Fish in a Parcel

Fish in a Parcel

How on earth are we at the end of March? A whole quarter of 2018 done and dusted.

March has been a busy month. I've actually been out of the country as much as I have been in it - which, you would have thought, would have given me inspiration to cook as I ate abroad. Perhaps some plantain with mango salsa from Barbados? Some raclette from the french ski chalets? Some inventive use of hams from Iberia? Alas, no.

When you're away, sometimes you just want the simple things when you get back - and this is a recipe I return to when I just want to keep things simple: fish in a parcel.

Personally I really like to use sea bass or trout, but here's the full list of what you'll need (per portion).

Main bits:
  • A fish, obviously (can be fillets if you aren't a fan of bones!)
  • A handful of baby potatoes
  • Half a fennel bulb
  • Half of a small red onion

To coat the fish:
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of a half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

To Garnish:
  • Some crème fraîche
  • Lemon wedges (which you can grab from the lemon you use for the zest)
  • Green salad or pea shoots

First things first you need to open a beer parboil or steam the potatoes and whilst you do that you can turn the oven to 200 degrees celcius.You can start the general food prep whilst that bubbles away.

Get some greaseproof paper and cut it roughly 10-15cm longer than the fish, and pop it on a baking . You can use foil but I think the greaseproof paper is more presentationally pleasing and holds the juices better. Mix a glug of the olive oil with the seasoning and lemon zest them rub all over the fish, inside and out, then place the fish in the middle of the paper length ways on the baking tray.

Once the potatoes have cooked and cooled you can slice them and then cut up the onion and fennel into similar size pieces. Pick off some of the flora tips of the fennel, save them for decoration on the plate. As an alternative you could substitute for other harder veg, even leeks if you wanted - go get creative!

Now you'll need to "fill" the fish with the veg. What doesnt fit, feel free to stuff what you can around the outside. You then need to make your parcel, which is done by bringing the edges of the paper together and fold over to form a sealed parcel, twisting the ends together so it looks a bit like a sweet. I like to use string to keep the parcel closed at the ends - a prettier way to stop the juices leaking and keeping the heat in.

Pop the parcel into the middle of the oven and bake for 20-22 mins (depending on the size of the fish). Once it is out you can pop the parcel directly onto the plate open it up and dollop a hearty portion of crème fraîche, a squeeze of lemon and your salad garnish on the side. Add the sprigs of fennel flora and you're all set. Easy, right?

Hope you like it, happy eating x