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February 23, 2010

Seafood success; If only I were a betting fool...

Tuesday! That means American Idol and dinner at home with a nice glass of wine and a good dinner. This may surprise you, but I am even the one cooking a good dinner!

My cooking skills are mediocre at best, I am able to make certain things pretty well but I tend to stick with basics and I often overcook everything. A lot. That's fine for a roast in the crockpot but not so fine with delicate foods and especially seafood.

I have discovered maybe the only foolproof way ever for me to cook fish without it becoming a rubbery, overcooked mess: Fish in papillote. I was watching the Food Network one day a few weeks ago and saw Melissa D'Arabian making this recipe and it looked easy enough for me to try it. And it's GREAT! I've become completely hooked on it. I get so tired of chicken or rice and beans all the time, which are my usual default dinners. (Or microwaved popcorn!) And awesomely enough, I found fresh Dover Sole at Whole Foods for $8.99 a pound, which is cheaper than the organic chicken I usually buy. And a pound of sole is a LOT of seafood. For just one person you only need 4 fillets or so at a time for two or three meals and that will run you about $4. This fish is very mild and the fillets are thinly cut so they cook quickly, too.

Before starting, I cut up a few carrots, some zucchini and a yellow bell pepper very thinly and put them in individual baggies to cut down on my prep time during the week. If you pre-cut your veggies over the weekend you could make this dish in under 5 minutes of prep and just 12 minutes of cooking time, which is about all I can do when I get home at night. Here are the ingredients I used:

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Parchment paper, baggies of zucchini, carrots and peppers, one lemon, old bay seasoning.

I put the fish on the parchment paper:
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The lemon I'm using is a Meyer Lemon, a little sweeter than a normal lemon. Squeeze half a small lemon on the fish and slice the other half into thin slices. Then sprinkle the fish with Old Bay and layer on a few lemon slices (I like lemony seafood, but you could cut down on the lemon and use white wine like in the Food Network recipe instead.)

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Top with veggies and a final lemon slice:

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Starting at one corner wrap the paper tightly so it makes a half-circle. It doesn't have to be perfect:

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I've been cooking mine on a cookie sheet (lined with foil, just in case it spills which it hasn't) and I cook it for 12 minutes in a 375 degree oven. The veggies won't be super soft, but lightly steamed and nice and colorful. This is the packet when it comes out of the oven:

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Slide it all onto a plate for a tasty dinner:

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It's a great dinner, and only takes me 15 minutes start to finish (with the vegetables pre-cut, of course.) And I feel like I'm eating a real meal. I am just not one of those people who thinks salad is a meal. To me, a salad is something you pick around out while waiting for your real meal to arrive.

In the photo above I'm having this fish with a baked potato because it was a weekend and I had some time. But I also made the rice with caramelized shallots recipe featured in the same Ten Dollar Dinners show with the fish and it was very good. I used brown basmati rice in place of white rice and it was delicious, the shallots add a nice sweetness to the nutty basmati rice. Rice is easy to heat up during the week for quick weeknight dinners and goes well with this fish, too. I have to say I am impressed enough with this dish that I would even serve it to company. Plus the best part of all is there is NO cleanup! No icky fish pan to clean, and the house doesn't smell like fish thank goodness.

- - -

I'm so glad I decided to watch American Idol this season! I have decided I'm going to make a preliminary call and say who I think will be in the top 5:

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Crystal is by far my favorite. I realize all this is totally premature since we haven't really heard any of them sing much but I thought I would call it now anyway and then at the end I could look back and see how close I was. I like to amuse myself with random prognosticating.

These two also make honorable mention:
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I like this show because it's so much fun to watch people with talent chasing their dreams. And Ellen's doing a great job, I think, as a judge. What do you think? Are you watching this season?


Posted by laurie at February 23, 2010 9:52 AM