This dish was inspired by Mario Batali, which I adapted from the Babbo Cookbook. The technique is simple and the details of the ingredient combination can easily be varied. I was short a little fish, so I added potato slices as a base. That, plus the picky one (13 y.o. son) would never eat spinach, especially if I told him it was sautéed in garlic and anchovies. He wouldn’t even go for grapefruit combined with fish. 3 of my packets included spinach sauteed in an anchovy/garlic/oil mixture. One was potato and fish.
Batali’s recipe calls for an unusual green, which I’d guess is somewhat like kale. I used spinach. When I make it again, I’ll use kale so will specify it below. Also, he calls for cubes of reduced chicken stock and wine, frozen into ice-cube sized pieces. You may not have that on hand (though it’s a pretty good idea), so I’m specifying regular chicken or fish stock in my recipe.
One word of advice: you wouldn’t expect this, but there really are fewer contributing flavorings in this dish then it appears on the page. To salt and pepper the fish, as Mario says “aggressively”, is important.
Mahi-mahi in paper packets, with Spinach, Potato and Grapefruit
4 filets of firm fish, such as Mahi-mahi or halibut, approx. 6 oz each
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
4 anchovy filets, rinsed and chopped
1 pound kale, rinsed, chopped into 1 inch pieces. Or, 5 ounces rinsed / prepped baby spinach
1 large russet potato, thinly sliced at the last minute before assembly
1 grapefruit, sectioned (see note)
4 tablespoons chicken or fish stock
4 tablespoons white wine
4 thyme sprigs
Parchment paper or foil
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Remove skin from fish and salt and pepper “aggressively”, as Mario Batali says.
3. Saute garlic and anchovies in olive oil (about 2-3 tablespoons – yes – a lot) for a minute or so. Add greens and cook, turning continuously, 2 minutes for kale, 1 minute for spinach. Allow to cook.
4. Set out four large pieces of parchment (see note 2). Drizzle a little olive oil on each sheet, spread a layer of potato slices. Top with fish filets. Add 1 tablespoon chicken or fish stock and 1 tablespoon white wine. Add two slices of grapefruit and a thyme sprig to each packet.
5. Wrap paper packet tightly, leaving as large an air pocket as you can. Put packets on a rimmed baking sheet and cook oven for 15 minutes.
Note: I’ve found that the easiest way to section a grapefruit is with a very sharp boning knife. Those serrated things aren’t sharp, so it makes the job harder.
Note 2: You can use foil if you don’t have parchment. It’s just not as pretty.