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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bay Trout en Papillote

Bay Trout and Gulf Shrimp en Papillote over Orzo Pilaf

We finally got the last of our children graduated from high school...hallelujah!  It has been a week-end filled with family, food, and activities.  One of the activities was a bay fishing excursion for the teen with his big brother, Jay, and Captain Jack Barton, their favorite charter captain in the Lower Laguna Madre.  They caught their limit of bay trout as well as a bunch of catch and release.  This was Jay's graduation gift to Ian.  It's not often he gets a private charter and it's a big deal when he does!  Jay's a good big brother.

Our Saturday night dinner being proudly displayed by two of my boys.
They are the fishermen in the family!
A double-spotted Red Fish (Red Drum) was just under the size requirement for keeping so that one was gently returned to the bay by my oldest son.  It was his first Red so I asked if he got a photo...he said, no, this was Ian's day.  (I love my Jay - what a big heart)

A trophy-sized trout was the teen's excitement of the day.  It, too, was catch and release because they already had their limit in the ice chest.  They were fishing for the pure joy of the catch...and the satisfaction of release.  That big trout will live to breed and make more fish for us to catch and eat!  Hello big beautiful fish!  I'm sure he's thinking "put me the heck BACK in the water Mister!"  Photos and a quick return to the bay resulted in a wonderful moment on the graduation fishing trip.  I told him he would likely not remember all the money he's getting for graduation (although he's HAPPY to be getting it!) but he will never forget the trophy trout he caught the morning after he graduated from high school.  The teen said "it's the memories that will count". That's right, boo... you've got it!  Two big life events within two days!

My Mom is here with us and she is not a big fish fan and she hates shrimp - she asked "do they smell fishy?" when I was sorting out the 20 pieces of trout filet.  I told her "no, not at all - smells like the ocean" and took the plate over to her to sniff.  She was shocked that there was zero odor of fish.  Yep - when they have been swimming around a couple of hours ago, there isn't anything much better or fresher tasting!

I got busy in the kitchen - I made a cake for our dessert, prepped veggies, and got everything organized.  Then I made eight "packets" of trout on a bed of Orzo Pilaf and topped with a few pieces of large Gulf Shrimp (also right off the boat that I saw had been docked between the time we went out to breakfast and the time we returned).

Here's how I put it together:

Bay Trout en Papillote

Prepare Orzo Pilaf by slightly under cooking Orzo pasta (rice shaped pasta) per package directions - just under cook by about 2 or 3 minutes because it will cook again in the packets.  Strain and return to pan.  Add butter, chopped scallions, and pressed garlic cloves to cooked pasta.  (I used about 1/4 cup butter, 5 small cloves pressed garlic, and 4 scallions) Add some salt, pepper, and onion powder to taste and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Stir, cover and set aside.

Peel and devein enough shrimp for 3 or 4 pieces per packet and keep chilled.  Clean trout, ensuring no bones are in the filets.  Mine were bone-free!

Prep thin slices of lemon (about 3 per packet), several sliced scallions (I prepped about 4 or 5 white and green parts), and torn basil leaves.  Set out some pre-softened butter, lemon pepper, and Pinot Grigio.  Have large squares of parchment paper ready.  Have a stapler or metal paper clips on hand as well as large baking sheet(s).

Fold the parchment over to form a triangle and run your finger over the base of the triangle to form a crisp fold.  Open the triangle with the top point towards you.  That portion will be the base of the packet and you will build the ingredients on that surface.  Spoon 2 scoops of orzo pilaf against the center of the folded edge of the parchment - level it (don't pack) with the back of the spoon.  Lay a piece of trout filet on top of the orzo.  Place 3 or 4 pieces of shrimp on top of the trout.  Sprinkle with thinly sliced scallion and some torn basil.  Top with three very thin slices of lemon.  Sprinkle with lemon pepper.  Add a dollop of butter (I used about 1 Tablespoon) and sprinkle about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Pinot Grigio wine over the top of everything.  (I used flipflop Pinot Grigio)
This one was made for my Mom without shrimp - she doesn't like it.
Who doesn't like shrimp?

Seal the packet by bringing the top of the triangle down over the ingredients.  Start at one end of the bottom of the triangle and start rolling the paper tightly inward.  When you get to the edge of the ingredients, turn and continue on around the entire packet.  I like to staple or clip the ends because I have had one unroll on me before.  This is what it looks like.

Position both oven racks near center - but leave one "level" between so that the packets don't touch the rack above when they puff up with steam. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place 4 packets per baking sheet into oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

I watch to see when the shrimp turns pink.  If you are uncertain about doneness, you can poke an instant read thermometer into the fish through the paper to be certain.

The cooked fish is served "en papillote" - in parchment - on a plate.  Each person gets to cut into their packet (warn them of steam if they are piping hot) and peel it back and eat it.  It's almost fun to watch the different ways people work into their packet.  I cut mine down the center with a knife.  Other people unfold the packet, some try to tear it open, and some "fork it" and tear it with the fork.  I always find it a fun meal to serve.

You can really put any kind of fish into these wonderful packets.  I use the Orzo Pilaf as a base because the teen does not like rice but loves pasta and the orzo looks enough like rice to work really well in the packets.  Simple loaves of toasty french bread, steamed broccoli and steamed squash were all that was needed to make a complete meal.  We all inhaled our meal, except my middle son, Will.  He very meticulously made his appreciative way through the packet!  We toasted the graduate with a nice bottle of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio and thanked the fishermen who caught our meal.

We finished the meal with the less-than-gorgeous cake I made.  I made a first attempt at doing a frozen buttercream transfer...and it was too big for the cake and I had to cut it down...and then I had too much frosting (it was over an inch thick on top) and as the buttercream heated under the lights it started drifting down the sides. I also learned I can't write backwards easily!  I watched many different YouTube tutorials and I now see why certain things needed to be done a certain way!  Oh well, lesson learned - I will try it again - I have lots to learn about the technique and it's kind of cool.  Everyone enjoyed the Milk Chocolate cake on the inside and declared the frosting delicious.  My tongue was a very unattractive blue all the rest of the night.  That's the problem with dense colors...but I wanted it to be the colors of the Fighting Tarpons of Port Isabel High School!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!StumbleUpon

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