Trout with Lime in Parchment Paper
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 12 minutes
Parchment cookery—cooking en papillote—is part of the French culinary repertory, and although it sounds fancy-pantsy, but nothing could be simpler. Or healthier. It’s steaming your food in a packet full of aromatic herbs and spices.
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons guajillo chili powder
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 cup good-quality canned, diced tomatoes, drained, San Marzano preferred
2 cloves garlic, peeled, halved, and grated, any green centers discarded
2 large or 3 medium limes, washed well and cut into ⅛-inch rounds
4 trout fillets, cleaned and boned (see Kitchen Tip), or 4 small mild, white fish fillets (about 2 pounds total)
1 tablespoon pumpkin seed oil (or any nut oil you prefer)
1 teaspoon chopped pickled jalapeños (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon chopped pickled carrots (or more to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil.
- Mix the cumin, chili powder and salt together and set aside.
- Layer 4 (11-by-17-inch) pieces of parchment paper, fold them in half and, starting from the fold and working outward, cut out half an oval; then unfold the parchment to reveal 4 full ovals. Place 1 parchment oval on a work surface and arrange a fourth of the cilantro sprigs on one side, leaving the other half bare. Top with ¼ cup of the tomatoes and about ½ clove grated garlic. Arrange 4 to 5 lime slices on top. Place the trout fillet on top of the lime and sprinkle each with one-fourth of the spice mixture.
- Fold the unfilled half of the parchment over the fish to make a half-oval, and seal the edge by tucking and rolling (or bending) it inward to make a package (like a calzone). Repeat the the remaining parchment and ingredients.
- When all of the parchment packages have been filled and sealed, place them on the prepared baking sheets. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until the parchment packages have puffed and browned slightly.
- Cut open the packages, working carefully so that you avoid any escaping steam. Drizzle each with oil and serve immediately with the diced pickled vegetables.
- To remove pin bones from a fillet of fish such as trout, salmon or arctic char, place the fillet on a work surface. Run your finger along the the top (not the underbelly or the tail) and you will feel the tiny bones, no bigger than a pin. With fish tweezers or tongs, grasp one pin bone firmly and pull toward the head end of the fish; don’t pull toward the tail because the bones don’t face that way and they will snap in half. Gently but firmly pull out the bones one by one. If one does happen to snap, feel for the piece you left behind and with your finger and pull it out.
- It used to be exotic, but you can buy parchment paper in most supermarkets, either on a roll or in sheets. (If you buy sheets, use the 11-by-17-inch, so you’ll have room to cut the ovals. In a pinch, you can use aluminum foil packets, but some folks’ taste buds aren’t fond of citrus cooked in aluminum foil.