Steamed Sea Bream “al Cartoccio”

Steamed Sea Bream "al Cartoccio"

Steaming fillets of delicate white fish in a paper parcel is such a quick and easy way to cook them and this recipe for Steamed Sea Bream al Cartoccio is no exception. The most difficult thing was making sure that the top of the parcel was well sealed! I got distracted after I had made the parcel (my friend had arrived and the first glass of wine had been poured…) and forgot to take a photo but you can see what the sealed parcel should look like here. We had this with the Roasted Fennel and Cannellini Bean Puree which I posted yesterday and a green salad with a sharp mustardy dressing (salt, pepper, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp cider vinegar and 3 tsp EVOO)

A local Italian restaurant serves a seafood linguine al cartoccio and it is very easy to do as long as you undercook the pasta before it is parcelled.

Steamed Sea Bream "al Cartoccio"

Lay out the bream fillets on the prepared foil and parchment paper and season with salt, pepper and rosemary

Steamed Sea Bream "al Cartoccio"

Add the garlic, a little oil and butter before folding up into a parcel

As far as flavours go, you could use tarragon instead of rosemary and a little sprinkle of crushed toasted coriander seeds would also be lovely.  A little infused saffron would be delicious with rosemary and a mix of seafood. You could use other types of fish and seafood too but you may need more liquid and a little longer cooking time if the fish is thick.  If you are making these for more than two people or for a dinner party (and this is a fantastic template for a dinner party recipe as you can prepare the parcels beforehand and then cook them 10 minutes before you want to eat) then, parcel up the fish individually.

Steamed Sea Bream al Cartoccio

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 fillets of sea bream or other white fish
  • 3 or 4 cloves of Garlic Confit or roasted garlic – don’t use raw garlic as the flavour will be overpowering.
  • 1 tsp of the garlic flavoured oil if you are using garlic confit – optional
  • A few sprigs of rosemary
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp dry white wine
  • Lemon wedges to serve

You will also need 60cm pieces of foil and parchment paper to make the parcel

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220C/425F. Put a roasting tray or sheet in to pre heat as well.
  2. Make the cartoccio by placing the foil on the worktop, shiny side down. Lay the parchment paper on top and turn over the edges to seal the two together.
  3. Lay the fish fillets in the middle of the paper.
  4. Season fillets with salt and pepper, scatter over the rosemary needles and garlic. Drizzle the garlic flavoured oil over the fish and top with the butter.
  5. Bring the short ends of the paper together over the top of the fillets and roll/fold up as tightly as you can manage so that steam cannot escape. There shouldn’t be too much space inside the parcel so make it as small as you can without crushing the fillets.
  6. Then, fold up one of the sides, again, as tightly as you can. Press down on the foil to help seal it.
  7. Tip up the open parcel slightly and pour in the wine. Seal this side tightly as well. You should have a small domed parcel that is a little larger than the fish inside.
  8. Place the parcel on the pre-heated tin and cook for 10 minutes. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before opening the parcel.
  9. The wine, oil and butter will have combined to make a small amount of delicious sauce that should be spooned over the fish when you serve it.
  10. Serve with lemon wedges.

Delicious with Roasted Fennel and Cannellini Bean Puree and a green salad with a sharp dressing.

Smoked Mackerel Gratin

Smoked Mackerel Gratin

I see from my notes that I have been making this Smoked Mackerel Gratin for nearly 10 years now. I first made it because I wanted to introduce more of those Omega-3 fatty acids into our diet and it was such a hit with J who would have been 6 years old at that time, that I have been making it regularly ever since. Smoked fish and cream is a food marriage made in heaven. With the addition of potatoes, mustard and herbs this dish becomes a quick, intensely savoury, mid-week meal which only needs a sharply dressed green salad, cutting through the richness, to round it off.

It is an inexpensive dish to boot and very easy to make;

Flake the fish into an oven dish

Flake the fish into an oven proof dish

Cover with cooked potatoes

Cover with cooked potatoes

Make the creamy, mustardy, herb flecked sauce

Make the creamy, mustardy, herb flecked sauce

Pour sauce over fish and potatoes

Pour sauce over fish and potatoes
Strew with grated cheddar and bake for 20/25 minutes

Strew with grated cheddar and bake for 20/25 minutes

Intensely savoury, smoky, and creamy deliciousness.

Intensely savoury, smoky, and creamy deliciousness.

You could add a scattering of  halved cherry tomatoes before covering it with cheese and you could also add a layer of fresh spinach leaves (which you have run under a tap to make wet) under the fish in which case you should increase the milk by about a 1/4 cup.

The smoked mackerel is quite salty as is the cheese so you shouldn’t need any additional salt.

Smoked Mackerel Gratin

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Inspired by Nigel Slater

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 smoked mackerel fillets
  • 8 small potatoes halved
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 heaped tsp grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp chopped tarragon
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese
  • A little butter or oil to grease the oven proof dish.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/390F and lightly grease the oven proof dish.
  2. Place potatoes and garlic in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. The potatoes should give way to a knife but not be falling apart. Drain and remove the garlic.
  3. Peel off the skin and flake the mackerel into the dish, carefully pulling out any bones which have been left behind. Leave the fish in quite large chunks if you can.
  4. Whisk the creme fraiche then stir in the mustard and whisk again. Mash in the soft garlic and slowly whisk in the milk and stir in the herbs.
  5. Cover the fish with the hot potatoes, then pour over the crème fraîche mixture and top with the grated cheese and a grinding of pepper.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes

Serve with a mustardy dressed green salad and some crusty bread to soak up the delicious juices.