the short & simple guide to cooking fish without stinking out your apartment

fish in the bag-2

Hands up all you fish lovers out there. Good, glad to see I’m not alone.

Now hands up those of you who hardly ever cook fish at home? I see.

I know plenty of people say how much they love fish but they don’t like cooking it at home. For some, it’s lack of confidence that’s holding them back – and lack of knowlegde. The other big reason, which I caught myself wrestling with the other day is the smell.

Fresh fish is meant to smell like the sea, which is lovely. But I’m taking about the smell you get when you wake up the day after an evening of pan frying the catch of the day. Normally it doesn’t bother me – I live in an apartment where the kitchen is well out of the way, in it’s own little room – which I hate most of the time because it’s very antisocial.

The other day, I was wondering around the local market in Barceloneta, all the amazing fish of the Mediterranean captured my imagination. All sorts of crazy looking sea creatures – some familiar but many very different from those you see in Sydney. I couldn’t help myself so I let a lovely rosy piece of salmon follow me home for dinner.

Of course when I got back to my little one bedroom apartment where the kitchen is just a ‘wall’ along the side of the living room, I realised that if I pan fried my fish I wouldn’t be able to avoid the smell in the morning. With a quick flick through Simone Ortega’s 1080 Recipes (actually the flick wasn’t technically quick – given that I had to translate from the Spanish) I had a solution. I would bake my fish in a bag – problem solved. And so I give you:

the short and simple guide to cooking fish without stinking out your apartment:

i. Take fish with some lemon & butter. Season
ii. Wrap it in foil
iii. Bake in a hot oven for about 10mins. Done.

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fish in the bag-4

fish baked in a bag
serves 1

There are endless options cooking fish this way. I haven’t even begun to play around with the possibilities. The addition of vegetables such as fennel and asparagus are on my list of things to try. A few par boiled potatoes would work – soaking up the lemony cooking juices.

If you’re trying to keep your butter intake down, feel free to substitute in a judicious drizzle of extra virgin olive oil – but you will miss out on the lovely instant sauce of the fish juices, lemon and butter.

I love that all the juices are kept in the bag, so if you do happen to overcook the fish a little, it won’t dry out.

The other real beauty of this dish is that it can be adapted easily for one as it can be for a crowd – just make one parcel per person. Perfect for if you’re having problems with portion contol when cooking solo – which reminds me – would be lovely to serve with my secret single behaviour wilted greens.

1/2 lemon, sliced
1 fish cutlet or fillet, approx 200g (7oz)
1 knob butter
mixed salad leaves, to serve

Preheat oven to 250C (480F) no fan forced.

Take a large piece of foil Place lemon slices in the centre. Top with salmon and butter and season well. Fold the foil to wrap and seal the fish.

Bake for 10 – 12minutes or until the fish is cooked to your liking.

To serve, place a bed of leaves on a dinner plate. Top with fish and lemon slices and drizzle over the pan juices.

fish in the bag

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