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Steelhead en papillote with golden raisin and apple compote

Foolproof, elegantly impressive, and blessedly mess free, cooking en papillote is a busy cook’s get-out-of-jail-free card. With the exception of the densest fish species, such as sturgeon or lingcod, all fish take well to this cooking method, and it’s so easy to customize each diner’s little parchment-paper packet. Here, rich steelhead is simply flavored with a little butter, lemon, and herbs, and then served with a sweet-tart compote of apples and raisins. But you can change things up with different herbs or spices, and even thinly sliced or shaved vegetables that will cook with the fish right in the pouch.



Golden raisin and apple compote:

  • 2 cups golden raisins
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled

Steelhead trout:

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, for garnish
  • 4 (114 to 142 gram) steelhead steaks
  • Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or chives
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • Roasted root vegetables such as parsnips or celery root, to serve


Golden raisin and apple compote:

  1. Combine the raisins, apple juice, vinegar, honey, and salt in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until raisins are plump and the liquid is reduced to one-quarter of the original volume. Remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Core the apple, then dice into pieces about the same size as the raisins. Stir the apples into the saucepan. Set aside to cool.

Steelhead trout:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, for five to ten minutes or until golden. Remove and set aside to cool. (Alternatively, you can toast them, stirring frequently, in a dry skillet over medium-low heat for three to five minutes.)
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. Fold 4 (46 centimeter-long) pieces of parchment paper in half. Place each fillet on one side of each paper. Season with salt and pepper. Dot each fillet with a tablespoon of butter, and sprinkle with a tablespoon of parsley (or chives). Set one or two lemon slices on top. Fold the paper over the salmon and double fold around all edges to completely seal the fish. Set parchment packets on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until the flesh is almost opaque all the way through and flakes easily.
  3. To serve, transfer each pouch to a plate. Cut the tops of the pouches to open them up, and add a generous spoonful of the compote to each fillet. Garnish with the toasted pine nuts and serve with a side of root vegetables.

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