Fish en Papillote


serves 2
50 g (2 oz) brown rice
salt and freshly ground pepper
25 g (1 oz) margarine or butter
50 g (2 oz) spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
1/2 small bunch watercress, trimmed and finely chopped
50 g (2 oz) dried apricots, soaked overnight, drained and snipped into small pieces
15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
2 mackerel, about 275 - 350 g (10 - 12 oz) each cleaned, filleted and heads and tails removed
oil or lard, for frying
lemon wedges, to garnish


1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the rice for about 40 minutes until tender. Drain well.

2. Melt the margarine in a pan and gently fry the onion
until golden. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked brown rice together with the chopped watercress, apricots and lemon juice. Season well and turn on to a plate to cool.

3. Pat the two fish dry with absorbent kitchen paper and divide the stuffing between them. Fill a large saucepan of about 25 cm (10 inches) diameter, with oil or lard to a depth of about 6.5 cm (2 1/2 inches). Heat gently to 320°C (170°F), testing with a fat thermometer.

4. Cut two 30 cm (12 inch) squares of greaseproof paper, grease well and place one fish in the centre of each. Season the fish and wrap the paper over to form a loose parcel, making several folds along the join to ensure a good seal. Twist the ends firmly and secure with paper (not plastic) twist ties.

5. Carefully lower the parcels into the oil. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady temperature of 170°C (320°F) and fry the fish for 7 minutes. Lift out the parcels with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on absorbent kitchen paper. Serve at once with lemon wedges.

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