identical pictures of a fish fillet with crap on top:


I bet you haven’t seen this many pictures of cherry tomatoes in one page.
You’re welcome.

Now comes the nerve-wracking part: the folding of the paper!
I was so worried about this step and was screaming in the kitchen the whole time I was doing it. My poor, poor roommate.
Maybe I should’ve looked at instructional videos online beforehand, oh what could’ve been.

The trick is basically to fold the edges like an empanada, with REALLY tight creases so no liquid can escape. This oval shape is the classic papillote style, but I’ve seen other people doing it in a rectangular shape and stapling the corners shut, which would be a hell lot easier. Apparently I always go for the harder route, because I’m a warrior.
And oh, you can also use aluminum foil and forgo the entire origami-esque step of this dish!

Anyways, after much screaming, here was the final result:

Yay! I was so proud!

Here’s the second one:

Hmm, do you notice something interesting?

How about now?

It’s a face!!!!!! How cute! Kawaiiiiii!

Next: put the pouches on a baking sheet:
And you bake them in the oven at 425f for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of the fillet.
I had mine in for 15 minutes, and the fish came out perfectly cooked.

So I while I wait, I made some side dishes: cous cous and sauteed spinach with garlic.
Before I knew it, it was time!

I was so happy to discover that my poor man’s origami skills were good enough that no liquid escaped during cooking.

Babes, I was SO excited at this point.

I moved to the dining table couch, lit some candles turned on the tv, and cut open the pouch:

Oh my lord Jesus/Allah/Buddha/David Hasselhoff… the smell, the smell, the smell was DIVINE.
Lemony, herb-y, just heavenly.

My pictures are such crap. They really don’t do this dish justice.
It was so delicious. The fish was cooked perfectly, and the sauce was really tasty. Again, it was a little too lemon-y but still yummers. The tomatoes and onions were soft and sweet, and there were plenty sauce to soak your bread/rice in.

Seriously, look at this bite:
The cod was perfect. Meaty, flaky and firm at the same time, and just so damn good.

Please make this immediately.



Filed under: Mia Attempts to Cook (Recipes), , , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. mouth is watering, holy shit!

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