Pesce Al Cartoccio (fish baked in parchment)
Biba CaggianoBiba Restaurant
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4 sheets of parchment paper or aluminum foil, cut into 12 x 16-inch rectangles
4 salmon or sea bass filets (about 2 pounds)
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
4 medium, ripe tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch-thick rounds
3 scallions, white parts only, diced
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
6 to 8 fresh basil leaves, thinly shredded, or 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Place the pieces of parchment paper on a work surface and brush lightly with oil. Place the filets in the center of one half of each parchment sheet. Season the fish with salt and pepper and sprinkle with lemon juice. Top the fish with the tomato slices, scallions, capers and basil or parsley, and dribble with oil. Fold the other half of the parchment sheet over the fish, and tightly fold the edges of the paper to make a 1-inch border.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the parchments on a baking sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. At this point the fish should be cooked all the way through and the parchment should have puffed up and should have a dark brown color.
Place each bundle on serving dishes and carefully unwrap or cut the parchment with a knife or scissors. Serve the fish in its own wrapping.
"One of the simplest ways to cook moist, delicious fish is to cook it in parchment. In this preparation, the fish is combined in the parchment with slices of fresh ripe tomatoes, scallions, capers, fresh basil, lemon juice and good extra virgin olive oil. The cooking time of the fish is estimated at 10 minutes per inch of thickness. The bundles can be prepared several hours ahead and refrigerated. Bring the fish back to room temperature before baking." - Biba Caggiano