Bensonhurst Kitchen: Cod In Parchment Paper

Whenever the subject of cod fish is brought up, I can’t help but think of Massachusetts’ Cape Cod – which is actually not too far off.

Large stocks of Atlantic cod were instrumental in the settling of New England’s – and by extension Long Island’s – coastal fishing villages, including Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay.

Dried and salted cod is known as clipfish or klippfisk in England and Norway, and baccalà, bacalhau or bacalao in Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Beginning in Viking times, it was traded in the markets of Europe, and with the fate of empires dependent on access to its fishing grounds, the humble cod was sometimes compared to gold.

As a nod to the importance of the cod fish, as well as to wonderful technologies like refrigeration that allow even the landlocked access to unsalted seafood, this week Colleen will show you how easy it is cook some nice fresh cod in parchment paper.

Baking fish is a healthy alternative to frying it, and while I’m a sucker for some battered fish and chips, there’s really nothing like the simple act of making your fish dish in the oven with a little lemon and garlic. The results will have you ready for seconds, instead of begging for mercy on behalf of your poor chicken-fried stomach.

Colleen’s Cod In Parchment Paper (aka Cod En Papillote

(serves one person per packet)

Ingredients:

1 piece of parchment paper approximately 15 inches long
1 cod fillet (approximately 6 ounces)
1 tablespoon butter, diced
1 clove of garlic minced
1/8 teaspoon lemon pepper
3 thin slices of lemon, seeds removed
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tablespoon white wine
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Fold parchment paper in half and crease it in the center. Unfold.

In a small bowl mix minced garlic, lemon pepper, lemon juice and white wine. Set aside.

Place fish fillet on one-half of each sheet near crease.

Place butter in pieces on the fillet, then spread the garlic mixture over each fillet. Lay lemon slices on the top of the fillet.

Fold over other half of parchment paper to enclose ingredients. Fold parchment paper in 1/2 inch pieces on all sides, twice. Secure the folded sides with either staples or paper clips. It is important that the folds are secure as to not allow any liquids leak out.

Bake the packet on a cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes.  The parchment paper will turn brown in some places.

Place parchment packet on a dinner plate. Carefully cut the top of the packet to allow steam to escape. Serve immediately.

TIPS:

Want more of a punch of spice on your fillet?  Add a small pinch of Cajun seasoning to the garlic mixture. My personal favorite is Slap Ya Mama’s Original Blend.

To make an already healthy dish even healthier, substitute half or all of the butter with olive oil.

You can cook most any fish with any type of seasonings using the parchment paper method. Let your imagination and taste buds run wild.  Add some fresh vegetables or fresh herbs.  The possibilities are endless!

Recipe and tips by Colleen

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