Halibut cooked en Papillote with Julienned Vegetables

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I am a big fan of Halibut, but somewhat hesitant to cook fish at home and usually reserve fishy adventures to a visit to dedicated restaurants, of which Portland, Maine, has a better supply than most cities in other parts of the world. This recipe has cured me of that ailment, and from now on, I will be somewhat more adventurous with fruits of the sea!

As I mentioned in the recipe (adjusted to four servings), this is a preparation for larger groups (on this occasion 10 people) and is designed to have all servings ready at the same time.

The dinner was for friends and family joining us (my chef son and fiancee) in celebration of an otherwise untold event. We did the prep in the afternoon with exception of the wild rice. The rest was prepackaged in the parchment paper and put in the oven when ready to start cooking, about 10 minutes after the rice.

In terms of prep, my job was to cut the hearts out of the parchment paper, while son “julienned” the vegetable and portioned the halibut. Veggies on the bottom of the aluminum foil, then the halibut, lemon slice on top.

Steaming vegetables, poultry, or seafood in a packet of parchment paper or foil is a simple method that requires only the effort mentioned above; I didn’t understand why the heart shape was necessary until the “chef de cuisine” organized the ingredients inside the package. Once you put things in the oven  steam builds up in the packet to cook food quickly and evenly. The lemon adds extra moisture and flavor.

It also meant we started happy hour without having to repair to the kitchen, the oven bell signaling the end at just the right time when another drink would have spoiled true appreciation of a great dinner. Since the major attraction is ready in less than 15 minutes, it is the rice (or any other starch) that dictates when to begin!

Here is the true delight, a steaming package of fish plus veggies on your plate, served simultaneously to all, as fresh and savory as can be. Open and eat straight out of the package. So much better than the fish and chips wrapped in newspaper I remember eating in England some years ago (and that wasn’t bad at all!)

Enjoy with a light white, this time a Sauvignon Blanc, light, refreshing, the crown on another foody adventure.

More to come,

Dr T

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