Cod is a wonderfully versatile fish – mild in flavor, firm texture, easy to prepare in many different ways. Icelandic cod was the offering from Hooked on Fish, larger and leaner than its cousin, the more familiar and overfished Atlantic cod.
I always enjoy the opportunity to cook things en papillotte (in paper), so was happy to find this easy yet elegant recipe for Mediterranean Cod Packets. (I guess “packet” is the down-home name for papillotte. Like when Charles III becomes Chucky to his pals.)
I had a little trouble with the packet-folding and had to resort to the stapler. I wasn’t sure if I should admit that, but hey, this is a “tell it like it is” kind of website after all.
Continue reading for the rest of the story, the recipe, plenty of pictures, and a fishing ditty for your listening pleasure.
Here’s a helpful how-to video from Bon Appetit demonstrating the technique. They make it look so easy! I should practice more. Click on the photos to enlarge them and read the captions.
Recipe source: Food Network Magazine
- 1 pound small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced about ½-inch thick
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
- 4 skinless center-cut wild cod fillets (about 6 ounces each)
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
- 1 15 -ounce can cherry tomatoes – Note: I used fresh cherry tomatoes and a few tablespoons of tomato paste thinned with water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Toss the potatoes in a bowl with onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, the red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Put the cod on a plate; drizzle with lemon juice and season with salt, pepper and the thyme.
- Tear off four 16-inch sheets of parchment paper. Make the packets as listed below and/or see how-to video.
- Fold parchment paper in half, crease well. Cut into a large heart shape.
- Open the heart and arrange about one-quarter of the potato mixture on the parchment near the center crease. Top with a cod fillet and about one-quarter each of the olives and tomatoes (along with some liquid from the can). Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
- Fold the other half of the heart over the food. Seal the packet with tight overlapping folds all the way around.
- Repeat to make 3 more packets; divide between 2 baking sheets.
- Transfer to the oven and bake until the parchment puffs and the liquid is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before opening.
- Meanwhile, mix the butter, chives, lemon zest and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Carefully open the packets; top with the chive butter.
Make-Ahead Note: You can assemble any of these parchment packets up to 4 hours ahead and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before baking.