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Kirk's Traveling Kitchen News and Blog

Don't Eat the Paper


Here's one of my favorite warm weather fish preparations. The parchment acts as a convection oven and the halibut's natural juices make for a delicious and healthy sauce. Try it with all types of fish, as well as chicken or turkey.

Halibut en Papillote with Melted Fennel & Oven-Dried Tomato

Quantity Produced: Serves 6 As An Entree

Ingredients: Qty.\Weight
Halibut, Preferably Alaskan 6/ 6oz.

Ripe Tomato, Cut in ¼ 12 or sub favorite dried tomato
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 Tablespoons
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Fennel, Julienned 1 Bulb
Leek, Julienned (White & Pale Green Parts) 1 Leek
Celery, Julienned 1 Stalk
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 Tablespoon
White Wine or Dry Vermouth 3 Tablespoons
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Basil, Julienned (or Favorite Pesto) ¼ Cup
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Good Quality as needed
Fleur de Sel 2 Pinches

Preparation Procedure: Preheat oven to 325˚. On a parchment lined sheet pan, brush quartered tomatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh black pepper (if tomatoes are unripe sprinkle with a pinch of sugar). Bake until slightly dried 3 to 4 hours.
Turn oven to 400˚. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the julienned fennel, leek and celery heat over moderate heat until it starts to caramelize, 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from scorching. When there’s color, add white wine or vermouth, raise heat and cook until reduced. Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon, season to taste with salt and fresh pepper.
Cut 6 sheets of parchment papers into 12-inch circles. Season the halibut fillets with a pinch of salt. Take a sheet of parchment and fold it in half to create a crease. Place some of the fennel mixture on one side of the fold. Place a fillet on the julienned fennel. To seal up the packet, fold the other half of the parchment over the top to the edges meet. Start at the left and crimp the paper in ½ “ intervals. The finished packet will look like a large empanada. Transfer to baking sheet when finished. Brush the finished packets with olive oil and bake for 12 to 17 minutes (the packets will begin to brown and puff with air). To serve, cut each packet with a sharp knife or scissors. Top with basil or pesto, fresh grape tomatoes, a drizzle of good olive oil and sea salt.