In which I choose my own adventure…

I did a little home re-org yesterday, and here is a picture of something that makes me really happy…

there they are...

there they are...

All my cookbooks, right where they belong, all together in one colorful little community of knowledge. I can reach all of them, and more importantly, I can just look at them all the time. Yay. Moving all the cookbooks also made room for this…

improved accessibility

improved accessibility

And lastly, one more pic of my favorite new kitchen toy. It really has taken to its new home…also please note the jungle growing right on the table, my aunt trimmed more sage than I could ever use from her garden yesterday, and brought it over to me…now I have to come up with a fabulous way to use it…

like it's been there forever

like it's been there forever

And there you go, even though you never asked, you received a tour of my apartment. You are welcome. I’m such a giver. It’s my blog, I can do that if I want to.

Now, onto the good stuff. I have some excellent friends. One of them, good old Meredith, is staying with me for a month until she closes on her exciting new condo in Salem, yay for her! Another, Jeremy, is headed for greener pastures today, so we decided to have a little dinner last night to hang out before J left. I went down to the fish market and found these…

Cod

Cod

I decided to cook them in parchment packets, or en papillote en francaise. Parchment cooking is like a choose your own adventure book. Most anything goes, and you can work with what you have on hand. I also picked up some littlenecks from the market, and the rest of the ingredients came from stuff I already had. Except for these…

just a few hours old...

just a few hours old...

My aunt brought these over yesterday. She picked them from her garden a few hours before, little skinny leeks with dirt still on them, that were perfect for my cod packages…I had some lemon, potatoes, and tomatoes, and I was in business. They all go into the package with the cod, a little olive oil and a splash of white wine, and plenty of salt and pepper…there is nothing easier…

ready to go...

ready to go...

pack it up...

pack it up...

These went onto a cookie sheet that had been preheated in a 400 degree oven. You want to make sure the parchment is sealed so the steam can’t escape during cooking…

boats of deliciousness.

boats of deliciousness.

I cooked these for 22 minutes to start. I ended up sticking them back in for another five, because of the potatoes and clams, which took a bit longer than the other stuff. I still probably should have cut the potatoes a bit smaller, and I may have gone with cockles instead of littlenecks, as they are smaller, and the clams and potatoes were not quite as done as I would have liked.

steamy...

steamy...

delectable...

delectable...

They came out great. The fish was cooked really nicely, the broth in the bottom of the packet was great. Really tasty, really easy and healthy! The littlenecks have a great flavor, and taste so different from the cod, and it is a great contrast. And these could really be done so many different ways. You could add any variation on the vegetables, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, spinach. You could do it with Asian flavors: rice vinegar, soy sauce, scallions, grated ginger, bok choy, miso; Italian: fresh oregano, tomatoes, lemon, fennel, rosemary, garlic; Indian: curry powder, cauliflower, some lentils; French: butter, garlic, thyme, shallots, a little cream. The opportunities are endless. Easy, versatile, delicious, might become a regular. I could post a recipe, but there isn’t really one, so I will just tell you exactly what I used:

Cod En Papillote (serves 3)

3 6 oz. cod fillets

24 littlenecks

5 small new potatoes, cut into eighths

2 plum tomatoes, cut in a large dice

4 skinny leeks or scallions, cut in 2 inch lengths and halved lengthwise

One lemon cut into sixths

3 tbls olive oil

6 tbls white wine

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven and a cookie sheet to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper each cod fillet liberally. Lay each cod fillet on a piece of parchment about 18″ in length. Portion the potatoes, tomatoes, leeks, lemon and littlenecks equally in each packet. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and two tablespoons of wine to each packet, sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper, and seal the parchment to prevent the escape of steam. Put the packets on the hot cookie sheet, and cook for 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and test for fish and vegetable doneness. Place each packet on a plate and open the top of the parchment to serve.

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