When softened in cold water, Vietnamese rice paper disks make ideal edible wrappers. They are available at most Asian markets. Here, they are folded around pieces of fish, then sauteed, then steamed to perfection.
If you use a thicker fish, such as cod or halibut, adjust the cooking times as needed.
Make Ahead: The fish parcels can be assembled (uncooked), covered and refrigerated a day in advance.
- For the fish
- 4 Vietnamese rice paper disks or spring roll wrappers (8 1/2 inches in diameter; see headnote)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
- 4 skinless haddock fillets (5 to 6 ounces each, 3 to 4 inches across and 1 inch thick; may substitute hake, halibut or cod; see headnote)
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- For the sauce
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped (3 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (from about 12 stems)
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed, then finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup dark soy sauce (thicker and darker than regular soy sauce, and generally not as salty)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
For the fish: Brush the rice paper disks or spring roll wrappers generously on both sides with water; let them sit on a nonstick surface (such as a silicone cutting board) for about 3 minutes to soften.
Combine the salt, pepper and tarragon in a small bowl, then sprinkle all of the mixture on both sides of the fillets. Place each piece of fish in the center of a softened disk or wrapper, then fold the paper around the fish to enclose it securely. Arrange the fish parcels seam side down on a plate.
(At this point, the fish parcels can be covered and refrigerated up to a day in advance.)
When ready to cook, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, place the fish parcels seam side down in the skillet. Cook uncovered for about 2 minutes, until lightly browned, then use 2 spatulas to turn them over. Cover and cook for 2 minutes on the second side until the fish looks opaque, then remove the skillet from the heat. Let rest (covered) for 3 to 4 minutes to allow the fish to finish cooking in its own residual heat.
While the fish is resting, make the sauce: Combine the shallot, chives, garlic, vinegar, dark soy sauce, sugar and hot sauce in a small bowl.
Place the parcels on individual plates. Drizzle the sauce over and around them, and serve.
Adapted from "Essential Pepin," by Jacques Pepin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011). An earlier version of this recipe contained incorrect nutritional information. The correct numbers appear on the nutrition facts label to the right of the ingredient list on this page.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.