For today’s recipe, I used Pollock as my protein, but you can use a wide variety of fish if you wanted to. I was thinking cod, salmon and halibut would be perfect as I was going through the process last night. The goal is to take advantage of the cooking technique as well as the flavors of the basil pesto and the toasted pecans.
This recipe uses parchment paper to seal in the flavor of the fish. If you’ve ever used this type of paper to bake food, you already know that whatever it is you’re cooking comes out tender and flavorful. It’s a great method to use when you’d like to cook ingredients together, such as fish and certain types of vegetables. In my opinion, whatever has been baked in parchment need less seasoning later on. For this particular recipe, I used very little salt because of the infusion of the fish’s own essence. Needless to say, things were very tasty.
There are only three parts to this process. First, you’ll need to prepare the pesto. That’s easy. Next, you’ll bake the fish, which is even easier and finally, as the fish is baking, you’ll toast the nuts. For this recipe, you can take advantage of a wide variety of nuts. I have a strong preference for pecans, but walnuts and pine nuts are really good when toasted as well.
1 Cup Packed Basil Leaves
1/2 Cup Packed Parsley
1/2 Cup Plus 1 Teaspoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
Ground Black Pepper
4 Pollock (or your choice) Fish Fillets, 6-8 Ounces Each
1/2 Cup Pecans, Crushed and Toasted
I originally pulled this recipe from Williams-Sonoma‘s Seafood cookbook and had intended to follow their instructions explicitly. As I went about things though, I saw a few areas I didn’t agree with, so I went in my own direction. Not only did I use a slightly different cooking method, I used a few different ingredients. This is why I suggested you experiment with different types of fish. The cookbook I used recommended halibut, but in my local grocery store, pollock was on sale, so I used that instead. That’s when I discovered many types of fish would do well here.
Arrange one of your oven racks to the center position and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a food processor, add the basil, parsley, lemon juice, 1/2 cup of olive oil, garlic, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Pulse the processor a few times until all the ingredients are combined well.
Set the pesto aside for later use.
Bake the Fish
Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper so they are as tall as they are wide. Then, sprinkle some salt and pepper on each side of the fish fillets and lay them on respective pieces of paper.
Fold the paper over the fish and fold each side tightly so the paper seals the fish in. Lay each pouch of paper on a large baking sheet.
Next, add the baking sheet to the oven and let the fish cook for 10 minutes. After that time, remove the tray from the oven and turn off the heat.
Toast the Pecans
While the fish is cooking, warm a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and 1 teaspoon of olive oil to it. Flip the nuts for a few minutes, just until you begin to smell them toasting. At that time, remove the pan from the heat.
Plate Ingredients & Serve
When everything is finished cooking, cut open each paper pouch. Then, use a spatula to carefully remove each piece of fish and place on different plates. Then, scoop out some pesto and divide it among the tops of the cook fillets. Finally, sprinkle some toasted pecans over the pesto and serve.
The Final Dish
This was relatively easy to prepare and the result was very pleasing. I encourage you to give this one a try. Enjoy!