Cooking en papillote may seem like an outdated technique, said Keith Dresser in Cook’s Illustrated. Yet food “baked in a tightly sealed, artfully folded parchment package” has outlasted countless fads. Allowing cod essentially to cook in its own juices is “an easy, mess-free way to enhance delicate flavors.” It also leaves no fishy odors. Using aluminum foil may not be as glamorous as parchment, but it is a serviceable way to create an airtight seal. Also, foil does not require you to have the patience and skill of an origami master. This recipe will also work for haddock, red snapper, halibut, or sea bass, as long as the fillets are 1- to 1¼-inches thick.
Recipe of the week
Cod Baked in Foil With Leeks and Carrots
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1¼ tsp finely grated zest from 1 lemon; lemon cut into wedges
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves
Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts halved lengthwise, washed, and cut into matchsticks
4 tbsp vermouth or dry white wine
4 skinless cod fillets, 1- to 1¼-inches thick (about 6 oz each)
Combine butter, ¼ tsp zest, 1 tsp garlic, thyme, ¼ tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper in small bowl. Combine parsley, remaining teaspoon zest, remaining teaspoon garlic in another small bowl; set aside. Place carrots and leeks in medium bowl, season with salt and pepper, and toss together.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut eight 12-inch sheets of foil; arrange four flat on counter. Divide carrot and leek mixture among foil sheets, mounding in center of each. Pour 1 tbsp vermouth over each mound of vegetables.
Pat fish dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper and place one fillet on top of each vegetable mound. Spread quarter of butter mixture on top of each fillet. Place second square of foil on top of fish; crimp edges together in ½-inch fold, then fold over three more times to create a packet about 7 inches square. Place packets on rimmed baking sheet (overlapping slightly if necessary).
Bake packets 15 minutes. Carefully open foil, allowing steam to escape away from you. Using thin metal spatula, gently slide fish and vegetables onto plate with any accumulated juices; sprinkle with parsley mixture. Serve immediately, passing lemon wedges separately. Serves 4.