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Steamed John Dory with wild garlic leaves en papillote

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When John Dory is filleted, each of the 2 fillets naturally splits into 3 pieces which, when folded in half, make perfect parcels for steaming. John Dory develops a beautifully silken texture when steamed, and the wild garlic leaves add a wonderful aroma that will surprise your guests when the parcels are opened at the table.

Ingredients, serves 6

** 1 large John Dory, skinned and filleted, then each fillet separated into 3 (see previous)
** 6 shiitake mushrooms, wiped and stalks removed
** 125g oyster mushrooms, wiped and stalks removed
** 12 asparagus spears, each cut at an angle into 3 pieces, then briefly blanched
** 75g wild garlic leaves (ramsons or bear garlic), coarsely chopped
** 60g butter
** Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
** Shichimi togarashi (seven-spice mixture, available from Asian supermarkets) ** 6 tablespoons sake
** 6 tablespoons soy sauce

1. You will need a steamer big enough to cook the 6 parcels together. Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2. Cut out six 40 cm diameter circles from baking parchment. Or do what we do in the restaurant kitchens, which is to take a piece of parchment bigger than the circle needed and fold it in half, then in half again at right angles to the first fold, and repeat this 3 times. Trim the open end of the folded parchment to the length of the radius of the required circle (20 cm). When you open the paper out, it will be an almost perfect circle.

2. Place a folded piece of fish neatly in the center of each of the parchment circles. Scatter one-sixth of the mushrooms, chopped asparagus and wild garlic leaves over each of the pieces of fish. Then place 10g of butter on top of each and season with salt, pepper and schichimi togarashi.

3. Fold each of the parchment rounds into a half-moon, taking care than the contents remain in the center of the bag. Fold one of the corners up so it is at right angles to the flat side of the half-moon. Now fold over the rounded edge of the parcel with tight little folds, each one overlapping the next until you are two-thirds of the way round. Holding the last fold tightly, pick up the bag (making sure the sealed end is pointing downwards) and pour the sake and soy sauce into the opening. Fold up the last corner, again at right angles to the base, and continue making tight little folds around the top until you reach the end. Tuck the end round into the last corner and stand the parcel on its flat end (it should look like a Cornish pastie).

4. Place the parcels in the steamer and cook for 10-12 minutes, then remove them carefully and place them on a baking tray. Put in the preheated oven for 1 minute to dry the paper and allow the bags to puff up a little. Take care that the parchment doesn't burn while in the oven.

5. Serve immediately, cutting open the top of each parcel at the table.

Nobu's notes: You can use this treatment with any fish, adjusting the cooking time according to the thickness of the fish. If wild garlic is not available, try using spinach or celery leaves. For a really special treat, add a few truffle shavings to each parcel.

Recipes taken from the book "Nobu West" by Nobu Matsuhisa and Mark Edwards (Quadrille Publishing, 2006)


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Nobu uses John Dory here but says any fish would work with this recipe.

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