When I was having chimichurri recently I reckoned it would go really well with white fish fillets. Perhaps it does. As I’d bought a pack of four frozen basa fillets yesterday I decided to do a trial run with one of them for sups last night as I’d never tasted them before. And so glad I did as chimichurri would be way too strong in flavour.Instead, I went with flat leaf parsley, garlic, capers and green finger chillies, which left only the capers with loads of flavour. Until I buy a hand-held stick blender or immersion blender next Friday, with an all important attachment bowl to be able to make hummus, dips and pastes this is a good attempt at something I’ll definitely be making every other week. Partly as these Basa Fillets En Papillote are so easy to prepare. And it only takes about 10 – 15 minutes to roast in a preheated oven (times vary according to how thick the fillets are).
The one ingredient I knew I should have bought in was a jar of green olives. Those are definitely needed here for their slightly sour taste. What was absolutely perfect were the courgettes (zucchini) cut into thick slices and pan-fried in a little oil. Once they were nicely golden, and allowed to catch slightly, they were transferred to a differing saucepan and kept warm. A tablespoon of water was added to the pan that cooked them and all of the flavour and sediment was grabbed and added to the basa fillets to keep them moist during roasting. Along with olive oil during cooking and a knob of butter afterwards. This was full of flavour and incredibly delicate all at the same time. I would prefer to cover the fillets lightly with a paste purely as the other flavours would blend more evenly. Especially as there is so little cooking time involved. I will update this post with a recipe for a paste within the next couple of weeks. Until then, I’m perfectly happy to feast on something so light and tasty.
Basa Fillets En Papillote, with capers, finger chilli, garlic and flat leaf parsley
- 2 x 100g each (3.52 oz each) basa fillets, thawed if bought frozen
- 3 – 4 x smallish stems flat leaf parsley, stems and leaves used, rinsed
- 2 x garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 x finger chilli (Scoville heat rating 50,000), washed and sliced (remove the seeds for less heat)
- couple of handfuls x capers, chopped, more or less to personal taste
- handful x green pitted olives, chopped, more or less to personal taste
- olive oil
- 1 x tablespoon water to deglaze and create a cooking liquor from the pan that fried the courgettes (zucchini)
- freshly squeezed lime juice, about half a small lime
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 x pieces parchment paper squares of 30 x 30cm or 12 x 12 ins
- salted butter, to serve
- olive oil
- 2 x smallish – medium courgettes (zucchini), washed, trimmed, cut in half crossways, each half sliced in half lengthways, then each piece sliced again into thick slices
- up to 400g (14.11 oz) x organic new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into discs about 4mm or 2/10ths in in thickness
- lime wedges, to serve
- both sea salt and black pepper
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- If going with potato discs they take the longest to cook. Put a heavy-based pan/skillet on electric heat No 3 (out of 6) and when hot add a little oil. Place the potatoes in and give them around 15 minutes each side, reducing heat to No 2, if necessary, when turning them over.
- Preheat oven to 220°C, 430°F.
- Put another heavy-based pan on heat No 3 and when hot pour in a little oil. Place the courgettes slices into the pan and allow about 7 minutes each side. At this stage they don’t need to be fully cooked. When nicely golden transfer to a pan or suitable bowl to keep warm and to finish off cooking, add the tablespoon of water to deglaze their pan and set aside.
- After preparing the parchment paper place a fillet on each, drizzle with olive oil, add the other ingredients, including both the lime juice and cooking liquor from the courgettes, and start to wrap, just like you would with a small present (for the proper way of enclosing the fish see next bulleted step below). If necessary secure the flaps with toothpicks. Carefully place into a suitable roaster and place in the preheated oven second shelf down, if using electric. Set timer for 10 minutes. If fillets are fairly thick allow another 5 minutes.
- Fold the parchment paper in half, place the fish in the centre of one half and bring both sides of parchment together. From one open end start to fold over 2.5cm or one inch sections, pressing down hard and creasing the paper. Keep doing that along the open edge until the fish is completely enclosed. It should resemble a half crescent shape. I find it easier to do the step above!
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