Saturday, July 21, 2018
Health

For premium results, cook fish in a packet

We all know that eating fish several times a week is a healthy goal. But a lot of otherwise accomplished home cooks still find cooking fish a bit intimidating. The biggest worry? Drying it out.

I'd love to say that this fear is unfounded, but truth is it's easy to overcook fish. This is why I always pull the fish out a minute or two before I think it's done. Usually, that will result in moist, tender fish.

Another trick: en papillote, or the packet method of cooking. Cooking fish en papillote is an easy way to increase the margin of error, that window when the fish is cooked but not overcooked. That's because cooking the fish in a tightly sealed packet creates a dome of steam that gently cooks the fish and any other ingredients in the packet, keeping all those tasty juices right inside.

En papillote traditionally is done using kitchen parchment, but foil packets are handy and can get tossed on the grill in summer. Just be aware that foil can react with acid, so if you are using a lot of lemon juice, it's better to go with parchment (but not for the grill).

For each packet, spray a heavy-duty piece of foil with cooking spray. Then set a serving of fish on top, followed by any other ingredients you like. I like to include a sauce or paste, an aromatic and some finely chopped veggies. If the veggies are heartier, such as sweet potatoes, parcook them first. (A quick microwave steam is fine.)

Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."

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