Just this summer I attended a three day Food Symposium at Oxford University in England. The subject was “Wrapped and Stuffed Foods.” Scholarly papers were read on the subject – and were most enlightening. The food was not… some of it being more suited to Halloween than Sunday Dinner (more on those in my Halloween article next month!)
Wrapping food has been practiced among most ethnic communities for hundreds of years and comes with a number of advantages. Preparation is easy, even though it may look sophisticated . It can be eaten "out of hand" and "on the go" and the fillings can be as creative as you wish. So, when you are tired of Sloppy Joes, and burgers, and chicken nuggets, and fish sticks, try these recipes and give yourself a ‘Cordon Bleu’.
Fish en Papillote
This sounds very ‘gourmet’ but it happens to be one of the easiest ways to cook fish.
The wrapping does all the work, keeping the fish moist and flavorful.
Merci to the French!
As noted, you can ring the changes as you like for the aromatics and vegetables you add to the fish and you can of course use any fish you desire.
2 tablespoons butter or oil
1 small onion diced - or ¼ cup finely chopped green onion
½ teaspoon garlic powder or 3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
Pinch of thyme (you may substitute any herb you like – i.e. basil, dill, marjoram)
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded carrot
4x 6oz fish fillets
Juice of 1 lemon
4 large (8x8”) squares baking paper or foil
Preheat oven to 375.
Sauté the vegetables in the butter or oil (add the garlic powder if using that) until translucent.
Arrange the foil or paper squares on a baking sheet.
Set each fish fillet on a square.
Divide the vegetable mixture between the four fillets and spoon on top of the fish.
Wrap and seal the squares over each fillet.
Bake in the oven for about 12-16 minutes depending upon the fish and the thickness of the slice.
Remove from oven. Allow to rest for 3-4 minutes.
Serve a package to each diner and allow them to open the wrapping and drizzle over the lemon juice.
(Note: If you happen to have a little white wine sitting in the refrigerator – drizzle one tablespoon over each fish fillet before wrapping. Adds immeasurably to the flavor and the aroma!)
You can use any filling for a Lettuce Wrap. Just be sure it is not too ‘gloppy’.
Chicken Salad Filling
6 large leaves lettuce, cleaned
1 ½ cups diced cooked chicken
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup grated carrots
¼ cup dried cranberries or raisins
¼ cup chopped nuts
½ cup dressing*
Combine the filling ingredients.
Divide the filling between the lettuce leaves and roll up – tucking in the ends
*Note: You can use a dressing such as Ranch or Buttermilk or create your own. My personal favorite: ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, ½ teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar.
Crescent Roll Ups en Surprise
1 can crescent rolls
¾ cup peanut butter
4-6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
8x 1-inch squares cheddar cheese
Preheat oven according to package directions.
Open the can of crescent rolls and divide the dough into triangles.
Place a tablespoon of peanut butter on each triangle and top each roll with 1/8 of the crumbled bacon.
Set a square of cheese on top.
Roll up the rolls according to package directions.
Bake for about 16 minutes or until nicely browned.
A Bird in the Hand
Filling -- Your choice of ingredients – pick the ones you and your family like:
½ cup softened cream cheese
3 tablespoons pesto
½ cup marmalade or chutney
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
4-6 slices thin smoked turkey – or chicken
1 unsliced loaf of bread
Slice the bread along the loaf long-ways.
Mix together the filling ingredients you have chosen.
Spread each slice with the mixture.
Arrange the turkey slices on top.
Top with the shredded lettuce and peppers.
Roll up the bread slices tightly along the long or short end depending on what you prefer.
Wrap in parchment or foil and allow to set in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours
Pie dough (bought or made)
4 apples, peeled, cored and diced
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup sugar
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
Melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the apple until translucent. (I cover them with used butter paper to retain the moisture.)
Sprinkle on the sugar and toss to blend then set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 375.
Roll out the dough and cut into 5-inch circles.
Brush each circle with a little egg glaze.
Spoon a tablespoon of the apple mixture onto each circle.
Fold from opposite sides into a turnover and pinch the edges together.
Place on a baking paper lined cookie sheet and brush with the egg wash.
Sprinkle on some sugar.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until the turnovers are golden brown.
About the AuthorMcKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for TownSquareBuzz.com's "Food" section. She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the "Food" section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking. She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.
Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions. What would you like to have for dinner?