Summer Fish in a pouch

Sometimes I plan all my dinners for the week and sometimes I don’t. I usually don’t plan meals in the summer because I can run to market or to the grocery store whenever I want. Last week it was back to reality for me, back to school, and back to coming home later that I would like. I wanted to make a good dinner but I didn’t get any kind of protein this week at market or the grocery store, and I didn’t plan enough ahead to take something out of the freezer. So I stopped and picked up a piece of fish at Mr. Bill’s Seafood Tuesday night.

I chose flounder for dinner because it looked really fresh and it just came into the shop. The Monterey Bay Seafood Watch said it was a good alternative to other options I had that day.

The Monterey Bay Seafood Watch has an app that you can download onto your smart phone. It lists fish that are best choices (that are caught/raised in a sustainable way), good alternatives (not the best choice but better than others), and ones to avoid (caught/raised in ways that are not good for the environment). It is pretty convenient and it only takes a minute to look up your choices while you are standing at the seafood counter. I think a lot about the sources of my beef, pork, and chicken. I try to get them from places like Country Meadows Farms that has free range chicken and grass feed beef. The seafood app helps me make healthy choices when getting seafood too.

Now I had a start to planning dinner! I started with the fish and checked out what kind of veggies I had in the refrigerator at home.

Here’s the veggies I had stocked up on:

One tomatillo, a yellow squash, small red onions, a bunch of plum tomatoes, some yellow heirloom tomatoes, parsley and cilantro.

How will I combine these veggies with my fish to make an awesome dinner? I am going to build a pouch pocket of freshness and bake it in the oven. Then, I will serve it atop couscous!

Here’s how it’s done…

Summer Fish in a Pouch:

1 tomatillo, small diced

6 red plum tomatoes, small diced

2 yellow plum tomatoes, small diced

1 small red onion, sliced thin

a hand full of flat leaf parsley and cilantro, chopped

1 medium-sized yellow squash, sliced thin

3/4 lb flaky white fish (I used flounder, but you can use any flaky white fish)

You’ll need to heat your oven to 350 degrees, and take out a baking sheet and parchment paper.

Fold the parchment paper in half and then cut it into an elongated oval/heart shape that is about four inches larger than the piece of fish. You want to be able to stuff the parchment with the veggies and fish and then be able to fold over the edges and twist the ends to make a pouch. It helps to cut the ends a little longer so you can twist them closed. Make sure you check out your fish first so you don’t cut the parchment too short (like I did the first time!).

Layer half of the tomatoes, half of the tomatillo, half of the onion,and one-third of the herbs on the bottom on the parchment paper. Form the layer to the shape of your piece of fish and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Season your fish on both sides with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil. Lay your piece of fish on top of the bed of tomatoes, onions and herbs.

Layer the rest of the tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, and another third of the herbs on top of the fish, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil again.

Place the slices of squash on top of your tomato layer and season with salt and pepper. Cover the squash with the remaining herbs and drizzle a little more olive oil on top.

You are now ready to close your pouch. Fold the empty half of parchment over to cover your fish and veggies. Begin to fold and roll the two edges together, forming a pouch. Twist the ends together and tuck them under the pouch so that it doesn’t open up in the oven.

Bake your pouch in the oven (at 350 degrees) for 30 minutes. Cooked the fish to 155 degrees, it will come out moist and flaky. To check the temperature, just poke your kitchen thermometer right through the pouch and into the thickest part of the fish.

Here’s what it looks like when you pull it out of the oven. Be careful when opening the pouch! steam has built up inside the parchment and you could burn yourself.

The fish and all the veggies make really yummy juice so it is perfect to serve with couscous or rice.

Here’s how to make couscous that goes great with this dish…

Lemon Parsley Couscous

2 1/2 cups couscous

2 cups chicken stock

1 tbsp. butter

zest and juice of one lemon

hand full of parsley

salt and pepper

Bring the chicken stock to a boil, add in the butter and season it with salt and pepper. Add in the lemon zest and juice.  Pour in the couscous and parsley, cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Just a note* you may have to adjust the amount of liquid in this recipe depending on the brand of couscous you have.

Wait about 5 minutes and fluff the couscous with a fork. Serve the fish and veggies on top of a bowl full of couscous, spoon some of the juice over the whole thing.

A fresh, good-for-you dinner is served.

I had a lot of extra couscous… tomorrow I’ll post how to use the left overs!