Fish en Papillote – Easy, Elegant and Nutritious, Too

While recipes with unfamiliar French names may impress guests, they can intimidate the inexperienced cook. En papillote, the French cooking method highlighted in this week’s recipe, may sound exotic, but it’s such an easy technique, it is well worth mastering.

En papillote refers to food baked inside a parchment paper wrapping. As the food cooks, the parchment paper puffs and browns, steaming the food inside. Traditionally, French chefs serve each packet individually, allowing guests to unwrap their meals themselves.

This method is ideal for cooking fish as it retains moisture and infuses the meat with the rich flavors from a few simple ingredients. In this recipe, a delicious sauce emerges from the lemon juice, olive tapenade and wine that fill each parchment packet. If looking for a non-alcoholic substitute for the wine, try using chicken broth or white grape juice.

White fish is best to use because of its delicate flavor. Most varieties are similar enough in taste and texture that you can easily substitute cod for flounder or halibut for rockfish. White fish are typically low in calories and fat and rich in high-quality protein.

The olive spread, or tapenade, featured here also has French roots. The condiment hails from the Provence region and is traditionally a mixture of black olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil. Commercial tapenade is available in many grocery stores and is a wonderful dip for raw vegetables or whole wheat crackers. Although relatively high in fat, olives provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that promotes cardiovascular health. This dish goes nicely with brown rice and a green vegetable or salad.

White Fish en Papillote - Makes 4 servings.

Parchment cooking paper
Non-stick cooking spray
4, 3-oz. white fish fillets (such as cod, flounder, halibut, rockfish)
4 Tbsp. commercial tapenade, or see recipe below
Juice of 2 medium lemons (about 4 Tbsp.)
¼ cup white wine (not too sweet, such as Pinot Grigio), or may substitute with an
equal amount of chicken broth or white grape juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare four 8” x 10” pieces of parchment paper by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Place one fish fillet in the middle of each piece of parchment paper. Spread 1 Tbsp. of tapenade on each fillet. Top each with 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. white wine (or non-alcoholic substitute).

Form a packet around each fillet by folding over the sides of the parchment paper, forming a tight seal.

Place the packets on a baking sheet in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes for thinner fish, a little longer for thicker fillets. You can test doneness by opening one packet. When the fillet has turned opaque, it is done.

Homemade Tapenade

2 cups black olives, preferably oil cured, pitted
3 anchovies, rinsed and patted dry (optional)
3 Tbsp. drained capers
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp. dried)
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is still coarse, but has a uniform consistency. Makes about 2 ¾ cups of tapenade.

Per serving (with homemade tapenade): 130 calories, 3 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 3 g carbohydrate, 19 g protein, 0 g dietary fiber, 65 mg sodium.

The Author:

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is part of the global network of charities that are dedicated to the prevention of cancer. The WCRF global network is led and unified by WCRF International, a membership association which operates as the umbrella organization for the network .The other charities in the WCRF network are World Cancer Research Fund in the UK (www.wcrf-uk.org); Wereld Kanker Onderzoek Fonds in the Netherlands (www.wcrf-nl.org); World Cancer Research Fund Hong Kong (www.wcrf-hk.org); and Fonds Mondial de Recherche contre le Cancer in France (www.fmrc.fr).

Article Source: Aicr.org

Article Posted: Ocxtober 22, 2007

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