Peter piper picked a peck of pickled pepper
Actually there are no peppers in today’s recipe but it’s something of a tongue-twister, with rather a lot of “P”s in it. Pollock en papillote with parsley pesto. Try saying that with a mouthful of greens.
I’m always at something of a loss as to what to do with fish. You can bake it or grill it but it just seems so plain and boring. Especially pollock. While I like the texture, pollock lacks somewhat in the exciting stakes and needs quite a lot of flavour to make it interesting. I decided with this piece to bake it en papillote, which is a great way to ensure it doesn’t dry out, by wrapping it with loads of flavours in parchment paper, and then serve it with a pesto. I had a huge bunch of parsley left over from making yiahni, and it makes a lovely pesto, slightly spicy and peppery. Make sure you take only the heads of the parsley strands; the stems, although they taste great, don’t grind down so well and you end up with a distinctly stringy pesto.
I matched this with a lovely Sicilian white wine, i vigneri’s vinujancu, full of savoury flavours, but with just a touch of ripeness, and it went beautifully. The same wine also went really well with the bergamot and apple pie too, despite being relatively dry, and didn’t seem too sour against the dessert, which is pretty unusual for a non-dessert white wine, and makes it my new favourite wine I think. Ok, my favourite wine, since I don’t think I’ve ever picked out a favourite before.
Pollock en papillote with parsley pesto
Keep the rest of the meal light and simple, with salad leaves and boiled potatoes. Any leftover pesto can easily be stirred into pasta for a quick and easy meal, though I would be wary of leaving it in the fridge for too long (research botulism and make up your own mind).
2 pollock fillets
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Light olive oil
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
2 large handfuls of parsley, destemmed and chopped
3 tablespoons light olive oil
1 teaspoon parmesan
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
2. Wash the pollock fillets and check there are no scales on the skin (I didn’t end up eating the skin, but even if you don’t stray scales find their way into the edible bits and aren’t especially pleasant to chow down on). Cut two squares of parchment paper, about a foot in each direction, and place a smashed garlic clove in the centre of each. Place a fillet on top of each garlic clove, skin side down, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to each fillet, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Then wrap up the fillets in their parchment packets by bring together the two sides facing you, folding them over a couple of times, then tucking the ends up, and bake the fish on a baking tray in the oven for 20 minutes, or until piping hot all the way through.
3. While the fish is cooking make the pesto. Put the garlic clove along with the coarse salt in a pestle and mortar. Grind for a minute or so, or until the garlic clove is a paste. Add the parsley a small handful at a time and grind down to a paste. Once all the parsley has been added, add the parmesan and the olive oil, a tablespoon at a time, until you have reached your desired consistency. The pesto will take a lot of oil, so it’s up to you whether you want it to be very thick, or slightly thinner.
4. Remove the fish from the oven, unwrap the parcels and discard the whole cloves of garlic. Serve the fish on a bed of rocket or other spicy green leaves, with the parsley pesto.