Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fennel and Citrus Sea Bass al Cartoccio

Delicious Fish 2

Once again over the Holidays I used every chance that I could to take pictures with the new camera that Ian bought me. Unfortunately this season I couldn't make it home until Christmas Eve and had a horrible time waiting in endless line-ups at the airport. So when I entered through the door of my childhood home I was ecstatic to see that my brother (with the never wavering aide of my mother, the sous chef) had decided to create the traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner called the Feast of the Seven Fishes (festa dei sette pesci).

There were Salted Cod cakes, shrimp, pasta with anchovies, salmon, mussels in broth, a whole salt crusted fish, and finally this Sea Bass al Cartoccio. The dinner was fabulous, even my grandma loved it, where as other years she has promptly asked for a hamburger instead. (I still think those years were great mom!)

Delicious Fish

I learned quite a few things about Cartoccio from my brother, who in turn learned this recipe from the four star Italian restaurant that he works at in Toronto. Al Cartoccio basically means the same as En Papiotte, the fish is folded neatly in parchment paper and steams within the package for a short while. The result is a very soft, flavourful fish that melts in your mouth. This Cartoccio was such a hit my brother had me and my father, who was out in Victoria visiting family, calling him to beg for the recipe within a week!

Delicious fish 3

Fennel and Citrus Sea Bass al Cartoccio

1lb Branzino, 2lb Orata, or other European Sea Bass. Ask for it scaled and gutted.
1/2 fennel bulb
1 garlic clove, sliced thin
1 orange, half juiced, the other half sliced thinly across into rounds
1 lemon, half juiced, the other half sliced thinly across into rounds
1 handful of fresh mint
1/2 cup white wine
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
2 pinches of salt
3 foot long piece of parchment paper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the fennel thin and create a mixture of fennel, garlic, and mint. Place mixture in the center of the parchment paper. Lay down half of the lemons and orange slices. Stuff the fish with the rest of the oranges and lemons. Lay fish over the mixture, in the center of the parchment paper. Sprinkle salt onto fish. In a measuring cup combine the juice of one half orange, half a lemon, white wine, and olive oil.
To fold the parchment paper, pull together the center of each short end of the parchment paper. This should create a triangular tent over the fish lengthwise. Fold over the paper ½ an inch, then again, till the paper is flush with the fish and there is no room left. Place your hand down on one end of the fish and twist the parchment till tight. Tilt up the open end then pour the liquid into the opening. Twist tight to seal off the packet. Bake for 15-20 minutes for a 1lb fish, or 20-25 for a 2lb Orata.


Junglefrog said...

I've only recently made fish en papilotte and totally loved it. This sure looks like Another recipe worth trying Out and with seabass too.... Mmmm

Valérie said...

I've made fish en papillote before, but I always use fillets. Using a whole fish definitely has more of a "wow" factor - and stuffing it must add a lot of flavour. Btw, that Feast of the Seven Fishes sounds like a delight!

Ian said...

mmmmm, looks good. And look at you go with the new camera you got for xmas Christie :P

♥peachkins♥ said...

Healthy and delish!

michelle@TNS said...

i've always wanted to try fish en papilotte, but was scared off whole fish-cooking after a botched attempt at whole fish in a salt crust. but this looks wonderful, love the pic with all the stuffing peeking out of the fish.

Anonymous said...

Nice blog you got here... Just droppin' by to say hi!