Looking for an impressive meal to make for someone special this Valentine’s Day? Give this Halibut in Parchment a try. I know, I know, cooking in parchment seems so fancy (perhaps even unfathomable to some). Don’t freak out. It’s super easy, and you’ll look like a rock star when you deliver these steaming bags of deliciousness to the dinner table.
Cooking en papillote (in parchment) is the method of steaming foods in their own juices. In this recipe, the result is moist fish that is infused with the flavors of the ingredients, including spice from the ginger, heat from the serrano pepper and vibrancy from the lime juice. I love to make this in the summer when fresh corn and tomatoes are plentiful, but it works just as well with frozen corn and winter tomatoes from the grocery store.
The key technique to remember when cooking food in parchment is to make sure you have a good seal on your food packet. This is how the steaming magic happens. Start with small folds and keep folding them over each other until you come to the end of the paper. Twist off the end to ensure you’re not losing steam (and flavor!) out of a gap. If you don’t like your folds when you’re done, open up your packet and start over. Parchment is very forgiving.
When you’re ready to serve dinner, place the parchment packet on a plate. Cut an X in the top of the packet and pull back the corners to reveal the steaming hot halibut and veggies inside. I guarantee your guests will feel like they are dining at a five-star restaurant. Don’t worry; I won’t tell them how easy this was to pull together. You deserve all the glory (and a REALLY nice Valentine’s Day gift!)
1½ cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen (defrosted if using frozen corn)
2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
¼ cup diced green onions
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Measure out 4 pieces of parchment paper, about 15 inches each. Fold each piece in half and then open again. Place a piece of halibut off-center of each parchment piece, about 2 inches on either side of the fold line.
Place the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heap a quarter of the vegetable mixture over each halibut filet and fold the other half of the parchment back over the top of the fish.
Starting at the corner near a folded end, make overlapping folds in the parchment paper. (Make sure your fold the paper over a couple of times to ensure a tight seal.) Once you reach the end, tightly twist the remaining corner of the paper and tuck it under the packet, if desired.
Place the parchment packets on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. You want the paper to start to puff up and brown around the edges.
Remove baking sheet from oven and place each parchment packet on a plate. To serve, cut an X in the top of the packet and tear back the paper to reveal the food inside.