I was never a fish eater. Not really. Unless you counted fried catfish, but that’s more about the fried than the catfish. But now I’ve found the cure for my anti-fishy ways. This dish is so good I could eat it twice a week. Really.
No, that’s not fried rice in the picture. It’s another of my new obsessions. Rice made with Lapsang Souchong tea. Lapsang Souchong is a smoked Chinese tea that is best with salty, spicy foods. That makes it perfect for this fish dish. I’ve seasoned the fish with a paprika-based spice blend called Bayou Seafood. Bayou Seafood has a nice undercurrent of citrus to it. Other times I’ve used a more aromatic blend, Grilled Fish Seasoning. Both are great, but you can use whatever seasoning blend is your favorite.
To make the rice: Make 1½ cups of tea according to package directions. Place ¾ cup rice (I used Jasmine, but use whatever you have) in rice cooker and pour tea over rice. Cook according to your rice cooker. Let cool. It’s best to make this earlier in the day and hold at room temperature until ready to assemble fish packets.
Before assembling packets, watch this video. It demonstrates it so much better than I can in words. This is how I do it.
Fish en Papillote
- 1 lb fish of choice (drum, catfish, sole, cod, halibut, well sourced tilapia are all good choices), seasoned well with seasoning of choice
- 1 small onion, minced
- ¼ cup olive oil (I use lemon olive oil)
- 1 T butter
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- Pre-made rice, at room temperature
- 4 18″ pieces of parchment, cut into heart shapes
Place onion, olive oil and butter in a small microwavable bowl. Cook in microwave about 1-2 minutes until onion is soft. You can also do this in a small skillet on the stovetop. Melt butter with olive oil, add onion and cook until onion is soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.
Place rice on the bottom of the heart shaped parchment, place about ½ cup spinach over rice. Arrange fish pieces over spinach in criss-cross pattern, top with 2 T of the olive oil/onion mixture. Close parchment and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425˚ for 12-15 minutes until fish is done.
- You can use any vegetable you’d like. I’ve used squash and zucchini cut into very small strips with excellent results. Use whatever you have on hand.
- Yes, I know all about the farm-raised tilapia. That’s why I only source it from reputable vendors. That is tilapia in the photo. I got it at Whole Foods. I trust them. Never buy tilapia from China. Ever.
It doesn’t take a very pretty picture, but trust me on this. It’s delicious!