Hi all !
When talking about cooking fish, I often get comments : weird, disgusting, smelly, not so good for your health with all those heavy metals, anti-ecological and hard to cook if you want it healthy. Before diving into the fish papillotes and stuff, let’s talk about it. First I want you to remember that diversity in you food is key in a healthy diet. Balance is key. Let’s look at all those comments one by one.
“Ew, raw fish is gross, I’m not touching that”
if your fish is fresh, the “gross” felling should not be appearing. I prefer you to go once in a month to the fish market where you can see the fish in whole than buying weekly “ready to cook” filets in supermarkets that can sit there for several days before your purchase. My main tip would be to ask your fishmonger to prepare the whole fish for you. He will remove the guts, the head and prepare the filets and you will be sure of the freshness of the fish.
Here are 5 tips to select your fish and validate its freshness in one glimpse :
- The smell =>The fish must smell like iodine and seaweed. If you smell an odor of ammonia instead of sea water, it means a lack of freshness.
- The eyes => The eyes should be bright and clear. Well rounded, they occupy the entire orbit. The eyes should not be dark and opaque as it would be a proof that it was caught several days ago already.
- The gills => Lift gills and you will see the color of its gills slits. These should have a nice red or pink color and still be wet. If they appear slimy with mucus, then run away! (You can definitely say ew then)
- The flesh => The fish should be well polished, firm and elastic to the touch. Press gently with your thumb, the fish is expected to resume its original shape. Your fingerprint should not remain apparent. Finally, no color should be observed along the backbone.
“But fish is full of chemicals, you should avoid that” & “Fish ? But I thought we should avoid that, the seas are empty !”
Clearly, the pollution of our oceans and seas is a disaster. Once in the marine environment, many pollutants from the land or the sea accumulate in the food chain and form a serious threat to ecosystems, whether along the coast or in deep waters. That means you can find those pollutants directly in your plate, cozily installed in the flesh of your favorite fish dish.
Moreover, according to FAO studies, around 28% of stocks of the main fish species on the market are overfished, depleted or recovering from depletion because of fishing pressure. Another 52% are already fished to the maximum allowable level.
There is definitely a solution to avoid toxic products and over fishing by eating good, clean and fair fish in your local area. This rejoin my philosophy of eating locally and in season that you can apply in almost any aspect of your life.
There are the “not on my plate” list of fish you should avoid at anytime :
I strongly encourage you to go check the slow fish organization website which will give you a good explanation on what you need to know and how to be a responsible fish consumer in your local areal !
“But I don’t know where to start, fish demands fancy recipes, I can’t do it”
Well, to start cooking fish, you only need this recipe. Quick, easy, delicious, the “papillotte” (paper wrap) cooking allows all the flavors to remain intact and penetrate the fish during the cooking time. And it is kind of fancy looking don’t you think ?
If you master this recipe, you’ll quickly want to eat fish on a more regular basis (but remember “good, clean and fair” !).
Let’s start !
Yield: 2 servings – Prep time: 5min – Cooking time: 15 min
What you’ll need
- 2 sheets of parchment paper
- 1 grater
- 1 oven
- 400g of fish fillet (count 200g/pers)
- 1 inch of fresh ginger
- 1 small lemon
- 2 tbsp of olive oil (I use my homemade garlic olive oil)
- a dash of crushed sea salt
- a dash of pepper
Here is my philosophy : use whatever you have in your pantry that is close to the ingredients above as it is more convenient for you. Everyday cooking is fun, it should not be a dictatorship !
Moreover, This is how you create unique recipes which will be yours.
Cut 2 sheets of parchment paper of 40 cm wide (18 inches).
Place the fillets in the center of each parchment paper. Then grate the ginger on top of them, add the salt, pepper, olive oil (1tbsp by fillet) and lemon juice (1/2 lemon by fillet).
Rub the fish with the mixture so that the flavors penetrate the fillet.
You can now close the papillotes like it is shown here.
Then you just have to pop it in the oven for 15mins.
And you are basically done for this fish papillotes recipe. 🙂
This recipe goes well with perfectly cooked rice on the side.
Et voilà !
Bon appétit 🙂
*the links of the products I recommend in this article are not affiliated. They are my personal preferences and are only recommendations for cooking beginners.
Author: Emilie Durand
Emilie is a French food lover, proud Parisian and founder of thefrenchwaytohealth.com. On her website, she shares delicious recipes, health tips and tricks. Her goal is to gather and share the habits and rules that have been used and approved by French people for decades. That means cooking your own meals efficiently, enjoying whole foods, eating mindfully and never ever using the word diet again while losing weight.