Fish cooked in a bag is an old technique with French influence. I like it because it takes the guesswork out of cooking fish in large numbers. Each bag is made with parchment paper or foil, I prefer foil as it takes less skill to seal.
I try to use small fish such as snapper, sea bream (especially in spring), whiting or mackerel and then add complementary flavours that like fennel and shallots to the bag. Always ensure the foil the tightly sealed so the fish steams in its own juices.
The pouches can be made up a few hours before, which helps relieve pre-dinner party anxiety greatly. Then, the unwrapping of individual foil pockets also adds to the theatre of the event! I like to have presentable pair of scissors that haven’t been dipped in paint or used to saw a tree in half and have guests open their own. Add some side dishes, for a complete, as well as fun, meal.
While different types and cuts of fish may take a little longer to cook than other it can be a little bit trial-and-error, but the method ‘en papillote’ is something that actually makes cooking easier!
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Cooking programme: Steam
6 x 180g snapper fillets, skin removed
1 cup chermoula
For the chermoula
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 lemon, juiced
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves and stalks
1 bunch parsley leaves and stalks
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon turmeric
1½ tablespoons ras el hanout spice mix
1½ tablespoons ground chilli
1 heaped teaspoon sea salt flakes
185ml extra-virgin olive oil
For the fish, place each fillet on a sheet of baking paper measuring approximately 40cm x 35cm. Place fillet on the bottom half of the paper leaving enough room to fold over and form a parcel.
For the chemoula, place all ingredients for the chermoula into a blender, blend until pureed.
Place 2 tablespoons of chermoula over each fish fillet. Bring the top half of baking paper down over the fillet. Fold in the side edges, then fold in the bottom edge to form a parcel. Place parcel on the bottom half of a similar sized piece of foil (shiny side up) and fold as per the baking paper. You should now have a parcel that looks like a puffed pillow. Place parcel on a perforated steam tray and Steam at 90˚C for 10 minutes.
Serve the fish in its opened parcel and garnish with coriander sprigs. You might like to add a plate of Zucchini Tartines to the dinner table too!
Learn how to cook with steam like Shannon at your local Miele Experience Centre. Book your spot in a complimentary cooking demonstration here.
Preparing the fresh snapper. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Lucy Feagins.
Herbs from Shannon’s garden. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Lucy Feagins.
The flavour-packed chermoula takes this dish to the next level. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Lucy Feagins.
Living the dream in Byron Bay. Photo – Eve Wilson. Styling – Lucy Feagins.