Seafood en papillote was a
new dish for Kline, but “a major
blast from the past in the culinary
world.” She appreciates the dish
for its simplicity and the way the
flavors come together.
“The ingredients give the dish a
variety of texture, from the crab
and fish to the vegetables,” says
Kline. “You can even substitute a
starch for a vegetable.”
The object here is not to choose sides, but to illustrate how today’s modern
dishes often springboard from the pool of classical cuisine. Master the
classical. Know that there is a difference between classical and old-fashioned, and appreciate not only the historical significance of classical
cuisine, but its important place in modern cookery. Then, and only then, can
you move on to the modern. Notice that despite its differences, the modern
recipe still is anchored in classical technique.
There is no better time to enjoy seafood than summer. With this in mind,
Andy Bacigalupo, culinary arts/hospitality management instructor at
The Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center in Bay City, Mich., and Arin Kline,
a high school senior who recently won SkillsUSA Michigan’s Region 3
championship, chose to prepare seafood en papillote, a classical and
healthy way to cook seafood. Healthful cooking is especially important for
Bacigalupo, who lost 40 pounds and five and a half inches from his waist
after completing Dr. Oz’s no-salt health challenge earlier this year.
“En papillote” is a French term meaning “in paper.” Seafood (and sometimes
poultry) and vegetables are common ingredients prepared using this moist-heat
technique. Liquids released from the food and added cooking liquids steam the
ingredients—and as an added bonus, it doesn’t take much time to cook. Sauce
américaine, a classical sauce for shellfish created by Pierre Fraisse, a Parisian chef
of the 1860s, can be served on or alongside the classical dish. For the modern
interpretation, Bacigalupo prepares a South-Pacific inspired Mahi Mahi Wrapped
in Banana Leaves with Vanilla Maple Shrimp and a Spicy Mango Sauce.
Versatility is what makes this
cooking technique appeal to so
many. Different types of thin fish
fillets, such as salmon, sea bass,
cod, flounder and sole also work
well. When choosing vegetables,
Kline suggests selecting quick-cooking raw vegetables, such as a
julienne of carrots, leeks and snow
peas, or blanched vegetables. If
vegetables are raw or don’t have
enough liquid, add a tablespoon
or two of water or white wine.
To save time, fish packets can be
prepared and refrigerated for a
few hours before cooking.
Kline’s most important words of
advice for students preparing this
dish are to pay close attention to
John Glenn High School
Bay City, Mich.
Yield: 1 serving
1/8 oz. olive oil
4 oz. mahi mahi
Salt and freshly ground black pepper,
½ t. butter
1½ oz. lobster tail, slipper tail split
3 littleneck clams
3 mussels, de-bearded
2 bay scallops
3 16/20 shrimp, peeled, deveined
3-4 pieces carrot, julienne
3-4 pieces shallot, julienne
3-4 pieces zucchini, julienne
3-4 pieces yellow squash, julienne
3 broccoli buds
“If cooked too long, the fish
will become rubbery,” she says.
“When serving the dish, you want
the bag to still be blown up and
1 mushroom, sliced
1 lemon slice
1 lime slice
Pinch fresh parsley
3-4 drops vermouth or dry white wine
Sauce Américaine (recipe follows)
Method: Preheat oven to 500°F.
Fold 1 sheet parchment paper in half
lengthwise; starting from fold, cut out
1 heart-shaped piece. Make heart
about 2 inches wider than fish fillets.
Open paper heart on flat working
surface; brush lightly with olive oil.
Place mahi mahi on one side of heart
shape; sprinkle fish with salt, pepper
and butter. Arrange lobster tail,
clams, mussels, scallops and shrimp
on top of fillet.
continued on page 29: Classical
steaming. As you open the bag, all
the steam and succulent flavors
will fill the air.”