Getting dinner on the table in a timely manner can be challenging enough when it's just you and your significant other. But when kids are involved it's even more pressing. I visited a dear friend of mine in California a few weeks ago, and we talked about how little time she has to cook for her husband and two adorable boys after getting home from work. She inquired about putting prep times on my recipes so that she could easily determine if a meal was going to be quick enough for a work night. I've often found prep times to be inaccurate when following recipes myself since everyone works at a different speed, so thus far I haven't included them.
But my rockstar businesswoman/mom friend had a great idea! While all of my recipes are pretty simple and straightforward, not every night allows for roasting squash in the oven or chopping until your knives are dull. So I've decided to introduce food. real quick, a category that allows all of you pressed-for-time cooks to get dinner on the table stat: in 30 minutes or less. Each speedy recipe will be labeled food. real quick at the top of the post, and can be easily referenced all together under the "RECIPES" tab at the top of the blog feed.
Here's the first food. real quick recipe: White Fish en Papillote. Don't get scared- "en papillote" simply means "in parchment," and essentially equates to less dishes. So really this is the ultimate quick recipe as the clean-up is also a piece of cake. I used cod, but feel free to substitute any firm white fish of your liking. The herbs can easily be interchanged as well. If basil isn't in season try parsley or cilantro, and be generous! The cooked herbs are delicious, as is the cooked lemon.
There are many videos online about how to fold your parchment packet. Some people have elaborate methods like cutting your paper into a large heart and making interlocking folds around the edges. Certainly effective, but that involves scissors... So unless you want to add a kids' craft project into the dinner-making process (which is certainly a viable option), I tend to suggest a simple folded rectangle. Call me old school... The ultimate goal is to create a seal such that the fish steams and the juices stay inside. However you wish is fine by me!
WHITE FISH EN PAPILLOTE
- 4 fillets (6 ounces each) skinless white fish such as cod or halibut
- 1 lemon, 1/2 sliced into rounds, the other 1/2 left whole
- a handful of fresh basil leaves
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place four pieces of parchment paper on the counter, with a fish fillet in the center of each. Drizzle each fillet with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Flip the fish over and give it a good rub so the fish is evenly covered. Squirt a bit of lemon juice over each, and toss a clove of minced garlic on each as well. Cover with a few basil leaves and slices of lemon.
Bring two opposing sides of your parchment together above your fish and fold under a few times so that you create a seam down the middle, leaving the ends open. Next fold the ends a few times and tuck them under the fish. (See note above for additional thoughts on parchment folding.)
Place your folded packets on a baking sheet, and pop them into the oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish. Serve the packets directly on your plates, or open them up and scoop out the contents for a parchment-free dinner table.