Fish is often wrapped in baking paper, foil, leaves or even bark to help protect its delicate flesh and keep it moist while it steams in its own juices. When diners open the parcels at the table, all the delicious aromas are released. Eugenio Riva often served fish cooked this way at the popular Ristorante Riva. If you let the vegetables cool completely rst, you can wrap the parcels a few hours ahead of time and leave them in the fridge ready to go - just remove them from the fridge about 20 minutes before cooking so they come to room temperature.
- 1 large eggplant
- Large pinch of saffron threads
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (250ml)
- 1 Spanish onion, finely diced
- 1 large yellow capsicum, finely diced
- 1 large red capsicum, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 zucchini, finely diced
- 6 goldband snapper fillets (180gm each), skin on and pin-boned
- 12 sprigs thyme
- 3 tbsp strained lemon juice
- For serving: crusty bread
- 1Preheat the oven to 200C (fan-forced). Halve the eggplant and scoop out most of the flesh (discard), leaving about 1cm of flesh on the skin. Chop the skin into small dice.
- 2Soak the saffron in 1 tsp of hot water for 5 minutes, then combine with the oil. Heat a large frying pan over high heat and add the saffron oil. When hot, add the onion and stir for 1 minute. Add the capsicum and garlic and stir for a further minute, then add the eggplant and a generous amount of salt and stir for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the zucchini and stir for a further 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
- 3Cut 6 sheets of foil, each large enough to wrap one piece of fish completely. Cut 6 sheets of baking paper, each slightly longer than the sheets of foil. Lay the foil pieces on a work surface, shiny-side up, then top each one with a sheet of baking paper.
- 4Check the fish skin for any remaining scales, then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper on each side. Place a piece of fish on each sheet of baking paper, skin-side down. Top with the vegetable mixture, add 2 sprigs of thyme and drizzle with lemon juice. Fold the two long sides of the paper and foil over in a couple of folds above the fish, without pushing it against the fish, then fold the ends over to form a secure package so that the steam and juices can’t escape.
- 5Place the parcels on a baking tray and cook for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets, until the flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork.
- 6Place the parcels on plates for diners to open at the table. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the juices.
Note This recipe was published in the Sydney Seafood School Cookbook ($49.99, hbk, Penguin Lantern) by Roberta Muir and has been reproduced with minor GT style changes.