Grilled fish is one of our favorite summer dinners, but not all fish do well cooked over a dry heat. Some fish do better poached or steamed. One way to prepare them is by cooking fish in parchment paper, or “en papillote” which is French for “in paper”. En Papillote is a simple technique where you put a fish fillet, some vegetables, some aromatics (such as herbs or garlic) and a bit of liquid & oil into a pouch made of parchment paper, then roast it quickly at a high temperature, steaming the fish in it’s own juice. This method seals in the flavors of the fish and veggies, while keeping them very moist. And the best part is when you bring the parchment pouches to the table and everyone gets a peek inside. It’s like opening a present… a delicious present.
One of my favorite local bakeries, Alon’s, makes one of my all-time favorite sandwiches – the Tunisian Spicy Tuna. It is a combination of quality canned tuna, potato, hard-boiled egg, capers, harissa sauce and, an unusual ingredient, preserved lemon. If you have had Moroccan or North African cuisine, you probably have run into preserved lemons before. You’ll find it as an ingredient in tangines and stews. It is essentially a salty, lemon pickle.
Preserved lemons are whole lemons, sliced open, put into jars, then covered in salt and lemon juice to cure. I’ve seen jars of preserved lemons in gourmet food shops and catalogs. They are laughably expensive, considering how easy they are to make at home.