Thursday, November 3, 2011

New meal: Fish en Papillote

Sometimes, after a long day of work, especially toward the end of the week, it can be tough to get my act together enough to make dinner. There are many reasons for why I have frequently found myself in this scenario in the last few months. Oftentimes I'm running low on groceries by Thursday and so don't have much on hand. Sometimes I've had meetings elsewhere in the county in the afternoon, and my drive home takes me oh-so-conveniently near something easy and tasty, like Bread Co. And, yes, sometimes I just can't be bothered to focus on anything that is going to take me thirty minutes or more. So, yes, I don't end up with a proper dinner. Some days, I'll just eat toast. Other days are much, much worse.

But tonight I finally tried a recipe I'd been saving, and it's going to be my go-to meal for these late-in-the-week, no-advance-menu-plan nights. And it is called "fish en papillote," or fish in parchment paper.

The concept is simple: tear off a decent-sized piece of parchment paper. Right smack dab in the middle, lay a piece of uncooked fish. Either on top of or around the fish, add some veggies cut bite size, some thinly-sliced potatoes or sweet potatoes, perhaps a lemon wedge or two for the bright flavor. Drizzle the whole thing with olive oil and some pepper/salt/herbs, then wrap that baby up so the steam of a 400-degree oven will cook it all to perfection. It takes 20 minutes. Seriously.

The beauty of this meal is manifold. It's delicious, for one. It takes moments to assemble and a mere 20 minutes to cook, and there's something gratifying about opening a present to get to your dinner. Plus I can use up what random bits of veg and potatoes I've got hanging around. My local grocery store has a good fresh fish counter, so I can stop in on my way home from work no problem. It's quick, and it's cheap: 5 minutes in-store and $1.68 for my wild Alaskan cod fillet today. I will be gifting myself this meal many, many times this winter, I can already tell.

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