Last week I bought some cod from my local Central Market, because it was on sale. I love Central Market because it caters to people who are unabashedly enthusiastic about food, and the fishmonger and butchers usually have helpful suggestions about how to cook the products in question. This time, though, when I asked the fishmonger, “So, do I just bread and fry this thing?” he said, “That’s pretty much all it’s good for.” Not the most enthusiastic recommendation I’ve ever gotten of a fish, but cod is cheap and I figured I’d find something tasty to do with it, even if it did end up just becoming fish sticks.
Browsing my epicurious recipe-of-the day archives, I came across a fish baked in parchment paper recipe that called for cod or halibut. Hallelujah! I tripled the amount of tarragon in the recipe, and the result was a fresh, flavorful and light dish that evoked images of camping and tossing your fishing catch into… um, parchment paper, with some asparagus, butter, and tarragon. Very luxurious camping, but the gentle action of the parchment baking kept the fish so moist and tasty it seemed like it had just been caught.

I’d never cooked with parchment paper before- that stuff is hard to deal with. Does anyone have tips for the folding and crimping process to get it to stay the first time around? I felt like I was dealing with some serious food oragami that I didn’t quite understand.

I served this with a side of soft scrambled eggs with chives and ricotta– unintuitive, but the eggs and chives went very well with the asparagus. My one caveat was that the meal was so light it left us both still hungry, so we had to “top off” with french onion soup and cookies!

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