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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Good Recipe, Poor Photography

My pictures don't do this dish justice. But this is such a dang fine recipe that I'm going to post about it anyway. Jewel has had frozen Orange Roughy fillets on sale ($5.79/lb) for the past week and I decided to pick some up to keep in the freeze for a quick weeknight dinner. Orange Roughy is a mild-flavored white fish that is easy to cook all sorts of ways. It can be pan-sauteed, baked, steamed or probably even fried (since it is a type of perch) although I haven't done that. It is a thin flexible fillet that can be wrapped nicely around a stuffing. You often will see it with simple butter and lemon preparation. But I'm always looking for something new to tickle my tastebuds and I came across this recipe that steams the fillets in foil. The recipe is for Lime-scented Orange Roughy with Spinach. Basically, in a pan, you saute some carrots until almost cooked and add some garlic and spinach until that wilts. Then you use that as a base inside your foil packet. The uncooked fillets sit on top of the veggies and you drizzle a lime/scallion/ginger/mirin (a sweet japanese cooking wine that you can find in the asian section of any supermarket) mix on top. The packet is sealed up and goes in the oven to cook. I changed this by sauteeing red pepper strips instead of carrots and I also added some cilantro sprigs on top of this fish which greatly enhanced the aroma when we unsealed the packets. I decided to go with the foil packets although my inner food stylist yelled "MUCH THE PRETTIER IN PARCHMENT!!" Next time. Oh well, hence my not so attractive shots of a very good dinner. The aromatic lime mixture mingles with the fish juices to make a great sauce and you have the spinach and peppers (which, I failed to capture in the shot,) so it is a whole meal in a packet. I've done many a fish packet and this is the most delicious one I've ever tasted. I picked up some more Orange Roughy in anticipation of making this again soon. By the way, it could also be done with tilapia, grouper or another white flaky fish of your liking.

Lime-Scented Orange Roughy and Spinach

Cooking en papillote (in parchment) helps the citrus rind and juice lend aroma and flavor to the spinach and fish. Here, we use heavy-duty foil to make the packets for the fish and spinach because it's easy to find and handle.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 (10-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
4 (6-ounce) orange roughy fillets
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 lime wedges

Preheat oven to 400°.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrot; sauté 2 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 15 seconds. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and spinach; sauté 2 minutes or until spinach wilts.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, green onions, and next 4 ingredients (through grated ginger).
Fold 4 (16 x 12-inch) sheets heavy-duty foil in half lengthwise. Open foil; place about 1/2 cup spinach in center of each foil sheet. Top each with 1 fillet. Drizzle mirin mixture evenly over fillets; sprinkle evenly with black pepper. Fold foil over fillets; tightly seal edges. Place foil packets in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with lime wedges.

Yield: 4 servings
CALORIES 221 (20% from fat); FAT 4.9g (sat 0.5g,mono 3.3g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 27.6g; CHOLESTEROL 34mg; CALCIUM 138mg; SODIUM 470mg; FIBER 3.4g; IRON 2.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 13.3g

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2005

Notes from the kitchen:

- I used thin slices of red pepper instead of carrots. I just think it goes better with the whole tone of the dish.

- Instead of the baby spinach. I use a bunch of regular more mature spinach. That holds up better and doesn't get that tissue-like texture with sauteeing. It is going to essentially get double-cooked, because you first saute and then it steams in the packet. So just barely cook it in the pan. HARDLY AT ALL would be best. I think with baby spinach you could almost put pack it up raw, but it will release water, so I don't know if I'd risk it.

- A few sprigs of cilantro really elevate this dish. Lime and cilantro are a natural pairing and when you open the packet the aroma jumps out at you.

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Made by Lena