Sunday, March 13, 2022

ChezCindy: Shrimp & Cod Parchment Packets


The technique of cooking seafood, vegetables, and herbs together in a parchment paper packet is a French cooking process called 'en papillote'.  The process of sealing the ingredients within the paper packet creates steam from the natural juices released from the seafood and vegetables.  The ingredients mingle and mix, cooking quickly yielding a complete meal for your family and guests to enjoy.  The only accompaniment needed is some great bread to sop up all of the juices, while you soak up the praise. 

Shrimp & Cod en Papillote
4 4-ounce portions of skinless white flakey fish, cod or halibut
8 large shrimp (13-15 per pound) peeled and deveined
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1-2 small zucchini
1-2 small yellow squash
2 medium carrots, scrubbed and peeled
2 small shallots
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
fresh herbs, such as Italian parsley or basil 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place 4 sheets of parchment paper (approximately 16"x12" in size) on a work surface.  Fold each sheet in half crosswise, like a book.  Set aside.

Using a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini, squash, and carrot into ribbons by pulling the vegetable peeler across the length of each vegetable.  Peel the shallots and slice thinly. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. 

Working with the prepared parchment paper, open the folded sheets spacing each sheet in front of you to begin.  Divide the ribbons of zucchini, squash, carrot, (about ¼ cup total combined) and sliced shallot among the 4 sheets of parchment, placing the vegetables in the center just under the fold on one side of the paper.  Spread out the vegetable bundle into a thin layer, roughly 4x3-inches in size.  Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper, and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of oil.  Place one portion of fish on top of the vegetables.  Place 1 shrimp nestled at the right side of the fish and 1 shrimp nestled at the left side of the fish, using a total of 2 shrimp per packet.  Scatter the tomato halves around the fish and shrimp.  Drizzle the fish, shrimp and tomatoes with the remaining oil, sprinkling each fish packet with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper.  Place a 1/2 tablespoon of butter onto the top of each fish.  Add a 1/2 tablespoon of fresh herbs to each packet.  

Close the top half of the parchment paper over the fish and vegetables.  Begin crimping the parchment paper, starting at one corner of the folded edge, make small overlapping folds to close the open edges of the packet.  The paper will begin to resemble a half-moon shape.  Crimp the last edge for the final seal.

Place the sealed packets onto 2 large, rimmed baking sheets - 2 packets of fish per baking sheet.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.  This is where you'll want to toast some bread, ready for sopping up the juices.  Place one packet onto 4 separate plates.  Carefully, using scissors to cut open the top of each packet (steam will escape), keeping the fish and vegetables resting inside of the packet with its juices.  Serve as a full meal and enjoy.

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