Fancy doesn’t have to be complicated or gourmet. It’s really about using beautiful ingredients and treating them as simply as possible, so that the ingredients shine. And sometimes it’s also about using a different cooking technique in the kitchen, so that when you sit down to dinner, there is a real sense of accomplishment (usually judged by the smiles on your guests’ faces!).
As the first hints of spring appear, we begin to crave meals that are on the lighter side of things, with colour and brightness to put us in the mood for the season.
This halibut dish brings all of these elements together: a little on the fancy side, bright with colour and freshness, and unbelievably healthy. I served this dish the other day and used up just a few veggies that I had in my refrigerator: some celery, carrots, savoy cabbage and a beautiful tomato that I found from Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. Yes, local greenhouse tomatoes are starting to appear. The halibut comes from T&J Seafoods in Kitchener, but you can use any fresh, firm white fish such as tilapia, haddock or cod.
Finally, the method is ‘en papillote,’ referring to the method of encasing the ingredients in parchment paper or foil and then ‘steaming’ them in the oven. It’s a wonderful way to gently cook fish, keeping it moist.
Pre-heat oven to 425°F;
Tear two sheets of parchment paper, about 16”x16” and fold each in half;
Close to the fold and in the middle of the papers, divide the vegetables amongst the two sheets in a small pile;
Place the fish on top of the vegetables and then sprinkle with the lemon juice, chives, and salt and pepper;
Begin to fold the parchment paper: fold the top half over the fish and then starting at one point, begin to fold the edges over top of each other, making a fold every 2 inches or so. You should be left with a little ‘tail’ at the end to tuck underneath the whole package. The package should look like a half heart;
Place the packages on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes; remove, carefully slide onto a plate and, using scissors, cut into the middle of the package and inhale the beautiful aroma of what’s inside;
Serve with rice, couscous or boiled potatoes and drizzle good extra virgin olive oil around the plate.
- 2 six-oz halibut filets
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 celery stick, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
- 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
- juice of one lemon
- 2 tbsp fresh chives, minced (optional)
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil (optional), for drizzling