Tradition and food go hand in hand.
Wouldn’t you agree? It’s what many of us look forward to around the holidays.
In our family, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without pasta and meat sauce for dinner. On Thanksgiving, there has to be turkey and all the trimmings! Who doesn’t have turkey at Thanksgiving?! You might as well dress Santa in black.
But, did you know fish was part of the first Thanksgiving feast?
Yes! Seafood! It makes sense, considering the event itself took place in the Plymouth Colony by the shoreline (I told you I was a history major in college, right?).
While our typical Thanksgiving includes a turkey as the main event, I offer you an alternative for pescatarians (or just for fun) and for the sake of doing something different. It’s fantastic for non-traditional holiday entertaining, or perhaps, to serve alongside your tried and true favorites.
My husband served baked fish in parchment one year, and it was quite memorable.
About The Recipe
There are a variety of ways to make baked fish in parchment.
It’s quick to prep, can be made in advance, and clean up is a breeze (just throw out the paper!). My version is Mediterranean inspired.
To assemble, stack the vegetables- I’m using thin green beans, tomatoes and olives- in the center of a piece of parchment paper. Top with cod fillets. Sprinkle with scallions, lemon zest and add a few marinated artichoke hearts.
Twist up the parchment, and tie with kitchen string to create a bundle.
Bake for about 15 minutes; the cod and vegetables will gently steam inside of the parchment paper. A lovely ‘juice’ will puddle at the bottom of each bundle.
Serve the fish directly in the parchment, and have your guests open up the crinkly paper and experience the lemon-scented steam that willingly escapes the bag.
Add a pat of butter while piping hot…
A Note on Fish
I’m a stickler for quality when it comes to fish. I’ve served many wrecked dinners because my fish, not knowingly, contained chemicals. It tasted like mush.
In conversation with my friend Jen, from Whole Foods Market, she suggested I check out their sustainable seafood for reputable quality and good deals.
I was intrigued…
Here’s what I learned:
Whole Foods Market sustainable seafood program is very strict. Because they own and operate their processing facilities, they have the ability to closely monitor production and distribution for quality standards (yes really!). Additionally, they work with third party organizations like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Monterey Bay Aquarium to help restore our marine and coastal ecosystems and build a more sustainable seafood market. Whole Foods Market believes that sustainable seafood comes from responsibly managed fish farms and marine fisheries that maintain healthy fish populations and ecosystems. Farm raised fish are treated with care. No chemicals. No antibiotics.
Sounds excellent, right?!
Not only that, I was able to score a great deal on cod. I bought MSC rated cod in frozen Club Packs. The idea behind Club Packs is to ‘buy big and save.’ My 2 lb bag cost under $18 (I’ve seen cod go for $16.99 a pound!). Each fillet comes individually wrapped for convenience. I like that.
For Something Sweet…
Whole Foods Market also has an amazing deal on homemade pies baked in house. You can purchase (3) 9-inch pies (apple, blueberry & cherry) for only $19.99! That’s an instant $15 savings off the regular price. This pie offer is available in the Northeast region of The US, and runs until November 25 2016. Check out their Holiday Menu for more details.
So tell me, what are you serving for the holidays this year? Traditional or non-traditional recipes… or both?!
*This post was sponsored by the lovely people at Whole Foods Market. I’ve been a happy customer since 2000. All opinions are my own :) Recipe inspired by Food Network.
- 4 center cut cod fillets, about 1¼- 1½-inches thick*
- Drizzle of olive oil
- coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Zest of 1-2 lemons (save the lemons for serving)
- 10 sprigs of fresh time, divided
- ½ lb thin green beans (haricot verts), ends trimmed**
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- ½ c pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 marinated artichoke hearts
- ⅓ c thinly sliced scallions, white and light green part only
- 4 small pats of butter, to serve
- Preheat your oven to 400 F.
- Grab a rimmed sheet pan. Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper to the approximate length of the sheet pan. The size is important; you want to make sure it will fit all of the ingredients comfortably.
- Remove fish from its packaging and blot dry with a paper towel. Transfer to a plate. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Zest 1 lemon directly over the fish fillets (if your lemons are small, zest the remaining lemon). Strip the leaves off of 2 thyme springs. Sprinkle over the fish. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the green beans, tomatoes and olives. Add the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss well to combine.
- To assemble, place a portion of the green bean, tomato and olive mixture in the center of each piece of parchment paper. Keep the ingredients stacked vs. spread out (it will be easier to tie up the bundles this way). Place your cod on top. Add 2 artichoke hearts. Add 2 sprigs of thyme. Sprinkle with some of the scallions. Repeat this process until you have assembled all of the cod.
- Gather the parchment paper on all sides and twist to close. Leave a little room for expansion as the fish steams. Tie with kitchen string to close.
- Place your parchment bundles onto your rimmed sheet pan.
- Bake for about 15 minutes (you can check a little bit earlier to see if the fish is done if you are unsure). The fish is ready when it’s firm yet flaky, and cooked all the way through. The green beans should be tender and the tomatoes soft. You can always open one of the bundles to double check.
- Cut the lemons you zested earlier into wedges for serving.
- To serve, portion the fish (still in is parchment bundle) onto plates. Have your guests open the bundles. Top each piece of fish with a small pat of butter. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.