Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Nov 27, 2012

Halibut en Papillote

Libations used: 4 Tbs of white wine...
Libations left over: Pretty much the whole bottle, so serve with dinner or pour yourself a glass while the fish is cooking...
It's after Thanksgiving and you're probably sick of eating poultry and heavy meals.  It's time for some lighter fare so you can do it all over again during the winter holidays.  And you're probably looking for something fast because you've been spending long hours in the kitchen.  I'd been wanting to try cooking some fish "en papillote" for a while because it's quick and easy.  It means "in parchment" in French, and for all of you out there who are terrified of preparing fish because you tend to overcook it, this might be a great method to try.  I had a huge filet of halibut in the freezer from Santa Monica Seafood that I had been saving, but you can use whatever fish you feel like.

When you're cutting out the parchment paper, make sure you have about 2 inches on each side of the filet so you're able to easily fold the pieces together.  I didn't have enough parchment on hand, so that made things a little difficult.  This is why I try things out for all of you first so you don't make my mistakes!  The ingredients are simple and healthy - lemons, tomatoes, thyme and a little white wine.  I used a variety of fresh heirloom tomatoes from the Farmers' Market — red and black Brandywine and Cherokee Purple, but use whatever you have on hand.  After 15-18 minutes in the oven, it's done and the fish is cooked perfectly.

Halibut en Papillote - serves 2
  • 1 Halibut filet, cut in half
  • 1 medium tomato or 3-4 small ones, diced
  • 1 lemon
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • 4 Tbs white wine (I had a Sauvignon Blanc chilling in the fridge already)

- Preheat oven to 425.
- Cut out 4 squares of parchment paper that are big enough for there to be 2 inches around each filet.
- Place 2 of the parchment squares on a baking sheet.
- Add a small dollop of olive oil on each square and brush evenly to coat.
- Place a piece of fish on each piece of paper.
- Slice the lemon in half and use one half to squeeze juice on each filet.
- Sprinkle 2 Tbs of wine on each filet.
- Distribute the tomatoes on top of each filet.
- With the remaining half of the lemon, cut 4 slices and place 2 on each piece of fish.
- Put a sprig or two of thyme on top of each piece of fish.
- Oil the other 2 pieces of parchment paper and place them oil side down on top of the fish.
- Bring up the bottom sides and fold twice with the top sides so that they're sealed well.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes.
- Serve filets in the parchment paper, so you can sop up all those yummy juices.