Thursday, June 30, 2011

Foil - Baked Salmon

Living in Seattle has its own perks if you are mentally strong enough to ignore the clouds and the rainy gloom. My most fave perk was getting real good fresh sea-food. Pike Place Market, Ivars restaurants, and the availability of reasonably fresh fish at all the Grocers and Wholesale markets at all times of the year, had me almost dancing for joy. In case you are wondering why I almost danced, remember, Seattle is one of the most expensive cities in the U.S.
So after living in this cloudy city of Gloom, I have hit on cooking as a major source of sunshine. And being a wholesale club member helps. Buying bulk, then dividing it and freezing has been my way of living so far. And thats where the common thread comes in....My Salmon baked in Foil. The original recipe is "Patra-ni-Machh"- a Parsi classic which is fish steamed in spices, wrapped in a banana leaf. But being geographically away from a banana plant, I made my own adaptations, by cooking it in heavy-duty aluminum foil. You miss that steamed banana leaf aroma, but if you can marinate the fish filets, then this dish can really hit the spot.

Salmon Filets, ( or any mild fleshy fish filets) thinned to 1 inch thick slices---4
2 lemons---juiced
2 tsp cumin powder
4 green chillies
7-8 cloves garlic, peeled
cilantro/coriander leaves---a bunch, washed
5 tbsp fresh/frozen grated coconut
salt as needed
Heavy-duty foil---cut into roughly 2 1/2 times the filet size

Preheat oven to 375 degree F.
Grind the coconut, cumin, chillies, garlic, cilantro and salt in a blender. Add lemon juice gradually to make a fine, somewhat runny paste.
Check salt and add more if needed. Add 1/2 tsp more than needed. The fish will absorb the salt.
Now take a toothpick and make a row of pin prick perforations in the middle of the filets lengthwise, each 2 cm apart.
Now spread a foil sheet, on the counter or a cutting board, and spread a tablespoon of mixture on the middle of the foil and put a filet on top. Add another tbsp of mixture on the top of the filet. 
Now fold the foil from left, then right, overlapping in the middle. From the top, seal, rolling down leaving a finger width from the filet. Repeat from the bottom.
Repeat all the steps with the remaining filets. Now lay all the packets on a cookie sheet and put in oven.
Cook for 30-40 mins or until the foil pouches kind of puff up and give out aromatic steam.

Serve with Khichdi, Jeera Rice or Dal rice.  Also goes well with cucumber and lettuce salad, if you need a low carb alternative.
The marinated fish pouches can be frozen as they stay fresh for a month. Thaw them overnight in refrigerator before you cook them.
These can also be steamed, the traditional way by arranging the foil pouches in a steamer and steaming for about 20-25 minutes or until the fish is cooked and is flaky under the fork.

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