We had a very special guest who came to visit last week – my sister. Not only did her visit motivate me to make our guest room resemble an actual bedroom rather than an office/college dorm, but it also prompted me to start planning out our meals together. My sister, a talented sommelier, really knows her wines and she has great taste in food, so needless to say, I was really feeling the pressure. I planned to take her to all of my favorite restaurants in the area, and then to make her a nice dinner at home on her last night in town. I ran a list of potential recipes through my mind for days prior to her arrival, but I just couldn’t settle on one. I don’t know why I was so worried since my sister is the most laid back person I know. I guess I just wanted everything to go smoothly. To put an end to my useless worrying, I decided to just go with the flow, take her to the market with me, and see what looked good that day.
We came back from the market with wild-caught Alaskan halibut and an amazing assortment of organic vegetables including fava beans, asparagus, snow peas, brussels sprouts, carrots, and fiddlehead ferns. We decided that cooking the fish and veggies en papillote, or wrapped in parchment paper, would not only be super easy but also incredibly healthy – a nice break from all of our restaurant meals, wine tastings, and brewery tours. We also made a delicious puree from sunchokes and sweet potatoes that complimented the halibut perfectly. California Sauvignon Blanc paired well with this dish as its crisp and light notes did not overpower it. All in all, my sister had a great visit, and now that I look back, I wish I had spent more time redecorating our office/college dorm than worrying about cooking.
Halibut with Mixed Vegetables en Papillote
Alaskan halibut, 4 ounce filet per person
Fava beans, shelled
Asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
Brussels sprouts, halved
Carrots, cut into straws
Splash Sauvignon Blanc
Pinch of thyme
Parchment paper, 12 inch long sheet per person
Feel free to be flexible with this recipe, as you can basically use any vegetables that you like.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a pot of boiling water, quickly blanch the fava beans, asparagus, snow peas, carrots, and fiddlehead ferns for one minute. Set aside for later use. Sauté brussels sprouts in a pan with olive oil to caramelize them a bit over moderately high heat. Set aside with the other vegetables.
Brush parchment paper with olive oil, pile vegetables on half of the sheet, and place halibut filet on top. Add a splash of Sauvignon Blanc, pinch of thyme, lemon slices, and salt and pepper to taste. (We used truffle salt that my sister had just bought at the spice shop across the street. It was pricey, but incredibly tasty.) Fold over the other side of the parchment paper and start to fold the ends together so that they are tight and no steam can escape. I’ve found that folding the paper into a half-moon shape works the best.
Bake the parchment packets on a baking sheet for 15 minutes. Cut open the packets carefully because they are full of steam and enjoy.
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