Seafood has always been a favorite in my house. Whether it is fish, shrimp, crabs, mussels, scallops or lobster - you name it, we love it all. Seafood is nutritious, usually easy to prepare and a wonderful source of protein. My son especially, would be more than happy to eat any form of seafood on a daily basis. This recipe in particular is a personal favorite on so many levels -- it’s so simple, yet delicious and healthy to boot. It also makes a dramatic presentation and is just perfect for entertaining.
I love halibut, but any firm fish will do for this recipe. Other good choices are tilapia, sea bass, salmon, snapper, cod, swordfish, grouper... I recommend leaving the skin on during the cooking process as it imparts flavor and helps to hold the fish together. You can always remove it before serving or eating.
This recipe is originally made using fresh banana leaves and I am lucky enough to have an actual banana tree in my backyard. Bananas leaves are available in most Indian or Asian grocery stores but they may be seasonal. In any case, you can easily use parchment paper or even aluminum foil as a substitute.
SPICY HALIBUT PARCELS
4 halibut filets (5-6 oz portions, about roughly 1 inch or so thick)
˝ cup of coconut cream
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
2 small green Thai chilies, finely minced (to taste)
1 tsp ground cumin powder
˝ tsp turmeric (haldi)
2 tsp ground coriander powder
˝ tsp garam masala
pinch of red chili powder (to taste)
zest of 1 lime, juice of 1 lime
salt & pepper, to taste
2-3 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
lime wedges for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. This recipe works well on a grill or barbeque too.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the coconut cream along with the ginger & green chilies. Stir well and add the spices (ground cumin powder, turmeric, ground coriander powder, garam masala, red chili powder, salt and pepper). Next add the lime zest, the juice of the lime and 2 tbsp of the oil. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients.
Make 4 large square pieces using either the fresh banana leaves, parchment paper or aluminum foil. Brush each square lightly with the remaining oil. Place a piece of halibut in the center of each square and then spoon a little of the dressing generously over each piece, you should have enough for 4 pieces. Careful fold over the leaves or parchment to create a “parcel” of sorts. You may need to use toothpicks to help fasten the parcels, especially if you are using banana leaves. Aluminum foil is the easiest, just crimp and fold the edges together to make a parcel.
Now gently place each fish parcel on a baking sheet and place on the center rack of the oven. Alternatively, you could also make the fish parcels on an outdoor grill or barbeque. Cook for 15-18 minutes. Let the fish parcels rest for another 5 minutes before opening. Be very careful when opening as they are extremely hot and full of steam. Garnish with fresh lime wedges and freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Serve with fresh chapatis and fragrant Basmati rice.