Monday, April 23, 2012

Fish in a Packet for Two

Did you know that I love cooking? I do! I really love cooking. (Now cleaning up is a whole 'nother story!) I don't know why I haven't blogged about cooking more, but I intend to start.

Here's a quick and easy recipe I made for dinner last night. It's strongly based on Asian Fish in a Packet from Moosewood's Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day. Which, incidentally is a great starting point for vegetarian and pescatarian dishes - most are little bland and need of some tweaking but delicious when you add some extra seasonings.

So. Fish in a Packet. Let's do this!

First up, undercook some brown rice. You want it pretty al dente because you're going to cook it a second time with the fish. I used a cup of short grain brown rice and 1 1/4 cups water.

Next, preheat the oven to 450 F.

While the rice is cooking and the oven is heating, prep your veggies and stuff. You're going to want:

1 baby bok choy, sliced.
2 carrots, sliced
2 handfuls of mushrooms, sliced (I like cremini mushrooms, but you could also use shitakes or plain old white mushrooms)
2-4 fresno chilies sliced into rings (Taste for spiciness! These little suckers are hard to predict. Bell peppers or jalapenos can be substituted, if you like.)
4-5 green onions, sliced
4-5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
fresh ginger, finely chopped (about the same amount as the garlic)

In a small jar or bowl or heck, even a teacup, mix together:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Wash 2 tilapia fillets and pat them dry. Set aside for now.

Next, and this is very important, take the ends of your carrots and balance them on your dogs nose. Like so:

When your rice is done and your oven is hot it's time to assemble your fish packets. Get out a cookie sheet - the kind with the rim around the edge, not the kind things slide off of. Then get out some aluminum foil. Cut off 4 big pieces - each around 2 feet long. Place them on the cookie sheet like so, with one on top of the other so it's doubled up.

In the center of each foil, layer half of your ingredients in the following order so that the ones that need to most moisture are on the bottom and the ones that need less are on the top.
1. rice - (I only used about 2/3 of the rice I cooked)
2. carrots
3. mushrooms
4. bok choy
5. fish fillets
6. sauce (mix it up really well before spooning it on)
7. top with garlic, ginger, peppers and green onions

Fold it up starting with the long ends and then rolling up the short sides. Pop it in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

While you're waiting, pour yourself a beer and watch an episode of Samantha Who on Netflix. Because Christina Applegate is hilarious.

After 20 minutes, check for doneness. I totally recommend a handy dandy kitchen thermometer. Your fish should be at least 145 F. Mine usually reads much higher than that, but the packet keeps it nice and moist so don't worry about it drying out. If you don't have a thermometer, your veggies should be tender and the fish shouldn't be translucent any more.

You can eat it out of the foil if you like or you can (carefully!) transfer it to a plate.

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