Friday, January 11, 2013

Fish en Papillote With Fennel, Citrus And Wild Rice

cod fish+fennel+citrus+wild rice

For years the thought of preparing fish turned me into a chicken. Until I discovered papillote {parchment paper}. The method of cooking fish in parchment paper is foolproof - no overcooked, dry fish - and it yields the most flavor as the sealed packets allow the fish and seasonings, herbs, etc. to marry perfectly. This particular dish is an older recipe {a tear sheet from an unmarked magazine} neatly filed away but never tested until now. And it turned out to be exactly as the ingredients hinted it would be:  bursting with so many different savory and sweet-tangy flavors, complemented by nutty (literally) wild rice. Enjoy!

Fish en Papillote With Fennel, Citrus And Wild Rice

6 T olive oil
2 fennel bulbs, fronds removed, sliced crosswise 1/4" thick
1 pinch saffron
1 T grated orange zest
salt
chili powder
4 portions, 6 oz each, of your favorite mild, white fish {I used cod, but any wild, semi-firm fish such as tilapia, sea bass or halibut would work well}
fresh ground black pepper
6 T fresh orange juice
1 T + 1/4 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 t fresh thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 t fennel pollen {I used fennel seeds}
3 c cooked wild rice
2 T toasted hazelnuts
3 T chopped chives
4 sheets of parchment paper, cut into 20" squares

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Pour 1 T olive oil in a saute pan and warm over medium heat. Add fennel, saffron, 1t+1/2t orange zest, salt and 2 pinches of chili powder. Saute until tender, stirring often, until fennel is tender and translucent.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Lay the parchment paper squares out side by side and add equally divided fennel mixture into the center of each.  Pat each fish fillet with a paper towel, season both sides with salt and pepper and lay the fillets on top of the fennel. Drizzle over the fish the orange juice, lemon juice, 4 T olive oil.  Then sprinkle with thyme, garlic, a pinch of chili powder, and fennel pollen. Pull up two opposite edges of a parchment sheet and fold them together and down in three 1/2 inch folds. Pinch and twist the ends shut and secure with butcher string or staples. Repeat with the other three parchment sheets. Place the pouches on a sheet pan and bake until the center of the fish is just cooked through - about 10 minutes. 

In a saute pan over medium heat, warm the cooked rice in the remaining T olive oil with hazelnuts, remaining orange zest, chives salt and pepper. Keep warm.

To serve, place each parchment pouch on a plate and gently tear them open from the tops.  Spoon rice along side fish. 
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