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Archive for Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Steamed hake packs in the flavor

May 9, 2012

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Admittedly, steamed fish doesn’t exactly scream mouthwatering. But what it lacks in excitement it more than makes up for in health cred.

Steaming generally involves no added fat and is a great way of retaining all of the nutrients in your food. It’s also relatively speedy.

One of the best ways to steam fish is what the French call en papillote (pronounced on pap-ee-oat), or literally “in parchment.” In this simple method, fish is wrapped in a packet of parchment paper. As it cooks, the food releases juices. Those flavorful juices turn to steam and are trapped in the packet, cooking and flavoring the food, while keeping it moist.

For our dish, we went with hake, a firm white fish. We arranged it over a bed of seasoned green beans and topped it with a simple blend of fresh herbs and lemon. Other ideas could be par-cooked, thinly sliced potatoes, scallops and rosemary.

Hake en Papillote

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 1/2 pound small green beans, trimmed
  • Pinch smoked paprika
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Four 4-ounce hake fillets
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 small sprigs fresh marjoram
  • 4 lemon slices
  • Heat the oven to 375 F.
  • Cut 4 large pieces parchment paper, about 12-by-20-inches each. Fold each in half the short way.
  • In a small bowl, toss the green beans with the paprika. Season with salt and black pepper. Open each sheet of parchment similar to a book. Arrange a quarter of the beans on one half of each sheet of parchment, placing them close to the fold line. Top each pile with a hake fillet. Season again with salt and black pepper.
  • Top each fillet with a sprig of thyme, a mint leaf, a sprig of marjoram and a slice of lemon. Fold the parchment packets closed like a book again. Starting at one end of the fold, fold the edges of the paper together every couple of inches, creating a seam all the way around. Tuck the last end under and place on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. To serve, place each packet on a serving plate and tear open at the center.

Nutrition information per serving: 120 calories; 10 calories from fat (8 percent of total calories); 1 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 65 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrate; 22 g protein; 3 g fiber; 200 mg sodium.

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