Saturday, December 16, 2017
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Steam hake and green beans in parchment for a healthy meal

Associated Press

Admittedly, steamed fish doesn't exactly scream mouthwatering. But what it lacks in excitement it more than makes up for in health cred.

Steaming generally involves no added fat and is a great way of retaining all of the nutrients in your food. It's also relatively speedy.

One of the best ways to steam fish is what the French call en papillote (pronounced on pap-ee-oat), or literally "in parchment." In this simple method, fish is wrapped in a packet of parchment paper. As it cooks, the food releases juices. Those flavorful juices turn to steam and are trapped in the packet, cooking and flavoring the food, while keeping it moist.

You also can add other ingredients to flavor and cook alongside the fish, such as herbs, slices of lemon and vegetables. Because fish cooks quickly, it's a good idea to pick vegetables that are either thinly cut or tender; this helps them cook at the same speed as the fish. Try to avoid vegetables that give off too much liquid, such as spinach.

Chicken thighs and lamb also can be cooked in this manner, though they take longer.

Don't have any parchment handy? It's widely available alongside the plastic wrap at the grocer and is excellent for lining baking sheets when roasting foods or baking cookies (it's nonstick). But you also can use foil to make the packets. Whatever you choose, be sure not to wrap it too tightly.

For our dish, we went with hake, a firm white fish. We arranged it over a bed of seasoned green beans and topped it with a simple blend of fresh herbs and lemon. Other ideas could be par-cooked, thinly sliced potatoes, scallops and rosemary.

You also might julienne carrots, celery and pea pods and top with raw shrimp seasoned with garlic powder, cayenne and orange slices. For an all-vegetable option, you could do asparagus, sliced the long way, topped with sliced shiitake mushrooms, apple slices and chives.

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