Friday, March 28, 2008

Fish in Parchment, 11 Years with Spider the Dog

Oh, it's not fair.  I should've taken my dog Spider out for a steak tonight to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the day I brought her home from the pound.  But since they don't let dogs into steak houses as far as I know, and since I had some frozen cod and a few other essentials on hand, I made fish in parchment paper instead.

And Spider sat under the table looking at me with hungry eyes, as if to say "I'm hungry... no one ever feeds me...I'm as starving as I was the day you adopted me 11 years ago...PLEASE feed me some fish scraps...and really I deserve STEAK DAMNIT...".  And I felt really bad because this meal that I threw together was SO INCREDIBLY GOOD.  And I didn't share, not with dogs anyway. 

The fish was so good in fact, that I have to tell you how I made it, and of course, I made it by bastardizing a recipe I once saw by Rachel Ray.  Yeah, love her or hate her, she has some good ideas.   Here's what I did.  May Spider forgive me.

First, take 2 sheets of parchment paper, about a foot long, and set them down on a baking sheet.   Pre-heat the oven to 400.

Next, take a handful of aspargus (well, 2 actually) and place each on a sheet sheet of parchment.

Next, chop this stuff up coarsely: green olives, garlic, a bit of anchovy, a smattering of roasted red pepper.  You don't need proportions.  Just use your instincts and add just enough.  That's right - sprinkle it all on top of the asparagus and season w/ salt & pepper.


Now, add your fish.  In this case, I used cod.   Lay it on top of the asparagus, drizzle w/ olive oil, top with a sprinkling of lemon zest, toss a few sprigs of basil onto the fish, and squeeze lemon juice over it all.  And then, just for good measure, toss a few capers and some chopped shallot over it all.

Next up: wrap the fish up into a tidy little parchment package. I used kitchen twine to tie it all up. And then, you bake it at 400 for about 20 minutes or so.

In the meantime, give all the dogs lots of rubs and pets and drink wine. Guaranteed to make the stress of the week just wash away. Especially if you have the music of Breech cranked loudly on the stereo, which of course, I did.

After 20 minutes, take the fish packages out of the oven, carefully transfer to your plates, and enjoy.

Give thanks that the week is behind you, especially if it was a slightly stressful and highly emotional week, which it surely was for me.  Give thanks for the company - a wonderful sweetheart and two wonderful dogs, and don't forget to give an extra fish scrap to the old lady dog.

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