Look what 10 minutes in the kitchen can produce!
There’s nothing complicated here – just fresh, spicy flavours complemented by a creamy coconut sauce. But what a knock-out way to serve fish.
4 x 200g (4 x 7 ounce) white fish fillets (snapper, South Island cod, red mullet or bream) Salt 125ml (½ cup) thick part of a can of coconut cream 6 Tbsp red curry paste Small bunch coriander (cilantro), plus some small roots, scrubbed, if available 4 kaffir lime leaves Sliced lime and red chilli, plus extra lime wedges for serving Steamed rice for serving, optional
1 Cut four pieces of baking paper (parchment) each 30cm (12”) long and spread them out on the bench (counter). Alternatively, use a double-thickness of tin foil (aluminium), and oil the part that will come in contact with the fish. Rinse fillets, shake dry, then put one on each piece of paper. Fold fillets, tucking in thin parts to make parcels of an even thickness.
2 Sprinkle fish with salt and spoon over half the coconut cream. Put 1½ tablespoons of curry paste on each fillet, then a clump of coriander and top with a kaffir lime leaf. Spoon on remaining coconut cream and finish with a slice of lime and red chilli
3 Tie parcels firmly with string (tie in a bow; they’ll be easy to undo later) allowing a little bit of room for ingredients to swell.
4 Cook fish parcels on a heated barbecue hot plate (cast-iron griddle), or in an oven preheated to 180°C (375°F), for 15-20 minutes, or until nearly cooked. When cooking them in the oven I transfer the parcels to a shallow ovenproof dish to make it easy to move them in and out of the oven. To test for doneness untie one of the parcels; be careful not to overcook the fish, remembering that it will continue to cook as it stands.
5 Serve fish parcels with lime wedges for squirting over, and a bowl of steamed rice, and encourage everyone to add rice to their own fish parcel.
The fish parcels can be prepared ahead, but don’t leave them at room temperature for more than 15 minutes (keep refrigerated but bring to room temperature before cooking).
Photography Julie Biuso