This is just a quick posting before I head north to partake of the last of the melting snow on my trusty board! I’ve had a couple requests from friends to post this fantastic recipe for tarted up fish and asparagus cooked in parchment packets. I found the recipe in the lovely Clotilde Dusoulier’s Chocolate and Zucchini cookbook, and have adapted it only slightly, to include cod rather than the sea bass she suggests. This is definitely a spring meal, to be best enjoyed when asparagus is in season, in all of its verdant splendor.
It is honestly one of the most delightful things I’ve cooked in a long time! It paired exceptionally well with M-Stew’s Corn Risotto at dinner last Sunday. And don’t worry if you’ve never cooked using parchment packets before – this was my first time and it is a simple technique that is pretty easily mastered.
So go forth with your parchment! And happy SPRING!
Asparagus and Cod Papillotes
Only barely modified from Chocolate and Zucchini, by Clotilde Dusoulier
1 ½ pounds cod, cut into 4 equal servings
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons (packed) grated orange zest
¼ cup finely diced shallots (from 2 small shallots)
1 ¼ pounds slim green asparagus
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted until golden
4 pieces of parchment
Preheat over to 400˚. Have baking sheet and parchment paper ready.
Wash and dry the fish, then season with salt and pepper. Combine orange zest and shallots in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Cut asparagus into 2 inch sticks, discarding the fibrous ends, and split sticks in two.
Place one sheet of parchment on your work surface, and fold in two horizontally. Unfold. Place ¼ of the asparagus in a single layer about an inch above the crease – they should form a rectangle. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with one serving of cod. Top cod with one tablespoon of sour cream, ¼ of the orange shallot mixture, and ¼ toasted almonds.
Fold the parchment over the fillet so that the two edges meet. Make a thin tight fold along the joined edges, repeating until you reach the fillet. Close the open ends of the packet by folding them into pointed ends and tucking them under the package. Do this for each fillet, then carefully transfer all four to baking sheet.
Bake for 14-18 minutes, depending on how thick your cod fillets are (I cooked mine for almost 18 – they were about 1 ½ inches thick). Transfer hot packets carefully to plates, then slice open with a sharp knife.
If anyone tries this with sea bass, let me know how it goes. I wasn’t feeling quite right about it at the fish market, but I would never judge! I have some friends who fish locally for striped bass, so maybe I’ll try it with that this summer – exciting!