Sea Trout parcels (or salmon, or trout, or….)

Sea Trout Parcels:

You can use quite a number of different fish here.  It is easy, quite quick, safe, doesn’t stink out the kitchen/house/flat and won’t break the bank.

Prep:           15 mins.

Cooking:      30 mins.

Course:        Lunch/Main/Supper/Dinner party

Serves:        As many as the number of fish pieces….

Rating:         2.  Easy.  Just have confidence and it’ll be great.

This method – en papillotte/en poche – is a favourite way to cook most types of fish.  See the ‘salmon in a dishwasher’ recipe for the ultimate fish parcel.

Find:

  • One portion of trout/salmon/sea trout/sea bream/sea bass/marckerel/whatever fish per person.  With or without skin but definitely without bones.
  • White wine – a splash, or perhaps a little vermouth instead, especially if you have the vermouth and don’t have fennel seeds…….
  • Lemon – or lemon juice from a bottle if pushed
  • A few fennel seeds….. perhaps up to 10 per parcel – be careful with them
  • Seasonings
  • A tiny splash of olive oil
  • Foil to make the parcels
  • Baking tray
  • Oven
  • Kitchen
  • Gas or electricity…..or wood….peat?

Method:

  • Set the oven to 200 dges C and switch it on (it helps….)
  • Rinse and pat dry the fish portions.
  • If cooking a whole fish on the bone, ensure that it has been gutted, washed and de-scaled fully and completely first.  Sea bream/sea trout especially.
  • Take a length of foil, longer than it is wide so that there is plenty of room for air inside the parcel, and lightly oil it in the middle.  Crimp up the corners to make a sort of tray – you don’t want the liquid contents to escape.
  • Place the fish portion into it, skin side down (whether it has skin or not).
  • Cut the lemon into slices and place a slice on each fish portion.  If it’s a whole fish, pop a bit into the cavity as well.  If you don’t have a lemon, you can use bottled lemon (or lime) juice instead.
  • Splash some white wine or vermouth over the fish.  Don’t drown it. (HA!  How can you drown a fish when it’s dead, eh…..don’t be silly, Colin!)
  • Sprinkle the fennel seeds evenly.
  • Season with a little salt (milled sea salt is best, but…..) and an amount  of freshly milled black pepper or 5 bais (See Tricks’n’Tips….)
  • Wish it a bonne voyage, and carefully fold in the ends and the top of the package.  It should be fairly securely sealed, but don’t get paranoid about it.  It’ll be in the oven, on a baking tray and won’t be jumping around a great deal, so it shouldn’t leak.
  • Put all packages onto the baking tray and pop into the middle of the oven and leave it for half an hour or so.  Not long enough to nip down t’pub, but long enough to crack a tinnie or pop a cork…….  But you have the rest of the meal to get ready, so have your tipple as you get a wiggle on…..
  • After 30 mins or so, take the baking tray out of the oven and put each parcel onto its own plate and let everyone oopen their own parcel.
  • This is lovely served with a nice, light Basmati/jasmine  rice, together with posh veg.  The sauce will be lovely, the fish gorgeous and the faces of the diners a picture….especially as their glasses will steam up when opening their parcels.
  • Oh yes, and have a bowl of cold water ready for them to plunge their scalded fingertips into as the resultant steam takes their skin off!

Lemony Chicken Parcels:

Lemony Chicken Parcels:

PICTURE 15

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      30 mins.

Course:        Main

Serves:         2

Rating:         2:  Easy

For two people, find:-

  • 2 skinned chicken breasts (see Tricks’n’Tips for thawing out chicken and for making them behave and taste better too)
  • One or two lemons (or use lemon juice from a bottle)
  • Butter and oil
  • Seasonings
  • A splash of white wine if it’s about?
  • Fresh Tarragon herb if you can get some from next door’s garden whilst they’re not looking…
  • Aluminium cooking foil
  • Oven tray

Method:

  • Take about 35 cms (a foot) of kitchen foil per person, laying them out on the kitchen surface.
  • Drizzle with a little oil and place on piece of chicken in the centre of each.
  • Slice the lemon and place over the top of the chicken breasts. Pull up the foil a bit to make a bit of a bowl shape to keep the liquids in, and then give each one a splash of white wine if you have it.
  • Season to taste – I use a good amount of ground black pepper here, just a little salt – drop a knob of butter on each followed by a sprig of tarragon if you have managed to nick a couple.
  • Pull the foil up to join in the centre and make a parcel, folding over the foil at the ends to keep it all airtight and leak-proof.
  • Place them onto an oven tray and put into a pre-heated oven at about gas mk 4 for about 30 minutes or so – a little longer won’t hurt.
  • With a little salad on each plate, serve the parcels just opened slightly so that the diners don’t get a scalding burst of steam as they open them.  Unless they wear glasses…….. then they’re fair game for it!

Don’t eat the foil.