My oldest child Lyman has a taste for fish. She likes it fresh and soft, cooked with a little more than a splash of wine and a pinch of salt most of the time. Tonight was a special dinner; Lyman just finished her summer internship in Manhattan. As the Jitney she was riding turned off the L.I.E. and headed for the Sunrise Highway, we traded text messages. I asked her what she wanted for dinner. She responded, “Should we do fish?” followed by, “Will you bring some of the lovely Rosé home, too?”
I chose halibut because it’s my favorite. We keep a box of parchment paper on hand at the Little Kitchen for all kinds of uses. Sometimes it lines a sheet pan for drying herbs. Sometimes it is used to make it easier to remove a batch of brownies from a pan. Tonight, parchment came in handy as we cooked — or actually steamed — our halibut.
The Little Kitchen’s garden is full of squash, onions, tomatoes and basil. Cooking fish in parchment requires more than the fish, so the gardens’ contribution made our meal perfect.
For your meal, start with whatever vegetables you wish to use. Soften them in a sauté pan with butter (or oil) and add the herb at the end. Season to your liking. Then, place the parchment over a roasting dish and lay the warm vegetables on the paper. Follow with the fish filet. The filet should be cut into pieces a little thicker than your thumb. Sprinkle with salt, then hit it with a squeeze of lemon. Close the package with a fold. Then add a second tighter fold to seal. Now place the roasting dish in an oven that has been preheated to 375 degrees F.
The fish will be ready by the time it takes to make a small pot of rice and toss a salad. As for my dinner for Lyman, I also cut off the kernels of six ears of corn. I added three tablespoons of butter and seasoned the corn with salt and pepper. Then I tossed the corn into the oven in a matching roasting dish wrapped in parchment, too.
HALIBUT ROASTED IN PARCHMENT
2.5-pounds halibut filet (cut into 12 pieces)
1 large tomato (diced)
2 zucchini squash (diced)
6 scallions (chopped)
1/4-cup fresh basil (chopped)
3-Tbs unsalted butter
1 small red pepper (seeded and diced)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon (juiced)
Roast at 375 degrees F for 12-15 minutes.