This post is for Daisy, (my younger brother’s rather fabulous girlfriend) as she is trying to convert to enjoying fish. Daisy – you should make Joe cook this for you, or at least do the washing up!
You will need:
- 2 fillets of sea bass – no bones
- 1 orange
- 1 bulb of fennel
- Knob of butter
- White wine
- Greaseproof paper
- 2 large potatoes (King Edward or similar)
- Garden peas
- Tommy K
Set the oven to 180 degrees .
Chop the potatoes into chip shapes, don’t bother peeling, they are better with the skin on! Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and wop the potatoes in. Meanwhile, put a tray on the oven with a couple of tablespoons of sunflower oil in the tray to heat up.
Meanwhile, cut yourself a couple of big squares of greaseproof paper – about A3 size. At this point you need to segment an orange. It is a super cheffy thing to do (I always remember my Dad doing this at home for fancy occasions) but it is quite satisfying, if a little fiddly! I will put up a separate post this weekend on how to do this as it will involve many photos!
Slice your fennel really thinly.
Drain your potatoes in a colander, and then pour them into the hot fat – careful, it will spit! Put the tray of potatoes back into the oven.
Right then, back to the veggies.
Put the greaseproof paper into a shallow bowl (all will become clear in a minute) Lay the orange down onto the middle of your greaseproof paper, and lay the fennel on top. Place your fillet of seabass on the top. Pour over a splash of wine (about 25ml if you’re being precise, or a mouthful if not. Not from your actual mouth though as that would be nasty.)
Grind a sprinkling of seasalt over the top and place a thumb sized piece of butter on the top of the pile.
Cut two pieces of string for each parcel, make them longer than necessary, you can always trim them. Fold in your greaseproof paper carefully so that all the wine will stay in the parcel, and tie it up – an extra pair of hands might be necessary here.
Put both the parcels onto a baking tray and into the oven. Because there might be a few layers of paper on the outside of the fish it will take a while to cook (longer than normal baked fish), probably about 25 minutes or so. Toss the chips again in the oil.
You can always carefully untie one of the parcels to check if the fish is done- it should have stopped being translucent but should still be super moist and flakey. The little parcels create a mini wine based steam bath for this fish (mmmmm sounds good!) so it won’t dry out unless you leave it in there for way too long.
When your chips are about 7 minutes from being done, set a small pan of water on the stove, salt, and bring to the boil. Add your garden peas and simmer for five minutes or so.
If you have a bottle of squeezy tomato ketchup, make a fancy chef pattern on the plate with it (this is super posh after all!) and then lay the chips on top. douse liberally with malt vinegar (yes American friends, I did say malt vinegar, just try it and see!) and lots of salt. Place your fancy fish parcel on the plate and the peas on the side.
I love the idea of this because you still get to ‘unwrap’ the fish, like from the chippy but it is still proper posh!
Note: You could always do your chips in a fryer if you have one. We don’t and I’m too scared to use a chip pan! You could use oven chips if you’re a fan of those too. I can never get homemade chips to be amazing but I think that’s because I can’t bring myself to put enough oil on them as I should!!