Halibut en Papillote, Mediterranean Style

feta, low carb, Uncategorized

Many years ago, working my way through college as a pastry chef at a trendy, busy high profile restaurant, the chef would make fresh fish en papillote for me. One day I asked how it was made and have never been the same. It’s surprisingly easy to make. The parchment paper makes the fish bake so tasty and juicy. You can put any herbs, spices, or veggies you have on hand in with it and it turns out amazing. Even basic things in the fridge will turn out tasting gourmet in the parchment. Cut out a large heart shape of parchment paper or use parchment paper baking bags. Butter the inside of the paper, then place the fish and toppings on half and seal it up by folding tight. You can use any fish you like. I used halibut for this dish.

Mediterranean Fish en Papillote:

Makes two packages.

  • 1 six-ounce fillet of halibut per parchment package-everyone gets an individual package
  • 2 Tablespoons black pepper or salt free Greek seasoning per package
  • 6 small olives each package, pitted
  • 3 Tablespoons crumbled feta cheese in each package
  • 2 Tablespoons red onion, each package
  • 2 mushrooms sliced, (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon each of fresh marjoram, thyme and tarragon for each package
  • 1 Tablespoons capers for each package
  • 2 Tablespoons butter to place on top the fish before sealing the package
  • Juice of 1 lemon for each package
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cut a heart shape off an 18-inch long piece of parchment paper, fold it in half, unfold, and place it on a rimmed baking sheet or baking pan.
  2. Butter half of the parchment. Place the fish on top, and season well with pepper or Greek seasoning.
  3. Scatter the olives, feta, capers, onion and mushrooms, if using. Sprinkle with the  herbs and dot with butter.
  4. Now, seal up the pouch: Fold the parchment over on top of the fish. Starting at the top inner corner, fold and crimp the edges approximately every quarter-inch, until you’ve created a half-moon. Be sure the folds are well-creased, to keep the steam from pushing the pouch open in the oven.
  5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes (12 for thin fillets, 15 for thicker ones). Slide the packets directly onto the plates, and slice a cross pattern on the top of the paper, open carefully—there will be a lot of steam inside. Slide into a dish or large bowl. The fish will be flaky and tasty inside. Enjoy it alone or with tzatziki sauce(Greek yogurt, pureed cucumber and minced garlic).

Low Carb Moussaka

beef, feta, low carb, sauce

If someone told me I could never eat Moussaka again, I just wouldn’t find life as exciting anymore. Just because I decided to be healthy and cut the carbs and processed foods from my life didn’t mean I couldn’t have this tasty dish, usually made with flour-y bechamel sauce and tons of carby tomatoes, numerous battered fried eggplants, and garlic. So I did what every smart carnivore would. Made changes. It’s so good, you won’t miss the carbs. Once you make it, you can cool it and cut into squares and store for lunches on the go. Make two if you want leftovers. It goes fast! Beef, lamb and nutmeg go together so well, like food alchemy. Leave it to the Greeks to find such a pleasing combination. Now, moussaka can be made with any vegetable, but with the small bit of eggplant in this recipe, it is amazing. Don’t fry or even bread your eggplant. Simply peel the skin, place on a plate with olive oil drizzled on them and cook for 5 minutes. Check them and cook 5 more minutes. Or you could grill the slices. My friend, Wendy, buys pre-cooked grilled eggplant at Trader Joe’s Grocery here in California. Either way you have a cleaner kitchen, and cleaner you. It tastes better too!

Low Carb Moussaka

Get out your large ceramic rectangular pan. Oil it lightly with cold pressed Greek Olive oil, lard, or butter. Do not use canola or shortening, as they are dangerous to humans and highly over processed.

  • 3 tbsp melted organic unsalted butter, plus extra for brushing
  • 6lbs. ground beef or lamb, or a mix of both
  • 1 can low sodium tomato purée or tomato paste with a can of water added
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons nutmeg
  • 5 tsp Cavendar’s Salt free Greek Seasoning-http://www.greekseasoning.com/
  • 1 large eggplant-just one, really, and a bit of cold pressed Greek olive oil to drizzle on them
  • Fresh oregano, marjoram  to taste.
  • For the topping:
  • 4 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
  • 4 cups to 5 cups (depending on size of your pan) Full Fat Greek yogurt
  • 1  egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons nutmeg
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups feta cheese

1. Heat the butter in a large Caphalon pan over a medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes, until melty. Increase the heat, add the minced lamb, or beef, or both and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until browned. Drain off the fat, then return the meat to the pan.

2. Add the purée and, nutmeg, cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then half-fill the puree can with water and pour into the pan. Add the fresh herbs, if using, season with the salt free Cavendar’s Greek seasoning (find this in your spice section or online. If you can’t find the salt free version, order it, and the original version is fine this time), and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

3.Peel and slice the eggplant.Place on a plate and brush or drizzle olive oil on the slices. Microwave for 5 minutes. Check, Microwave 5 more minutes until tender. You can grill it instead. Don’t over grill.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the topping, mix the yogurt, nutmeg, egg and half the cheeses. Season with pepper.

5. Spread half the lamb/beef  mixture in a deep, rectanguar casserole. Cover with the eggplant so the eggplant will only be in the center of this layering.. Top with rest of the meat, spoon the yogurt mixture over everything. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbling.