The other day, Peter from Kalofagas did a delicious looking Grouper En Papillote. It reminded me of a Japanese dish with a similar preparation called Mushiyaki (pronounced moo-shi-yah-kee) which translates to “steam grilled”.
Traditionally wrapped in bamboo leaves and grilled over coals, this isn’t one of those recent transplants. Since I don’t have a bamboo tree in my yard (or any yard at all for that matter), I adapted a more French technique of wrapping the fish in parchment paper a la Fillet De Limande En Papillote. The flounder fillets are wrapped in parchment paper with some leeks and enoki mushrooms, along with some dashi infused soy sauce, sake and mirin. It’s then put in a hot oven so the steam from the liquids gently cooks the fish.
Since it’s not breaded and there’s no cooking oil used it’s low in carbs and fat which (aside from the sodium) qualifies it as healthy. I’m sure this comes as a welcome change after a week of deep fried foods here:-) It’s also great for dinner parties as it takes little work, can be prepared ahead of time and looks rather impressive when you unwrap it at the table.
- First cut the parchment paper into big circles. The way I do this is to first cut squares off the role by folding it into a triangle then cutting along the edge. Lay the square piece of parchment paper in front of you and fold it in half then in half again, which should give you a square piece of parchment paper 4 layers thick. Put it on a flat surface with the cut edges facing away from you then place a large bowl on top of the paper from one cut corner to the other, tracing the outline. Cut it out and you should have a perfect circle.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and move the rack to the bottom position.
- Lay a quarter of the mushrooms and leeks in the center then place a fillet of flounder on top. Fold the parchment paper over to make a "taco". Now, fold the two corners inside and up (see photo below) so it forms a boat.
- Start folding over the parchment paper from one corner and stop about two thirds of the way through. Add 1 Tbs of Mirin, 1 Tbs of sake and 2 tsp of dashi soy sauce into the pouch. If you don't have dashi soy sauce, you can use regular soy sauce with some dashi powder sprinkled in.
- Finish folding over the parchment paper then seal the end by tucking the edge under the final fold. Stand the pouches up on the seam (so the folded parts face up) on a baking sheet and put in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes (depending on how thick your fillets were).
- Remove from the oven and open the pouches up on a plate to serve, garnishing with some scallions, lemon zest, and shichimi togarashi. I usually serve this with a bowl of rice.