Seasonal Chef: Preparing An Easy Fish Dish, in Cartoccio


For the next few weeks Seasonal Chef is going to focus on fish and give you a few simple preparations for a delicious fish dish you can make in no time, for the family. Last week a friend put me on to a gluten free pasta product called Black Bean Spaghetti. I picked up a single bag from Whole Foods to give it a try, but it also can be found in multi-packs at Costco. I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and got to thinking that it just might work well with a light fish filet. I’m happy to say I was right on the money!

Skip to the recipe with this link: Fish in Cartoccio with Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa.

Here’s my step-by-step.

After cooking the pasta for just a few minutes I combined it with finely chopped scallion and bell pepper.

Balck Bean Pasta ingredients, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina

Here is where your knife skills will real shine.


Try your best to get a really nice fine dice. The colors will look amazing speckled throughout the pasta.

Black Bean Pasta with Pepper and Scallion, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina

For this application I cooked the fish and pasta as the French would say “en papillote” or the Italian “in cartoccio.” It simply means “in paper.” This is a really wonderful way to cook fish, and lends itself to a variety of options. Just this week one of my favorite blogs The Tomato Tart posted a story about grilling her fish en papilliote in foil. For the oven method there are basically two ways to accomplish this: either using a heart shape paper or a simple square. Cooking Light has a nice easy step by step application for the heart shape, but I went the very easy route and did mine in a square.

Fish in Cartoccio, Maria Reina, Seasonal Chef

The ultimate goal is to have your fish steam in the paper. In a hot 400 degree oven your packets will cook in 10-13 minutes.

tomatillo salsa, Seasonal Chef, Maria Reina

Once I had my fish idea set I started thinking about an ideal garnish for the dish and decided on my Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa. (In the link you will also see my video showing how to  make the salsa.)

I love making this salsa even more than the ubiquitous tomato version. The tart tomatillos are mellowed with avocado and then zipped up with the bright lime zest and juice. You can add as little or a lot of jalapeño to give it some kick. I like making this salsa the night before to allow the flavors to really sing; but it can easily be made the evening you are serving it. Just make a little more for leftovers!

Flounder with Black Bean Pasta in Carotccio, Maria Reina, Seasonal Chef

Once the fish is cooked you can plate the packets and have your guests open at the table,

Flounder with Black Bean Pasta in Carotccio, Maria Reina, Seasonal Chef

or you can simply slide it out on to the plate. Top with the salsa and dig in!

After making two portions for our dinner, I put the rest of the pasta in a container for another meal. I had some leftover roasted sweet potatoes I made a few nights before and wanted to used them up. So the next day I had a fantastic cold salad with the pasta, sweet potatoes, salsa and a few crushed tortilla chips for crunch. I was pleased to discover that this pasta works well hot or cold.

Roasted Sweet Potato with Black Bean Pasta, Maria Reina, Seasonal Chef

So if you are looking for an interesting way to prepare fish that is a little out of the ordinary, give this one a try. It’s a great way to really impress your family and/or guests when you pull them out of the oven!

Here are the recipes:

Fish in Cartoccio with Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa.

Buon Appetito!


About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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