Fail proof fish that's flaky and well seasoned with a side spring salad.
As a dietitian, we always tell people to eat more fish. I think the major reason why people say "Okay!" and then never actually eat more fish, is because they don't know how to cook it at home. When it comes down to it, most people have some sort of method figured out for chicken and beef but fish freaks them out. Fish isn't still pink in the center if it's undercooked and 'flaky' isn't a typical identifier for most meat doneness. And after one too many times of over cooking or undercooking, or just putting off cooking fish and making your whole fridge smell weird, people give up. Admittedly, I don't eat as much fish as I used to, but after this recipe, I think I just might put it back in the regular rotation.
Cooking fish "en papillote" or in parchment paper is one of the easiest meat cooking things I've tried. By creating a sealed packet filled with seasonings and in this case, wine, the fish isn't dried out and it's really infused with flavor. The only tricky part is trusting yourself enough not to open the packet. You CAN NOT open the parchment packet before time is up. *immediately wants to open packet*
So, easy enough, right? There are tons of variations you could make with this method. You could add herbs like thyme. You could add some dry spices onto the fish. You could do onions. Fill it with veggies and spinach. Let me know what you end up doing. I 100% recommend making sure whatever you do, adding in the extra sauce from the parchment packet during plating. It makes it.
Since I didn't end up putting in carrots or spinach or any extra veggies beyond the fennel with this cod, I needed a side salad. Really, this is almost a slaw. We tossed shaved fennel, candy cane beets and pea shoots together in a light dressing. I'm not trying to be ultra fancy with the pea shoots (I know these are three kind of less easy to obtain pieces of produce), but I was cleaning out the fridge so, you do what you do. You could easily replace pea shoots with micro greens or even some baby spinach.
spring parchment baked lemon fennel cod
/// Ingredients ///
- 4 oz cod
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 lemon, sliced
- 1/8 cup sliced fennel
- 1/8 cup chardonnay
- 1 pat of butter
- 1 candy cane beet, sliced thinly
- 1 handful pea shoots
- 1/8 cup shaved fennel
- 1 teaspoon fennel tops
dressing for salad
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- a drizzle of honey
/// Directions /// Preheat oven to 400 F. Salt and pepper cod on both sides. Cut a piece of parchment paper about 12 x 17 inches. Fold in half longways, open and lay flat on a sheet pan. Place lemon slices and fennel in the center to the right side of the fold. Place cod on top. Add pat of butter on top of cod. Start folding the parchment by laying the left side of the fold over the side with the cod. Begin crimping starting at the bottom, overlapping the parchment with each fold so it becomes a semi circle. It doesn't have to be perfect or precise. Your goal is to create a sealed pouch. Once you get to the remaining open top portion to fold, pour wine in pouch. Close parchment folds and bake for 10 minutes (about 8 minutes per inch of thickness for firm fish like cod). Remove from oven. Let it sit for 30 seconds, open pouches and plate with juice.
See above picture for pouch image.
To make salad, whisk together dressing and toss with salad ingredients.
If you think you can't cook fish, this is your sign to try it tonight.
Dietitian Nutritionist and cookbook author sharing flavor-forward recipes and simplified science-driven wellness.