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Striped Bass en Papillote


Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 126

Roasting fish in packets (en papillote) allows it to steam in its own juices, intensifying its flavor. Substitute black bass or halibut if striped bass is unavailable.

  • 2 Tbs. plus 4 tsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling
  • 1 9-oz. package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry, halved if large
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. plus 4 tsp. dry vermouth
  • 5 oz. (about 1 cup) grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
  • 4 6-oz. skinless striped bass fillets
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Put a large rimmed baking sheet on each rack.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the butter with the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the foam from the butter subsides. Add the artichokes cut side down and cook without stirring until light golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 2 Tbs. of the vermouth and remove from the heat. Stir in the tomatoes, mint, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.

Cut four 12x18-inch sheets of heavy-duty foil. Set one piece of fish on one side of each sheet and season each with 1/8 tsp. each salt and pepper. Spoon the  artichoke-tomato mixture over the fish, dividing it equally. Top each with 1 tsp. of the remaining vermouth and dot with 1 tsp. of the butter. Fold the foil over the fish and crimp the edges to seal completely, leaving some air space inside.

Transfer the packets to the hot baking sheets and bake until the packages puff, about 15 minutes. To test for doneness, plunge a paring knife through the foil and the fish and hold it there for 5 seconds. Touch the side of the knife to your lip; if it feels warm the fish is cooked through. Transfer the packets to plates and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 340, Fat (kcal): 18, Fat Calories (g): 160, Saturated Fat (g): 7, Protein (g): 33, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6, Carbohydrates (mg): 8, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 340, Cholesterol (g): 165, Fiber (g): 4,

Photo: Scott Phillips

It's possible to make this on top of the stove in a skillet with a lid. Start by browning the artichokes and follow the directions through to adding the grape tomatoes, mint, salt and pepper. Nestle the seasoned fish down into the vegetables and cover, steaming just until the fish is barely done. I have substituted white wine for vermouth, parsley for mint, and cod for striped bass. It's always so good with a nutty brown-butter flavor from the original cooking of the artichokes. Wonderful!

Delicious! I used fresh halibut and followed the balance of recipe as described. Wonderful dinner - would be a good one for guests as you can make it all ahead and just put in oven upon arrival.

Made this with halibut and left the mint out, using a small amount of oregano. Very good!

Greetings Laraine, Striped Bass is very delicate in flavor and the artichokes, which lean toward the bitter side, and spices, like mint, tend to drown out this delicate flavor. My suggestion would be to use the foil and top the bass with a pat of 'salted butter', a couple of turns of cracked pepper and a milder onion, such as a scallion or chives. Personally, I prefer striped bass poached in milk and dipped in drawn butter...a poor man's lobster in terms of flavor. :-) ~OwlOak~

Just ok. The artichokes and garlic smelled amazing while cooking but once it all came together with the fish it wasn't very good. Maybe the artichokes need to be chopped. It was all overwhelming and not a good flavor. Such a shame because I can always count on fine cooking to knock it out of the park.

I couldn't believe how easy and fast this was! We had some frozen halibut in the freezer, and in 30 minutes, we had the most delicious fish I have had in awhile! Highly recommended. I went pretty heavy on the garlic, but don't let it burn.

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